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Digital Subscriptions > DNA Magazine > DNA #225 | Travel Issue > A STATE OF H ATE


Sometimes a crime is so shocking that it strikes a raw nerve in the public consciousness. The killing of Matthew Shepard is an example. On October 6th, 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, USA, 21-year-old university student Matthew Shepard was tied to a wooden fence, tortured and left to die. On the 20th anniversary of one of the worst gay hate crimes in American history, DNA revisits what happened on that night and why. Matthew’s mother, Judy speaks to us about the events following his death, and how the current US President is undermining LGBTIQ civil rights.

Matthew Shepard.

First, the events of that evening… Matthew, who was studying political science at Wyoming’s state university, was at The Fireside Lounge in Laramie. At the bar, he was approached by two young men, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. Both were high school drop-outs who held menial jobs.

They offered him a ride home in their car but, instead, drove to a secluded, rural location where they robbed, beat, and pistolwhipped Matthew. After the beating he was hog-tied to a buck-rail fence in near-freezing temperatures and left for dead.

Matt’s injuries were horrific. It was reported that the only part of his face not covered in blood was where it was washed clean by tears. He was discovered, 18 hours later, by cyclist Aaron Kreifels. At first, Kreifels mistook the stricken, limp figure as a scarecrow.

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This month we have a suitcase full of great travel suggestions for LGBTIQ wanderers. We name the 10 Best Countries for gay travel based on their civil and human rights records and willingness to market directly to the LGBT world. And we shame the 10 Worst Countries. Shockingly, some of these are probably among your favourites and you may want to reconsider your travel plans after reading this story. Raunchy writer, Jack Ladd joins us again with a tantalising tale about his holiday sex-ploits. Yes, holiday sex is the best! We also have three very important news features. Firstly, it’s the 20th anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard. The brutal killing of the Wyoming student shocked the world and eventually saw the Obama administration pass hate laws. We speak to his mother, Judy, about Matthew, her work as an LGBTIQ advocate and activist, and what her son’s legacy means. Saving LGBTIQ kids from mental health issues, self-harm or worse is the main objective of Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Imagine Dragons. His LoveLoud concert just raised over one-million dollars for youth support organisations. We talk to this incredible straight alley about why he has championed our cause and what’s at stake for him. The trauma that gay people experience as children or in their teens can be the trigger for later-life issues like addictions. In the first of a six-part series, we ask experts to describe what trauma means and discover that sometimes we don’t even realise we’ve been affected by it. This is an essential read for everyone. We have some great interviews this month: actor Harry Cook gets fired up about casting gays in gay roles, Ronan “DILF” Keating recalls his Boyzone days, dreamy hippie Matt Price reveals he once wore a man-kini, and super-hot New York model, Matt James explains how he’s a different kind of “all-American boy” – and there’s eight sizzling pages of him to enjoy.