By Nico MachlittSTAFF WRITER
A viral video created after a the tragic death of a man’s partner, and the subsequent struggles he faced due to marriage inequality, was the subject of a documentary shown last week.
On Tuesday, Nov. 4 Hofstra University’s Pride Network, Center for Civic Engagement and the LGBTQ Studies Department hosted speaker Shane Bitney Crone as a part of Diversity Awareness Heritage Month. Crone is currently on a college campus tour showing his documentary “Bridegroom,” and spoke to Hofstra students about his personal journey and marriage equality.
After the death of his partner, Tom Bridegroom, Shane made a YouTube video that quickly went viral. The video documented the relationship that the two men shared and the tragedy of Tom’s death.
Crone discussed the legal issues when going to see Bridegroom in the hospital and how he was not allowed to because he wasn’t family, as well as the importance of marriage equality. Due to the video’s viral success, Crone was soon on the frontlines of the fight for marriage equality and worked with organizations GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign.
The success of the YouTube video led to a full-length documentary about the love that Bridegroom and Crone shared.
Junior Sony Abraham saw the documentary and was inspired to bring Crone to campus to share his story with Hofstra students.
“When I see Shane and all that he’s accomplished and all that he continues to do, it just gives me hope that there is so much more that can happen for marriage equality,” Abraham said.
Students Julie Pate and Amy Butenhof attended the showing of “Bridegroom” and were touched by the film.
“It was a really well-made film, and it was completely heartbreaking. You can really see the connection that they had. It was so tragic that so many of his rights were taken away from him and his partner,” said Pate.
Butenhof agreed with Pate and said that the film affected her in unexpected ways.
“I thought the documentary was beautiful, I cried a lot more than I was expecting to. It was very emotional and a very impactful film,” said Butenhof.
For Crone, the documentary represents a touchstone moment in his life that allowed him to use his viral success to touch lives.
“It showed a part of me and an emotional side that even my family hadn’t seen and it was kind of just ‘I don’t care what people think of me, I’m just gonna put this out in the world.’ I saw making the documentary as a way to reach these people that were so touched by my video. It just feels good to not be so ashamed of who I am,” Crone said.
The success of the event, which was filled with attendees, was a success for Abraham.
“I love the fact that I got the support that I did and that the kids truly enjoyed the event and saw what it was for and that it is an important cause. That they saw that it is something that deserves to be noticed,” Abraham said. “When I saw the reactions from all the kids it just showed me that things can happen, great things can happen.”