A Call For Help: How SC Makes “Gay, Not Okay”
I don’t usually make a post about things like this in my blog, which is usually dedicated to my faith as a Pagan; however, this news surfaced yesterday, and it really ticks me off, so I need to share it, and I hope that everyone who reads this shares this news as well.
You may have heard awhile ago about how the State of South Carolina’s legislature heard that two public Universities in the state were including “gay themed” books in their freshmen reading programs. They got really mad and started to debate about whether or not they should cut funding to the two schools as punishment for their inclusive choices. They said things about how the readings were inappropriate for college students and how it was “tax-payer funded pornography.”
Eventually, because South Carolina is a fairly conservative state, the conservatives won and funding was cut in February. This spurred debates to reinstate funding, which all failed, and student protests across the state, including a gay-themed musical at the College of Charleston.
If this wasn’t enough, the University of South Carolina Upstate, where I graduated with my Bachelors, holds a Symposium each year through the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. They had Butchy McDyke coming to perform the satirical “How to Become a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.” This causes some more uproar and more threats about budget cuts, and USC Upstate was forced to cancel performance because it’s “gay indoctrination.”
This caused a lot of dissent in the educational community, including from the USC Upstate chancellor.
And a lot of good it did.
Because the news came out yesterday that the University of South Carolina Upstate has chosen to completely shut down the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. There’s a lot of speculation that it’s to placate the state government because the total budget for the CWGS is only $500. The Center created a safe space for students to go. It helped many of my friends and others at the school become confident in themselves, allowing them to live their lives authentically and fully.
This closure destroys the work of so many people to make USC Upstate a more welcoming to students from all different backgrounds. It’s a huge loss to the community. And no faculty, staff or student opinions were taken into account for this.
The government here and the school have made it pretty clear that this isn’t something we should be concerned about: student inclusion and acceptance. Adam Weinstein over at Gawker summed it all up pretty well when he said, “There is no such thing as a safe space in South Carolina.”
But, like all the rest of the happenings recently, this news has created quite a stir. Alumni of the University have created a petition to urge the reinstatement of the Center at the University. What I’m asking is please, PLEASE, take a moment to look over it, and if you feel inclined or moved to, sign it. Then pass this message along so that we can get the word out that this is NOT okay and we will NOT stand by idly and watch it happen.