Laramie residents taking in the downtown area Friday night might see something they weren’t expecting. Laramie residents participating in the “Live and Let Tutu Pub Crawl” will take to the bars wearing tutus Friday, April 28, in an event designed to respond to recent comments made by Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi at Greybull high school this week in response to a student asking what Enzi was doing to support the LGBTQ community. Enzi's response included an anecdote that if a man wears a tutu to a bar, he shouldn’t be surprised if he got beat up and inferred that he asked for it

Laramie resident Mike Vanata said after reading about the senator’s comments, he wanted to do something.

“After I read about the comments that Mike Enzi made at the Greybull school, I just started messaging people on social media saying hey, how would you like to get together and just wear some tutus downtown,” Vanata said.  “I think I wanted to push the envelope a little bit.”

Vanata found some of the individuals he messaged where already working on organizing a statewide event. He then assumed leadership of organizing the pub crawl.

Participating bars in the Laramie downtown will be offering discount drinks to those sporting tutus from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.

For those who don’t have tutus of their own, Vanata said a tutu-sewing workshop at the Laramie Plains Civic Center, in the Gem City Art Team Studio will help make tutus for the pub crawl. Vanata said Conor Mullen and June Glasson organized the workshop.

“June Glasson, of the Wyoming Art Party has been an outstanding coordinator, in offering the Wyoming Art Party’s studio space and generating ideas and getting the word out,” Vanata said. “So I sent her a message and she said we would love to offer their space. The Wyoming Art Party always delivers.”

The pub crawl in Laramie is part of a state-wide ‘Live and Let Tutu’ action this Friday. Patrick Harrington, a Laramie resident, said he grew up in Greybull and after reading the transcript of the comments in the Greybull Standard, he was very surprised.

“The issue that immediately struck me was that it seems tone-deaf in 2017 and above all else like an excuse for bullying people who are different than you,” Harrington said. “So I worked with my brother Brian to develop a Facebook campaign to spread the word quickly across Wyoming that asked individuals to develop their own local actions to show support for the LGBTQ community in their region.”

Harrington said the event calls on Wyoming residents to wear tutus to school, work, or their local bar and to share photos of their experience with the hashtag #LiveandLetTutu. He said the goal is to show support for the LGBTQ community in Wyoming.

“I understand Sen. Enzi has contacted Wyoming Equality to apologize personally to their staff, which is a good first step and hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Harrington said. “However, we think Senator Enzi is still on the hook for the question posed by that sophomore in Greybull, ‘what is he doing to support LGBTQ youth in Wyoming?’”

Sara Burlingame, education and outreach coordinator for Wyoming Equality, said that during her phone call with Senator Enzi she believed him when he said he was not used to getting questions like the one posed to him in Greybull and that he was unprepared.

“I not only believe in the sincerity of Senator Enzi, but I also think if he sat down and shared a meal with them, I think he would work to take care of those kids,” Burlingame said.  “I think the reason he is not doing that now is because he doesn’t know them.”

Burlingame said a recent PREP Report Card  showed that 14 percent of all Wyoming 9th graders identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

“These are our kids and the harm is happening to them,” Burlingame said.

Burlingame thanked the Laramie organizers of the ‘Live and Let Tutu’ events and said the event was a great reminder of the LGBTQ support all over the state.

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