Judy Shepherd, co-creator of the Matthew Shepherd Foundation, has opened the first ever North American OutGames in Calargy.

The games, held in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association, will run until 8th April.

The event will bring together LGBT and heterosexual people to celebrate sport and culture, as well as human rights discussions and workshops.

Organisers say: “The vision of the Calgary OutGames Legacy is to showcase Calgary as a city that embraces diversity, and accepts all people – regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Judy Shepherd told OttowaCitizen.com: “The gay community is not on everyone’s radar. It should be, but it just isn’t.”

She said that her mission is to help the gay community and “raise awareness about the things they go through.”

Shepherd’s son Matthew was brutally murdered in Wyoming in 1998.

She and husband Dennis created the Matthew Shepherd Foundation in Matthew’s memory.

The anti-homophobia organisation aims to “replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance.”

His death and the subsequent trial of the killers, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney, attracted global media attention.