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Candlelight Vigil Held in Houston for Gay Man Beaten To Death

HOUSTON, TX —It was only four months ago that 18-year-old  Stephen Roy Sylvester, Jr moved from Houston to Austin for family and education. His plans included studying at Austin Community College, and then University of Texas.

Today local, state, national and world news outlets focused on his death ranging from the The New York Daily News, USA Today, The Washington TimesCBS News, and Instinct Magazine.

In Houston on Sunday, the people that knew him best and loved him- paid their respects with a candle light vigil. His pictures were scattered, and surrounded by candles. His friends sat silently in a circle. Their hearts were broken. One  of the guys in the crowd was Taylor Shirley.

Every single piece of news coverage of this horrible loss; Shirley is mentioned as a “friend,” but that is almost as painful as the loss Shirley is feeling. Every reporter refers to me as a ‘friend’ he told us.

Shirley was the boyfriend for almost a year before Stephen moved. “He was larger than life. He walked into a room and filled it up in the best way.” says Shirley.  “He was the type of person that if you were walking past him and he noticed you looking sad, he would stop you and ask to talk about it.” Shirley tells About Magazine.

Shirley fondly remembered Sylvester’s tenderness and understanding for people, particularly those in the transgender community.

Stephen lived with Shirley in Spring, Texas and attended Klein Collins High School before he moved to Austin.

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