I was delighted to read that Fun Home, the musical stage adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir, won a Tony Award for Best Musical last Sunday night, especially since Alison Bechdel will be a keynote speaker at the NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis. Then I was saddened to recall when Fun Home had been singled out a year ago by the South Carolina legislature.
In March 2014, the College of Charleston had slated Fun Home as a summer read for incoming freshmen while incoming freshmen at the University of South Carolina Upstate were to read Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio. A number of legislators disliked the LGBT themes in the books and did not want the colleges to use them. Not daring to infringe on academic freedom by banning the books (and, perhaps, not having any legal authority to do so), the legislature managed to remove the books by taking away money budgeted for the colleges’ reading programs.
They did this despite the efforts of NCTE and a coalition of First Amendment organizations to keep the books on the reading lists.