A photo says a thousand words, so the saying goes. Then what do a thousand photos of people wearing tutus in bars say? In Wyoming, those photos say tolerance, acceptance, and love.
So what do tutus and Wyoming have to do with each other? Let us explain. During a speech at Greybull High School and Middle School in Greybull, Wyoming on Thursday, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) remarked that a man shouldn't be surprised if he got a punch for "wearing a tutu to a bar." Enzi's statement was part of a story about a man he says he knows who does just that. "I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights," Enzi said. "Well, he kind of asks for it."
Enzi's comments sparked an immediate response from all of the expected places, including the Wyoming Democratic Party. "Senator Enzi’s comment was not just inappropriate, it was ugly and indicative of a kind of backwards thinking that has no place in today’s society," Joe M. Barbuto, Chair of the Wyoming Democratic Party, said in his official statement. "It only makes matters worse that his remark was made to a group of young students. Let me be clear: no one deserves or is asking to be punished for simply being who they are. The Senator should already know that."
Arguably the best response though came in the form of a grassroots movement across Wyoming. The hashtag #LiveAndLetTutu signaled a protest from people who believe that Wyoming's State Motto, Live And Let Live, extends to everyone. Patrick Harrington and Mike Vanata, two of the protest organizers, live in Laramie, the hometown of the late Matthew Shepard, a gay teen who was brutally murdered. "I’m really upset that Wyoming kind of lives in this dark shadow of a myth that we’re just a completely gay-hating state or something,” Vanata told Wyoming Public Media. “And I think from this action, we’re correcting that.”
Click through to see some of our favorite photos of the people of Wyoming wearing tutus to bars and loving it.