Monday, October 20th, 2014
Strand Union Building, Montana State University
Shane Bitney Crone is an activist, speaker, writer and filmmaker. He grew up in Kalispell, Montana, a small town near the state’s famous Flathead Lake. From a young age, Shane was a very active member of the tight-knit community. Despite his efforts to fit in, however, Shane fell victim to years of homophobic bullying and severe depression. Determined to escape the close-mindedness of his hometown, he graduated from high school, packed up all of his worldly belongings, and trekked to Los Angeles where he would pursue his dreams of working in the entertainment industry.
In 2005, knee-deep in the world of Hollywood, Shane met a young man who would change his life, and heart, forever:
Tom Bridegroom. The two fell quickly in love, and soon collaborated on all aspects of their lives. They founded a social
media/public relations company, established a successful music blog, purchased a home, and adopted a dog, JB. Shane and
Tom shared the American dream of starting a business, buying a home, and getting married someday. Their dreams came
to an end in May 2011, when Tom died in a tragic accident.
A year after the death of his partner, Shane created a YouTube video about his experiences entitled “It Could Happen to
You.” The 10 minute video recounted Shane and Tom’s story, including the injustices Shane suffered during the aftermath
of Tom’s death. The video ultimately went viral: it garnered over four million views and was translated into over a dozen languages. This deeply personal insight into Shane’s traumatic, but uplifting, journey was listed as one of GLAAD’s “Most
Inspiring Videos that Helped Push Equality Forward in 2012.”
Linda Bloodworth Thomason, creator of Designing Women and director/producer of the critically acclaimed Man from Hope, took interest in Shane and Tom’s story. Together Shane and Linda produced a full-length documentary, Bridegroom: A Love Story, Unequaled, which released in the fall of 2013. The film showcases the couple’s life together
and the fallout from Tom’s untimely death, while exploring the ramifications of marriage bans. The documentary has earned numerous accolades, including audience awards at every film festival at which it’s been screened. Festivals of note include Tribeca Film Festival and Los Angeles’ Outfest Film Festival.
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Watch the Bridegroom trailer here.