13 Years Later: A Visit to Laramie Wyoming

Between 20-30 people gathered at Saint Paul’s UCC church  in Laramie, Wyoming last Thursday night to remember not only Matthew Shepard but many other LGBTQIA victims of hate as well.

Among those in the crowd was 35-year-old Alan Bounville who is now in his fifth month of his walk across the country to promote equal rights for all regardless of their sexual orientation or gender.

Bounville says for him the most comforting thing was knowing that Shepard’s death had inspired Laramie’s LGBTQIA community to take action. He says Laramie certainly hasn’t forgotten the 1998 beating death of the 21-year old college student but he didn’t get a sense that it was any longer at the top of the town’s mind either.

Before Shepard’s death there was little, if anything, in the town of about thirty thousand for the gay community.  Today, says Bounville “there is sense of support and awareness.”

Last week, the Queer Advocacy Network at UW hosted Ally Week which included a workshop, panel discussion, a pink prom, and LGBTQ film festival. There are other events for the LGBTQIA community throughout the year as well.

An especially poignant moment for Bounville and friend David Andreason  came when they visited the site where Shepard’s beating took place…

 

Shepard’s death aside, Bounville says Laramie is no different then any other small town community in the west.  He says as he’s walked, shared and talked with LGBTQIA communities in small towns in six different states the need is still the same, “People need to get tired of  the hate and the oppression, they need to be able to see how they fit in the bigger picture and stand up and fight for their rights. Change comes from those who live and work in the smaller communities. That’s where the real power in this country comes from.”

You can learn more about Bounville and his walk at his website here.

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One Response to 13 Years Later: A Visit to Laramie Wyoming

  1. Pingback: Idaho Agenda Covering Laramie Visit | Into the Light Walk

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