HRC Blog

Was LGBT Equality the Darling of SXSW?

Post submitted by Breanna Bishop, HRC Publications and Magazine Intern

The South Carolina House rejected a proposal to restore nearly $70,000 to two South Carolina colleges’ 2014-2015 budget – in response to the schools’ addition of LGBT-positive readings to the curriculum – on March 10.

The proposed funding cuts were previously passed by both the Higher Education subcommittee and the House Ways & Means committee. Opponents attempted to restore the money, but their efforts were blocked by the Republican-led House.

“Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel and “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio” by Ed Madden and Candace Chellew-Hodge were selected as freshman reading assignments by the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate, respectively.

The lawmakers’ actions have forced both schools to change their policies for prior review of future freshman reading material following the decision.

The House’s vote has caused both Democrats and Republicans to speak out against the decision.

“Are we saying that we don’t trust the students in the state to expose them to something they have not seen before or expose them to an ideology that may be foreign to them?” said Democratic State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter.

Retired Clemson University professor and Republican State Rep. B.R. Skelton thinks the cuts are unfair.

“We’re saying, ‘This is what you’re going to do and if you don’t, we’re going to punish you,” he said.

Supporters of the funding cut, like Republican State Rep. Garry Smith, say the books failed to reflect the standards of the state’s taxpayers.

Additionally, the House met March 11 to consider Republican State Rep. Mac Toole’s budget amendment that would hold $1 million of all public colleges’ funding until they stop using “pornographic content” in classes and required the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights to be implemented in the curriculum. Toole withdrew his amendment proposal after the House voted not to restore funding to the two colleges.

The South Carolina House is set to vote on their state budget this week.

HRC is dedicated to educating and empowering LGBT youth on their campuses and in their local communities. Resource information for LGBT and allied students are available online.

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