Gay Culture in South Carolina: Taking A Stand for the Equality of Man
Gay culture has grown more than most people think. Members of the LGBTQ community are flaunting their rainbows more than ever now that their culture is becoming more accepted in liberal society and fighting battles with political leaders for their human rights.
There are gay clubs like South 29 in Greenville, PRIDE parades, womanless pageants, and events featuring Drag Queens (inspired by Ru Paul’s Drag Race) that people (straight and LGBTQ) can go to for entertainment and support.
A student, Chris Cooper, also known by the alias Princess Mocha, is a drag queen at South 29.
“Being a drag queen at 29 is fabulous! I can be someone else and show many different sides of me! People come from all over just to see my shows! I’m 19, a 2nd degree black belt, I major in commercial music. I opened up to my mom and she was very accepting! My grandparents are homophobes and aren’t supportive of me in drag at all or even being gay,” Cooper said.
In our country, interracial marriage was not legalized until the case of Loving v. Virginia and even today some people do not support it. Why not let LGBTQ members marry? It is a human right for everyone. However, the fight goes on. Religion is used to condemn members of the gay community to justify for the hate crimes that are committed against their human rights.
Recently, in South Carolina, Garry Smith proposed funding cuts for College of Charleston and USC Upstate because of the book choice for their freshman reading program: “Fun Home” and “Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio”. The books weren’t meant to force people to agree with ideals of the gay community. It was meant to open eyes and challenge people to understand the world of the gay community, now that their culture is growing. As a result, Representative Garry Smith received an outraged backlash from student bodies, faculty, and alumni for his proposed funding cut two accredited universities.
“I was very disappointed to hear about the book being discontinued, I feel people need to be able to read about our culture just the same as all others! I wish for people to be more open! The more people that truly understand us, the more people will realize that we are just equal!” Cooper stated.
USC Upstate students, the PREFACE event committee, and faculty members found ways to fight back. Dr. Merri Johnson, director of the Women and Gender Studies program at Upstate ran a campaign, inspired by the “I Need Feminism Because…” campaign, that advocates government officials to release their control over student education, stop censoring the voices of the gay community, and hurting progressive colleges. The photos can be found on Facebook on the Women’s and Gender Studies at USC Upstate page.
On Change.org, a student, Tabatha Holmes began a petition to petition the South Carolina State Legislature for the funding cut that was proposed. The petition statement says: Funding should not be cut for a school which is promoting acceptance of diversity. This book illuminates an important part of the state’s history. It is morally corrupt for legislators to withhold funding in an attempt to dictate academic agendas.
It is morally corrupt to withhold funding from a book program at an accredited institution of education to dictate the academic agendas of all students. It is a violation of educational and human rights in the state of South Carolina.
From the stand point of a member of the gay community, it hurts those inflicted by the ignorance and hate people set upon them.
“Being stared at by people on the street just knowing that the person behind those eyes hate you is really painful,” Cooper added.
The result of the campaigns and protesting reveals that there are many supporters of equality who believe that education should not be censored just because others do not agree. This is a democracy, not a dictatorship…no one should dictate what cannot be taught. Everyone is granted to acquire knowledge.