A South Carolina legislator has accused a state university of seeking to make female students not just "lesbian until graduation," but even after, and his complaints have forced the cancellation of the play How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less.
The play, featuring writer-performer Leigh Hendrix in the character of Butchy McDyke, was to have been presented as part of Bodies of Knowledge, a symposium on LGBT issues being held Thursday and Friday at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg. Hendrix has done the show all over the nation, but Republican state senator Mike Fair and some other legislators objected to having the production at USC Upstate.
“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’ It’s recruiting,” Fair told Greenville TV station WYFF.
The university announced Monday that the performance had been canceled. Officials issued a statement reading in part, “The title of the show, while deliberately provocative, is also part of the comedy. The performance is satirical in nature but has not been received as such. The controversy surrounding this performance has become a distraction to the educational mission of USC Upstate and the overall purpose of the Bodies of Knowledge Symposium. As a result, we have canceled this segment of the symposium.”
The website for How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less describes the show as “a hilarious coming out story for queers and non-queers alike,” explaining, “Motivational speaker and expert lesbian Butchy McDyke deftly guides her captive audience in an exploration of self-discovery and first love, coming out, lesbian sex, queer politics, and a really important Reba McEntire song as they learn to confidently shout, ‘I’m a big ’ol dyke!' Writer and performer Leigh Hendrix weaves a story that is one part instructional seminar, one part personal story, and one part wacky performance art. At turns funny and poignant, silly and earnest, How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less is the perfect guide to gay for budding lesbians, no matter their sexual orientation!”
Fair told the blog Inside Higher Ed he was pleased the performance had been canceled. Asked if he genuinely believed the show was a recruitment tool, he responded, “I know what it said. Words have meaning. And I know what parents read.”
South Carolina lawmakers have recently registered other objections to LGBT content in higher education. The House of Representatives in March voted to cut $52,000 in funding from USC Upstate and the College of Charleston for assigning LGBT-themed books as required reading; the Senate is considering the budget now.
Below, watch the WYFF report, followed by Hendrix’s response to the cancellation of her show.