Duke University Students Refuse to Read Book About Author’s Gay Father and Struggle with Sexual Identity
Duke Students refused to read Graphic Novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, that tells the story of her secretly gay father and her struggles with her own sexual identity.
Alison Bechdel’s novel tells the story of her relationship with her secretly gay father and her struggles with her own sexual identity.
Incoming Duke Students, such as Brian Grasso, decided not to read the novel because the contents go against their belief system. “I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Grasso said in a Facebook post about his decision.
While some supported Grasso’s viewpoint, others disagreed. Marivi Howell-Arza thought that reading the book might “open [one’s] mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar.”
Statement from Duke University on students refusing to read “Fun Home” pic.twitter.com/wOiBOyY72b
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) August 25, 2015
The Duke Common Experience Selection committee picked the novel because it create open dialogue about “mental health, interpersonal relationships and human rights,” reports the USAToday.
Bummed for the Duke freshmen that missed an opportunity to grow. They have a lot to learn from Bechdel. http://t.co/9aSgNhxxxJ
— Julie Rodgers (@Julie_rodgers) August 24, 2015
Grasso later clarified his viewpoint in an email stating that he might have read the content in a traditional text format, but the style of the graphic novel turned the story into something he considered offensive and “pornographic.”
Duke senior Sherry Zhang, who was on the committee that chose the book, knew that it would create controversy among the newbies on campus, and did say that the Facebook discussion Grasso initiated was “very respectful and considerate.”
Zhang also said that the decision to either read or not read the book would be another conversation ice-breaker.