“Titled “It Could Happen To You,” the clip contains heartwarming anecdotes about the relationship between Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom, who were committed to one another for six years. “We started a business, owned a home and traveled the world together,” Crone, a Montana native, recalls in the video.
But after the pair decided to come out to their families, Crone says Bridegroom’s parents were outraged. “When Tom returned to Indiana to visit his parents for Christmas, his father threatened him with a gun and physically attacked him.”
After Bridegroom’s untimely death on May 7, 2011, Crone was barred from attending the funeral and wake, and wasn’t mentioned in the obituary. His experience trying to obtain information from the hospital was similarly unsuccessful. “To Tom’s family, I no longer existed, and to the government, Tom and I were mere roommates,” Crone notes.
Crone concludes: “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. 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.”
Editor’s Note:How many times over the decades have we seen this story—–too many!Recently we attended the memorial service of a distinguished member of our community and experienced a deja-vou of the above type. Eric was a brilliant man, a multi-lingual translator, cultured, a mind of Renaissance facets and one who contributed all his talents as a volunteer at the local AIDS food bank for years and in every capacity. His leadership was deeply admired and his loss mourned by the GLTB community.
His mother and the east coast family interests moved in before the body was cold to set upon Eric’s loving partner, the one who never failed him during the dying months. They were after the art and antiques. Eric’s ashes were spirited away to be buried on the east coast in a family plot. The mother announced in the memorial tribute that only she and a few sorority sisters were present.
The mother was a piece of work, a combination of ego, arrogance, self interest and grief. I was struck when she related that Eric had told the story of how he was rejected by the family for being gay and moved as far away as possible to the left coast to escape them. She narrated how that was just Eric’s little joke. She said it with a straight to a 100 plus audience of Eric’s true family.