Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom were together for six years. They had a business and home together on the West Coast. They traveled the world. They shared an adorable pet. But when the couple came out to their families, everything changed.
In a heartbreaking video – “It Could Happen To You” – created with home movies and photos from the couple’s life together, Crone documents what happened when his own family embraced the couple, but his partner’s family became outraged, physically attacked their son and threatened him with a gun.
The spring after coming out to his parents the Christmas before, Bridegroom, just 29 years old, fell from his rooftop to his death. The events surrounding the incident are still murky – Crone has never been able to access vital hospital records. And even though the couple shared promise rings for when marriage became legal in California, Crone was also banned from the funeral he paid for and was absent from the obituary. He was treated by the family (and the government) as if they had never even existed in a relationship together – let alone one for six years.
“I need to fight for what’s right. I need to fight for what I believe in and I can’t just stand back anymore,” says Crone. “Maybe that’s why this all happened, maybe this is part of the reason … is to open my eyes and to inspire me to want to make a change and to want to fight for equality.”
You can also watch their incredible story here: