Westenhoefer says her sexual orientation prompted cancellation of booking

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com March 10 2001 1:00 AM ET

Carlow College in Pittsburgh terminated a contract with lesbian comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer days before she was about to appear on campus, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Representatives of Westenhoefer accuse Carlow of censorship, and both they and Westenhoefer say they think the college revoked the contract because of her sexual orientation. The March 18 show has been moved to a smaller auditorium in the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill, Pa. Carlow president Sister Grace Ann Geibel was out of town and unavailable for comment. “The only thing I can tell you is we have canceled the contract. Outside of that, really, I can’t tell you anything, and that is on advice of our counsel,” said Jan Gray, a Carlow spokeswoman. Cindy Klink, a producer of gay and lesbian entertainment, said that in November Carlow gave her permission to use the college’s 915-seat auditorium for the performance. But on February 22 she received a phone message from Steve Fatla, a Carlow employee in charge of auditorium use, saying the contract was terminated and that it was “out of his hands.” The appearance was not sponsored by any campus group or by the school itself. The school’s lawyer told Greg Klink, a lawyer and Cindy’s brother, that Geibel had deemed a CD recorded by Westenhoefer years ago “inappropriate.” The CD is titled Nothing in My Closet but My Clothes. “I’m not Chris Rock,” Westenhoefer said. “I do know that I say four-letter words on occasion, [but] I’m actually not that edgy. The edgy thing about me is I’m gay.” But Westenhoefer’s appearance wouldn’t have been the first by an openly gay comic at Carlow—in 1992 lesbian comedian Kate Clinton performed at the college.