The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project


Moisés Kaufman

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The Laramie Project: Act 3: Gay Panic Summary & Analysis

Zackie Salmon talks about how, when the defense team tried to argue that Aaron McKinney killed Matthew Shepard because Matthew hit on him, she felt sick. Zackie thought it was an endorsement of that kind of reaction. Rebecca Hilliker, meanwhile, feels conflicted, because she thinks it is important to acknowledge that Matthew’s identity was a major factor in his attacker’s motivations, rather than the murder simply being the consequence of a normal robbery.
As Zackie and Rebecca express opposite reactions to the defense team’s strategy (which was pointing out that Aaron’s reaction was based in homophobia), they raise questions similar to Father Roger’s about whether describing anti-LGBT violence might actually be understood as an endorsement of it. The playwrights leave the answer ambiguous.
Homophobia, Tolerance, and Acceptance Theme Icon
Violence, Punishment, and Justice Theme Icon