Fun Home, a graphic memoir written by Alison Bechdel, was the assigned summer reading for the incoming freshman class at Duke University.
The book chronicles Bechdel as she grew up gay in a family-run funeral home in rural Pennsylvania. It was critically lauded at the time of its 2006 publication, claimed a spot on The New York Times Best Seller List, and has since been developed into a Tony Award Best Musical-winning Broadway production.
But some incoming Duke students found its depictions and descriptions of homosexual themes inappropriate.
On July 26, incoming freshman Brian Grasso reportedly posted on the Class of 2019 Facebook page expressing his concerns with Fun Home, according to The Duke Chronicle. (The Facebook group is a closed group.)
“I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it,” Grasso reportedly wrote in the post.
According to the Chronicle, several other students commented on Grasso’s post saying that they also felt that their morals were compromised by being required to read a book about a young woman’s sexual awakening.
Because of the illustrated nature of Fun Home, which includes drawings of gay sexual activity, one student deemed the memoir pornographic.
“I thought to myself, ‘What kind of school am I going to?’” another Duke freshman, Elizabeth Snyder-Mounts, told the Chronicle.
It’s a school that encourages discussion, Sherry Zhang, a Duke senior and co-chair of First-Year Advisory Counseling Board, told the Chronicle. Zhang understands that the decision of whether or not to read the book is up to the student, but she said she hopes that refusing to read Fun Home won’t be the end of the discussion.