Oh, brother. Two lawmakers in South Carolina have come up with quite a scheme: cut funding for schools that assign reading that mentions gay people.
The College of Charleston and USC Upstate both assigned incoming freshmen to read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and the anthology Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, respectively. That infuriated Rep. Garry Smith and the House budget-writing committee. They voted to cut funding for the reading program to both schools.
Here’s the blurb for Fun Home:
Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.
And here’s Out Loud‘s description:
What began in 2005 as an experiment Rainbow Radio, South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show has since offered diverse, accurate, and often unparalleled stories of gay and lesbian Southerners, their families, and their friends. … Citadel cadets, drag queens, a slam poet from Columbia, a Spartanburg schoolteacher, a seminary student in Atlanta, a gay army vet just back from the Middle East, West Columbia rednecks, rural Texas tomboys, South Carolina’s first lesbian Congressional candidate, a young man talking about his gay uncle, a retired attorney talking about her gay son, two boys who dare to dance at the prom, a psychic who may be attuned to the gay agenda, and a dying man who makes his last visit to church on Christmas all these voices have now been collected in Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, edited by Ed Madden and Candace Chellew-Hodge.
So, these are not smutty dirty books that need to be banned. They’re important works, and the legislature’s only objection is that the poor innocent college students will be subjected to the knowledge that gay people exist.
We have to wonder here what legislators like Smith think the purpose of higher education is. Exposure to unfamiliar ideas? Learning about new people? Questioning the world around you? Thinking critically? Nah, that can’t be it! College is for only studying people who are just like you. And also drinking.
Just wait until Smith hears about the cross-dressing in The Taming of the Shrew. No more Shakespeare, students!