Celebrating Women – Alison Bechdel, an American cartoonist and author

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Alison Bechdel at the Boston Book Festival

Logan James, Staff Reporter

During Women’s History Month, all women should be celebrated. However Alison Bechdel deserves special recognition because she is a talented cartoonist who advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. Not only is it difficult being a woman cartoonist but being part of the LGBTQ+ community and a woman is twice as difficult.

She was born on September 10th,1960 in  Pennsylvania, in a small town called Lock Haven to Helen Augusta and Bruce Allen Bechdel. She was raised as a Roman Catholic. Her parents were both teachers, and her father also happened to be a part-time funeral director. 

Tragically, in 1979 when she was only 19 years old and just a few months after she had come out to her parents as a lesbian, her father was killed in a serious car accident with a truck. She later theorized it was an act of suicide, but no one really knows for sure. 

“I suppose that a lifetime spent hiding one’s erotic truth could have a cumulative renunciatory effect. Sexual shame is in itself a kind of death,” she said in Fun Home about her father.

In 1982, she graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. A few years later, in 1983,she began writing and drawing one of her most famous works, titled “Dykes to Watch Out For” which was a comic strip that ran for about 25 years and changed the gay and alternative news weeklies across the US.

In 2006, she published a graphic memoir called “Fun Home” which was a coming of age story that detailed her relationship with her parents, more specifically her father who was believed to be a closeted gay man who had an obsessive eye for decorative detail. She also explained her experience with her own emerging lesbian consciousness. 

The amazing work was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and it won the Eiser (which is the most prestigious award  in the comics industry) for best reality based work. It was later(in 2013) was brought to the stage in the form of a musical which took home a string of awards in it’s off-Broadway run. In 2014,it was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. 

Fun Home is a daring, beautiful and raw examination of a woman’s coming of age. The courage she shows in this adventurous and witty memoir deserves loads of praise,” said Mrs. Carolyne Dymond, an English teacher at NHS.

She was married in February 2004 to Amy Rubin, but they later divorced because all same-sex marriage licenses in San Francisco were voided by the California Supreme Court. So they separated in 2006. 

Bechdel went to live with a new person, who she later married. Their name was Holly Rae Taylor, a painter. They dated for 7 and half years and married in July 2015. They live in Bolton, Vermont with their female cat named Donald, named after British psychoanalyst Donald Winnico