The narrator introduces Catherine Connolly, who calls herself the first “out” lesbian faculty member at the University of Wyoming. Catherine says she came out during her job interview when asked what her nonexistent husband did. Catherine goes on to talk about how, when she first started at the University, she received a call from an anonymous woman who told Catherine that she was also a lesbian, and wanted to meet her, and that she knew other lesbians who were in the closet who would be afraid to be seen with Catherine.
Catherine Connolly’s story about arriving in Laramie as the first “out” lesbian on the university faculty seems to contradict what people like Marge and Doc have been saying about the “live and let live” attitude towards gay people. Catherine’s phone call suggests that many lesbians in Wyoming live with so much fear of being persecuted that they keep their sexuality completely secret.
The narrator then introduces Jonas Slonaker, a gay man who moved to Laramie because he loves Wyoming. He talks about how when he would go to gay bars, men from Wyoming would ask how he can live there, since they found it so difficult. Occasionally, though, Jonas says someone would talk about how much they missed Laramie and wanted to move back. Jonas begins to imagine how things might be different if more gay people stayed in rural towns, but then states that this would be “easier said than done.”
Jonas further articulates the fear and lack of acceptance that many LGBT people feel in Wyoming when he talks about the gay men he knows who refuse to live there because facing the constant bigotry makes life too hard. Again, this statement contradicts how many straight people view Laramie’s attitude towards LGBT people as fairly tolerant (but fits the usual trend of the oppressive majority minimizing the experiences of the oppressed minority).