In the late summer of 2013, the College of Charleston required incoming first year students to read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home for their summer reading project. Fun Home is a graphic novel that deals with sexuality and family relationships. Gay and lesbian behavior appears in the novel as the author grapples with coming out in a dysfunctional family. It generated a firestorm on the College parents’ listserv last July and the ensuing controversy spilled out into the local paper, the Post and Courier. Since then, the South Carolina legislature’s House Ways and Means Committee, in a move led by South Carolina Republican Garry Smith, of Greenville, has voted to cut the College of Charleston’s budget in the amount of $52,000.00, the amount of the program’s cost. From Smith’s perspective, the novel went beyond “…the pale of academic debate….It graphically shows lesbian acts.” Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat from Orangeburg, disagreed, saying it was “an embarrassment to the state.”
Farenheit 451 anyone?