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Lesbian One-Woman Show Cancelled At A South Carolina University Following Complaints From Local Lawmakers

The cancellation comes only a month after House of Representatives cut $17,142 from USC Upstate’s budget for assigning freshmen to read a book of essays on coming out in the South.

1. Leah Hendrix’s satircal play “How To Become A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less” has been canceled at the University Of South Carolina Upstate’s LGBT symposium following complaints from several South Carolina lawmakers.

2. South Carolina state Sen. Mike Fair condemned the university for its upcoming symposium during an interview on Monday.

“It’s just not normal and then you glorify, or it seems to me, that the promotion at USC Upstate is a glorification of same-sex orientation,” Fair said of the planned performance. Republican State Sen. Kevin Bryant called the university’s programming a promotion of “perversion”. “If they’ve got extra money sitting around to promote perversion, obviously they’ve got more money than they really need,” he said Friday.

The cancellation comes only a month after House of Representatives cut $17,142 from USC Upstate’s budget for assigning freshmen to read a book of essays on coming out in the South.

3. The two-day (April 10-11) “Bodies of Knowledge Symposium and Conference” is set to feature several speakers and performers “focusing on various ways of being LGBTQ.”

The event will feature lectures by Dr. David Halperin (author of How to Be Gay and co-founder of GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies) and Dr. Bernadette Barton (author of Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays).

4. The cancelled production is a one woman show featuring writer-performer Leigh Hendrix in the character of Butchy McDyke:


How To Be A Lesbian in 10 Days or Less is a hilarious coming out story for queers and non-queers alike. 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, [the show] is the perfect guide to gay for budding lesbians, no matter their sexual orientation!

5. Tammy E. Whaley, the assistant vice chancellor of University Communications, explains the show was canceled for “disrupting the school’s educational mission.”

6. Hendrix responded to the censorship of her show, in character as Butchy McDyke, with a recorded video.

“You know what? I’m going to let you in on a big lesbian secret. Right here. There are not, in fact, any rules on how to be a lesbian. You know what else? This seminar is not just for lesbians. No, it’s really for everybody because everybody has got to figure out how to craft an honest and engaging narrative about who they are in the world.”

7. Hendrix shared her personal response with BuzzFeed:


“The director of the women’s and gender studies program Dr. Lisa Johnson invited me early this year to be a part of the symposium and let me know last Wednesday that because of this pressure from the state legislature they were going to cancel my performance. I’m from South Carolina and I have done the show in my hometown with a great reception so somehow I was surprised that this happened. I’ve done the show all over, from New Orleans to New York, but mostly at theaters and performance festivals and with a wide variety of folks in audiences.

The show is so fun and funny and accessible that I forget the idea of a queer person speaking can seem so scary to some folks. I don’t just make solo work or queer work necessarily but I am always thinking about what it is to tell stories in performance as a queer person. I suppose I am a dangerous lesbian and that feels pretty exciting.”

8. When Sen. Mike Fair was asked if he truly believed the show was trying to “recruit” people to the lesbian lifestyle, he focused on the title of the play: “I know what it said. Words have meaning. And I know what parents read.”

9. Check out the trailer for “How To Be A lesbian In Ten Days Or Less” below.

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/21138113.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Sarah Karlan is the associate LGBT editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at sarah.karlan@buzzfeed.com
 
 

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