By AATTP contributing author Sky Palma
Surprisingly, the University of Tennessee has made the decision to cancel funding for a program designed to educate students about sexual health after a Fox News contributor claimed that the school was giving the money to a “lesbian bondage” expert.
Fox radio host Todd Starnes warned last week that the university was investing $20,000 on a six day “Sex Week” that included events like “Loud and Queer” and a workshop on oral sex called “How Many Licks Does It Take.”
Starnes pointed out that author Sinclair Sexsmith, who runs the “Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top” website, would be conducting a poetry workshop about sexuality.
Starnes seemed fixated on the fact that Sexsmith was an “expert in sexuality and leather,” even though she released a statement saying she would “not be engaging in lesbian bondage demonstrations.”
But Starnes’ inflammatory headline, “University of Tennessee Uses Student Fees to Host Lesbian Bondage Expert,” caught the attention of various Christian groups and Tennessee Republican Senator Stacey Campfield , who threatened to reconsider the university’s budget over Sex Week.
“We are not talking about health and safety to do a drag show. What are these issues so important for?” Campfield said in a report for WATE.
“This is not something that the parents sent their kids to school to learn, this is not even close, we have some serious issues going on at the University of Tennessee.”
After the broadcast, the school relented and promised not to use state funds for the event.
“We support the process and the students involved, but we should not use state funds in this manner,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said in a statement.
However, Sex Week organizer Haslam Scholar Brianna Rader promised that the event would still take place.
“We felt pretty blindsided,” Rader explained in a piece by Metro Pulse. “Despite the controversy, the administration was still pretty positive about it earlier this week.”
“This whole thing makes it more important to do this. People are getting upset about college kids talking about sex education? This sounds made up. This sounds like we’re in a movie,” she said. “It was a cowardly move, and I’m disappointed in them.”
Watch the WATE broadcast in the video below.
For more of Sky’s work, check out his blog DeadState