Flap At Texas School
365Gay.com from the Web, September 30, 2005
Austin, TX -- The movie won
the highest award at the Venice Film Festival and kudos at the Toronto
International Film Festival and now the short story on which Brokeback Mountain
is based is on the reading list at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, but
not without a fight that cost the school $3 million.
Brokeback Mountain was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Proulx and
appeared in the Oct. 13, 1997, issue of The New Yorker magazine. It was
then incorporated in a collection of Proulx's short stories, titled "Close
Range." The book is on the school's reading list at St. Andrew's Upper
The story is of two cowboys who meet in Wyoming and fall in love. They
split up and one marries. Then years later they are reunited.
The tale had some parents complaining to the school about the gay content of the
book. But the biggest controversy centered around one family: the
McNairs one of the biggest financial supporters of St. Andrew's.
The family had pledged $3 million to the school, and was demanding that the book
be removed from the approved grade 12 reading list.
The school's board met, discussed the book with educators, and then told the
family to keep their money.
"St. Andrew's has a policy not to accept conditional gifts, whether it's $5 or
$500,000," school spokesperson Bill Miller told the Austin American Statesman.
"When the McNair family looked at their gift in a conditional manner, then the
school could not accept it."
St. Andrew's is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. It opened in 1952
and has more than 750 students.
Ironically this is Banned Book Week across the country and librarians,
booksellers and publishers nationwide used it to draw attention to attacks on
gay and lesbian-themed books.
Three of the 10 books on the “Ten Most Challenged Books of 2004,” compiled by
the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom, were cited for
LGBT themes — the highest number in a decade.