June is “Pride Month,” and members of the LGBTQ community are celebrated for weeks.
It’s a chance for members to be recognized for who they are and not to feel ashamed. It’s also an opportunity for others who might be questioning their identities to know there are others like them out there.
For many, it’s not easy to be labeled “gay,” “lesbian,” “queer” or a host of other terms. Part of the reason why is that members of the community can be targets of hate and crimes.
Here are 10 stories of crimes committed against members of the LBTQ community:
Perhaps the most famous crime against a member of the LGBTQ community is the killing of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. On Oct. 7, 1998, Shepard, a student at the University of Wyoming, was attacked in a field and left to die, according to the Matthew Shephard Foundation.
He was lured from a bar by two men who pretended to be gay and they took him to the area where he was killed. The two suspects were later found guilty of murder.
Michael Sandy was a gay man living in New York. He chatted with a group online, who lured him to a parking lot. There they beat and robbed him, sending him running into a street, according to ABC News.
Sandy was struck by a car and died from his injuries.
In 2008, Angie Zapata, a transgender woman, was attacked and killed by a man after they went on a date. The man told police that they met online and then he beat her to death, according to GLAAD.
The killer attacked after finding out Zapata was a biological male, according to the Denver Post. He is now serving decades behind bars.
Harvey Milk was elected to the Sand Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978 and was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S, according to NPR. He helped pass a bill that protected gay people from being fired.
In November 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were shot and killed by a former police officer and city supervisor who disagreed with Milk over LGBTQ issues.
In 2005, Jason Gage was found dead in his Iowa apartment, according to the Advocate. He was openly gay and bludgeoned with a beer bottle and stabbed in the neck.
Reports indicated Gage made advances toward the man who killed him. The case drew comparisons to the Shepard case.
Singer Kevin Aviance had a hit that topped the Billboard dance charts. But, in 2006, he was attacked by a group of men in New York City as they yelled anti-gay slurs, according to Today.
Aviance performs in drag but was dressed in a traditional male outfit when attacked.
Richie Phillips was a gay man in Kentucky, and in 2003 his body was found stuffed in a suitcase. According to 14 News, the killer said Phillips made sexual advances before a fight started. He claimed he killed in self-defense and then in a panic, stuffed Phillips in a suitcase.
A jury found him guilty of manslaughter and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Gwen Araujo was a transgender teen in California who was killed at the age of 17 in 2002. A group of men, including some who had been sexually active with her, beat and strangled the teen after finding out she was transgender.
The men claimed they had a “gay/trans panic” that led to the attack, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. The defense was later barred in California.
In 2004, a man was found guilty of killing Nireah Johnson, 17, and her friend in Indiana, according to GayWired. The two were found in the backseat of a burned-out Jeep.
Johnson was a transgender teen and the suspect said he had sex with Johnson thinking she was a female. When he found out she was biologically male, he shot her. Then he killed the friend who witnessed the murder.
PULSE NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING
On June 12, 2016, a gunman opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. When he was finished shooting, 49 people were killed and dozens more were injured. The club was a popular gay bar in the area.
Not all of the victims were LGBTQ individuals. The shooting is the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community.