Duke students reject celebrated book because of gay themes

A page from "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel. Derek de Koff

A page from "Fun Home" by Alison Bechdel.

A page from “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel.

CNN reports that a graphic novel with gay and lesbian themes, which was featured on Duke University’s reading list for incoming college freshmen, has generated a lot of pushback among Christian students, who deem the book “pornographic.”

“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel tells the story of a girl who comes out of the closet and soon learns that her father was gay. The book was one of several books Duke University selected “to give incoming students a shared intellectual experience with other members of their class.”

“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,” wrote student Jeffrey Wubbenhort to The Duke Chronicle.

“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Freshman Brian Grasso posted to Facebook. “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind. It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”

The students are most concerned about images of acts in the book that some might find objectionable.

Ibanca Anand, a student member of the selection committee, told The Chronicle, “It has the potential to start many arguments and conversations, which, in my opinion, is an integral component of a liberal arts education.”

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