University students refuse to read book over gay themes
A group of students from a US university have refused to read a graphic novel over its gay themes.
First year students at Duke University were given Alison Bechdel’s ‘Fun Home’ as summer reading.
The book, published in 2006, is an autobiographical exploration of Bechdel coming to terms with being gay, and also of her father, who was in the closet.
The students, from the Duke class of 2019, refused to read it, citing the graphic novel’s use of nudity, and because of sexual themes.
“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” incoming freshman Brian Grasso wrote on Facebook, reported the Duke Chronicle.
In an email to the Chronicle, Jeffrey Wubbenhorst added: “The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature.”
A spokesman for the university Michael Schoenfeld, noted that the reading was not compulsory.
He said the school hoped that “students will begin their time at Duke with open minds and a willingness to explore new ideas, whether they agree with them or not.”
“Like many universities and community, Duke has had a summer reading for many years to give incoming students a shared intellectual experience with other members of the class,”Schoenfeld told CNN.
“Fun Home was ultimately chosen because it is a unique and moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront,” he added.
Bechdel had attended the university during orientation week to give a talk.