Vermont cartoonist Alison Bechdel has had an exhilarating decade. Her 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic was a bestseller. In 2014 she became a MacArthur fellow, and Fun Home was made into a musical that won five Tony Awards last year. Oh, and Bechdel got married last year, too.
Today, a Reuters story (as reported on joemygod.com) heaps more accolades on Fun Home from an unexpected source: U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. According to the story, Power took 15 fellow ambassadors from countries around the world to see the Broadway show as part of an effort to promote LGBT rights. She told Reuters that the lesbian coming-of-age story “brings home the challenges that LGBTI are facing every day around the world.”
Some of the ambassadors represent countries where homosexuality is illegal and lesbian, gay and transgender individuals are punished, imprisoned or even killed. The Reuters story states that being gay is a crime in “at least 75 countries.” It went on to note that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has been a strong advocate for LGBT rights — including recognizing the same-sex marriages of UN staffers and granting them benefits. His efforts have met with opposition from delegates from Arab, African and Muslim countries, along with Russia and China.
It’s impossible to know how a Broadway musical or graphic memoir — or U.S. LGBT policy — can stand up to that kind of resistance, and the Reuters piece doesn’t report comments from the ambassadors in attendance. But Power spoke to the Fun Home cast after the production, telling them, “Thank you for bringing this all home in a way that resolutions and statements never can.”
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