The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later
On the eleventh anniversary of the hateful murder of openly gay Matthew Shepard, an epilogue to the play The Laramie Project premiered across the country. The epilogue, entitled The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, focused on the way the town of Laramie and the people in it have changed since the happenings in their home became known nationwide.
Before Matthew Shepard was killed because of his sexuality, the town was not as open to ethical treatment of people who are different. Once the town experienced the tragedy of a young life lost because of hate, their eyes, along with the rest of the country’s, were opened to the need for compassion for others. Laramie used to be a place that was difficult to blend in to if someone was unlike everyone else because of its’ traditional, cookie-cutter
A decade after The Laramie Project, interviewers found that while a whole lot has changed in the community, much still remains the same. While many people took to heart the evens that ended an innocent life, there are those who still hold tight to homophobic tendencies and pass along their ideals to their children. There is still no state-based legislation regarding hate-crimes, although President Barack Obama passed the Matthew Shepard Act on a federal level. Citizens of the community, such as Dave O’Malley, who had anti-gay leanings prior to the murder, have stated that their beliefs have changed entirely and now have a much broader sense of camaraderie with others. Even Catholic priests have begun preaching about welcoming members of the gay community. Educators at all levels have begun to take hateful behavior between children much more seriously, teaching that people should all be treated fairly.