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Gay rights activist to speak at Lawrence Tech Oct. 20

Release Date: October 11, 2010

Gay rights activist Judy Shepard will speak on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Ridler Field House at Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West Ten Mile Road in Southfield.

Shepard became a national spokesperson for tolerance and diversity after her 21-year-old son, Matthew, was brutally murdered in 1998 in Wyoming by assailants motivated by anti-gay hate. Turning tragedy into a crusade for justice, and determined to prevent Matthew’s fate from befalling others, she and her husband Dennis established the Matthew Shepard Foundation to help carry on his legacy.

Shepard has authored the New York Times best-selling book, “The Meaning of Matthew: My Son’s Murder in Laramie,” and “A World Transformed,” a moving, intimate look at how her life, and the entire fight for equal rights, changed when her son was killed. She will sign copies of her books at Ridler.

Shepard has appeared in two Human Rights Campaign advertisements urging an end to anti-gay violence and promoting a greater understanding of gay issues. She is also actively involved with Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). In this capacity, she has written an open letter to schools across the country urging officials to make schools safer for gay students by promoting tolerance and diversity.

Recently she has been calling attention to several suicides that followed bullying of teenagers who were considered gay.

The free lecture is sponsored by Lawrence Tech’s Office of Student Engagement. For information, call 248-204-4100. Please note that backpacks will not be permitted in the gym where Shepard will speak.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 100 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, and programs are also offered in Detroit, Lansing, Petoskey and Traverse City. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.