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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

REDDIN: Seek truth in ‘Laramie’

Tonight’s premiere of “The Laramie Project” is not a play I’ll be happy to have to attend.

This is no slight to the cast and crew of the show. I’ve read “Laramie’s” script before, and it was powerful enough just in written words that I know seeing it played out before me will make it exponentially more heartwrenching.

“The Laramie Project” is not a show I’m seeing because I want to. I’d be much happier to live in a world where a play like this is an anachronism of an older, less evolved time.

But the fact of the matter is we don’t. I’m not trying to argue that there’s been no progress — quite the opposite, since anti-gay violence wasn’t even considered a hate crime at the time of Matthew Shepard’s murder — but, then again, we do reportedly have the most detestable group since the KKK dropping by campus next week.

This column is not going to be about them, though. I’ve got an inch count to consider, and they don’t deserve any more than this.

Nor is it going to be about the people on the other end of the spectrum, for whom being gay, bisexual, or transgender is no more problematic than preferring apples over oranges, who are choosing to stand up for the LGBT community despite pressure not to. Applauding them would also cause problems with my inch count, for the opposite reason.

This column is for the people in between.

I write this column to you because you probably don’t plan to see “The Laramie Project.” Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum between acceptance and rejection — be it “I have a gay friend” or “Love the sinner, hate the sin” — you don’t see there being any benefit in you attending the show.

You couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, you’re the people who need to see the show most.

“Laramie” probably won’t change the minds of the Westboro Baptist Church and those who share their beliefs, and the LGBT community and their allies don’t have any reason not to attend.

You, on the other hand, have opinions that can still move closer to the extremes — although I’m not so foolish to think that means they’re easily changed. What’s different about your opinions is that rarely are you called upon to choose sides because of them. They let you straddle the fence, not allying with the fight for gay rights but remaining good people, in your own minds.

But this fence is too bloodstained to be straddled.

I understand my argument comes from an irrevocably biased point of view, but I have a piece of support that I know you adhere to, at least in part, by virtue of your ability to read this column: Marquette’s mission statement. It usually gets boiled down into our “four pillars:” excellence, faith, leadership and service. But when you actually read the whole thing, there’s two hidden pillars that come before them — “the search for truth” and “the discovery and sharing of knowledge.”

“Laramie” offers us the opportunity to pursue both. The play itself is a search for truth, and its mission is to share what little truth and knowledge it can offer.

I’m not asking you to support gay marriage or spontaneously become an activist. I wish you would, but I’m taking baby steps here.

If you believe in the mission of this university, you have an obligation to see “The Laramie Project.” The events it depicts happened, and choosing to ignore them is nothing but cowardice.

For the next two weeks, you have a choice. Either you can take a chance, see “The Laramie Project,” and be a better person regardless of whether your beliefs change — or you can stay home, and never truly understand why someone like me would feel compelled to write a column like this.

Should I save you a seat?

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