BANGOR – The murder of an openly gay Bangor man 35 years ago put the city in an ugly spotlight that the current mayor says eventually led to positive changes.
Charlie Howard, 23, was taunted, beaten and then thrown over the State Street Bridge on July 7, 1984 by three local teen-aged boys.
He drowned and the three teens served time in juvenile corrections.
Bangor City Council’s chairwoman says Howard’s death led to a lot of changes, not just in Bangor, but statewide.
“That was the flashpoint for Equality Maine even existing,” said Sarah Nichols.
“We’ve come a long way in regards to being one of the first states legalizing gay marriage, but also to now. Janet Mills put the transgender health benefits through MaineCare, to cover transgender health needs.”
She adds there is more openness and acceptance now, compared to when Howard was alive. A memorial service was held for him during Bangor’s recent Pride Week.