South Carolina lawmakers have moved to slash funding for two public universities because the schools assigned non-fiction, gay-themed books to students.
Last summer the College of Charleston’s College Reads program assigned students the book Fun Home, a graphic-novel memoir by Alison Bechdel. The University of South Carolina Upstate, meanwhile, assigned students Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a book that tells the story of South Carolina’s first LGBT radio show.
Republican state Rep. Garry Smith received an email from an upset parent whose daughter was bound for the College of Charleston, and Smith responded by pushing to cut the book budget for both colleges—$17,142 for USC Upstate and $52,000 for the College of Charleston.
Bechdel, the lesbian cartoonist who created the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, addressed the controversy in a statement.
“It’s sad and absurd that the College of Charleston is facing a funding cut for teaching my book,” she said. “A book which is, after all, about the toll that this sort of small-mindedness takes on people’s lives.”
Bechdel’s New York Times bestseller Fun Home tells the story of her unhappy, closeted gay father and her own struggle to come out.
Fun Home and Out Loud have both been assigned at colleges around the U.S. The use of Fun Home was previously challenged in Utah.