Last week, the conservative organization Palmetto Family criticized the College of Charleston’s choice of a book that it distributed to freshman students because it includes drawings of nudity and “promot[es] that lifestyle” of the book’s lesbian author. Palmetto Family did not, however, voice opposition to the choice of USC Upstate’s freshman reading program: Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, a collection of essays from the AM radio show for gay and lesbian Southern voices that has been on the air since 2005.

The book, edited by pastor-author Candace-Chellew Hodge and poet-professor Ed Madden, is this year’s selection for USC Upstate’s Preface program. First-year students will read the book in English 101 and University 101 courses, and related events are planned on the campus. The Preface website explains how the book fits the program’s goals:

Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio is an especially appropriate text in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on homosexual marriage and the constitutional rights involved therein. The events in the Preface series are designed to improve our understanding of the book and help us think in depth about the questions it raises.

Previous Preface selections have included How Does it Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.

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