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USN Students Support GLSEN Middle TN
University School Of Nashville Theatre Guild Pledges To Support Safe, Inclusive Schools With Production Of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later”
On a cold night in October 1998, on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, a 21-year-old gay college student named Matthew Shepard was savagely attacked and left to die. Shepard’s untimely death and the vicious hate crime that precipitated it are marked as a critical point in the American LGBT rights movement.
In 2009, over a decade after the horrifying events that took place, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later premiered in over 130 stages across the country. The play, a sequel to The Laramie Project, chronicles the ways in which Laramie had changed—politically, socially, religiously, and educationally—In the decade following Shepard’s death.
On March 31st at 5:00pm and April 1st and 2nd at 7pm, The University School of Nashville’s (USN) Theatre Guild will present of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. The productions will take place in the USN auditorium and entry is free, though donations are accepted. USN’s Theatre Guild has pledged all donations to support GLSEN Middle Tennessee in its mission to ensure that each student in every school is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“We’re behold at the generosity of USN’s Theatre Guild and their dedication to our seeing our goals achieved!” said Justin Sweatman-Weaver, Co-Chair of GLSEN Middle Tennessee.
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later has been hailed as a powerful reflection on the impact of tragedy on a community. Through the lens of Laramie, the audience is asked to consider what history is and how it defines a place and its people. In the ten years following Laramie, so much progress has been made toward improving the lives of LGBT people in America. However, we continue to live in a time when attacks on LGBT adults and youth persist. According to Sweatman-Weaver the production couldn’t be timelier; giving us the opportunity to contemplate our current political and cultural climate:
“Anti-LGBT bullying and violence isn’t solely characterized by a physical act of aggression—it’s embedded and enabled by the climate of our communities. Right now, we are witness to divisive rhetoric from politicians seeking the highest office in the land meanwhile inciting violence and widening a rift between people. We’re also seeing radically anti-LGBT legislation from States where LGBT people are already disparagingly discriminated against and where LGBT students in schools are seldom protected by inclusive policies.”
GLSEN Middle Tennessee encourages members of the greater Nashville community to take advantage of this free production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later by the USN Theatre Guild and challenges spectators to reflect upon on the experiences of LGBT students.
“Being a teenager is challenging enough without having to worry about being accepted or rejected, or even attacked, by broader society simply because of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. It’s essential that we never become complacent—the amazing students at USN who approached us about the play and supporting GLSEN understand the importance of this ongoing dialogue and action.”