assigning Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home earns Charleston College a budget cut

Another reminder about Freedom to Read Week from our neighbours to the south:

I just read an article about the South Carolina House of Representatives’ budget committee voting to cut funding for Charleston College over a challenged book: apparently the college assigned Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home as summer reading for incoming first-year students. The graphic novel (which is excellent, by the way) is about Bechdel’s childhood growing up with a closeted and unhappy gay dad. Bechdel herself is a lesbian and she explores how her childhood experiences have shaped her own identity as a gay woman. One representative, Garry Smith, said he thinks the book doesn’t contain anything worthy of academic discussion: “It goes beyond the pale of academic debate…It graphically shows lesbian acts…promoting the gay and lesbian lifestyle.”

I’m astounded that any governing body would think it appropriate to withhold funding in order to control what books are assigned to adult students. According to the article, the decision may be reversed when the entire House votes on the budget later this month. I certainly hope so.

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