66 pages 2 hours read

Moises Kaufman

The Laramie Project

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 2001

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The Violent Effects of Homophobia

Matthew Shepard’s murder was a hate crime. He was killed because he was gay in a society that does not tolerate homosexuality. As a result, The Laramie Project is fundamentally concerned with prejudice, which includes but is not limited to homophobia. Marge Murray tells us, early in Act I, that there is a class problem in Laramie; that there is a divide between those who work at the university and those who work at minimum wage service jobs. Indeed, her own children had been taunted because she worked in a bar. The initial impressions recorded by members of the Tectonic Theatre Company when they arrive in Laramie also suggest the prejudices that exist in America’s urban centers—like New York—about its rural states—such as Wyoming. Such prejudices expose points of difference, of tension between rural and urban society, between rich and poor. However, the most significant difference investigated in this play is that between the heterosexual majority and the homosexual minority, and the terrible, deadly consequences of homophobia.

Many heterosexual people in Laramie don’t consider homophobia to be a problem in their society. They know that gay people exist, they may even know gay people personally, and they do not consider them to be threatened or particularly threatening.