The Laramie Project

Matthew Shepard, a homosexual college boy from the University of Wyoming, with passion for social sciences, was brutally tortured at a very isolated place by two anti-gay bigots. One of those bigots later revealed in court that apparently the main reason why they severely beat him and tied him up to a fence at that place was because Matt was reaching for his dick.

The play is a pile of “moments” consisting mainly of the more than 200 interviews that Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project conducted in Laramie, Wyoming. It is written exactly like a play, of course, which brings a slightly different reading experience, especially if the reader watched that play at his university’s theater like I did two years ago.

The Laramie Project apparently turned into more than just a play. A lot of the theaters at high schools and universities in USA have their students play it, and if these high schools or universities require taking seminar classes regardless of a student’s major – one of these will include reflection papers on the book or the play performed at the local theater.

The play reveals how cruel and unusual homophobia could be. Hating someone just because they are homosexual is no different than hating someone just because they are Jew, Gypsy, Slav, of a different race, and so on. Did I hit on where it hurts – being compared to a Nazi? Apparently homophobia and nazism, to their extreme, have a striking resemblance. The more people like Russel Arthur Henderson and Aaron James McKinney (Matt’s murderers) there are, the more likely it is that hate crimes against homosexuals will occur until we reach to a new set of nights of the long knives – this time in twenty-first century. I commend every school’s action of including The Laramie Project in their curriculum because even though it gets better it is not over yet – especially when so many homosexuals still commit suicide.

Meanwhile, The Laramie Project allows the reader or the spectator to view further than just the hate crime. People tend to create stereotypes after a certain event. In this case, that stereotype would be that the entire Laramie, and even the entire state of Wyoming, is homophobic. However, based on the interviews conducted, it appears that Laramie doesn’t deserve to fall under this stereotype. This video report seems to show that too – especially on its third minute.

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