A self-proclaimed “live and let live” society, Laramie, Wyoming quickly became everything but when studied by the Tectonic Theater Company following the murder of Matthew Shepard. By drawing attention to disturbingly inherent elements of Laramie’s culture including verbal distancing, an elitist sentiment, and the belief that apathy is acceptable, the theater company exposes the hostile climate that has made this Wyoming city nearly unlivable for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning community. In analyzing the language and attitudes of the residents of Wyoming as brought to light in the play The Laramie Project, this paper confirms the danger in apathy and shows that though violent language may seem harmless to those who use it, such language can quickly transform into physical attacks against fellow citizens. This essay argues that something must be done to end these forms of prejudice if true progress is to be made against discrimination in our present day society.



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