Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Controversial lgbt play a huge hit at the College of Charleston

The controversy at the College of Charleston involving lgbt issues has been a back and forth between the legislators and college. Last night however,  students finally spoke out about the situation in their own way:

From the Charleston Post & Courier:

"Fun Home" author Alison Bechdel said she owes a debt to the generations of gay people who came before her, including her closeted, gay father who killed himself.

And she was proud to be part of bringing to Charleston the off-Broadway show based on her book, despite threats from South Carolina lawmakers that they could continue to slash the College of Charleston's budget.

Bechdel and the original cast of the New York show volunteered to present two performances in concert format at the 750-seat Memminger Auditorium Monday. The 7 p.m. show sold out and most seats for the 9 p.m. show also were filled.

Also, earlier that day students also attended a rally in support of "academic freedom" where they called into question the decision by SC lawmakers to take away $52,000 of its budget simply because Fun Home  was offered to students to read. Other SC lgbt organizations and leaders have also weighed in on the controversy:

Warren Redman-Gress, executive director of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, said that in addition to students, the performances were important to Charleston residents, including members of its gay community. The General Assembly "is still trying to bully those with certain views," he said. The graphic novel "Fun Home" was the selected title for the College Reads! program and made available to all incoming freshman in the fall of 2013.

In the book, which Bechdel has written and drawn in comic-strip form, she describes her childhood with a closeted gay father, who was an English teacher and owner of a funeral home; the trial he faced over his dealings with young boys; his suicide; and her own coming out as a lesbian.

In February, some lawmakers took issue with the book, and the S.C. House budget-writing committee moved to withdraw $52,000 of school funding, the cost of the summer reading program.

The fact that last night's performances was a hit amongst students does call into question the claim by lawmakers that there were complaints about its reading assignment. 

However, if students are truly worried about this situation and how it may affect "academic freedom," the attendance last night was a good first step.  An appropriate last step should be an en masse rally at the State House while lawmakers are deliberating over the issue.

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