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‘Colors of the Rainbow’ shares voices of Furman’s LGBTQIA+ community

Scott Henderson

Last updated June 8, 2023

By Tina Underwood

In “Colors of the Rainbow: Voices from Furman University’s LGBTQIA+ Community,” edited by Furman University’s A. Scott Henderson, 16 contributors, all with Furman ties, share their stories via poetry, visual art, works of fiction and essays through the LGBTQIA+ lens.

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Henderson said the anthology, which represents a diverse span of voices, is an important vehicle for acknowledging the supportive environment that exists on campus for the community, especially in light of political attacks waged against LGBTQ+ people in recent years.

Image of a book cover, black text on a white background.

“Colors of the Rainbow”

The collection has already garnered praise, Henderson said. And for many of the contributors, it’s the first time they’ve seen their name in print. For others, it represents a welcome foray into creative versus academic endeavors. Overall, he said, “They’ve been excited and pleased with the reactions from readers because in most cases, these are pieces that come from the very core of their beings.”

Henderson points to a poem contributed by K. C. Cox, a transgender man who is a custodian in Facilities Services. In “Transparent,” Cox writes, “What you see is who I am, and I am what you see.” Likewise, other faculty members, students, staff and alumni fill the pages with their individual and deeply personal struggles, victories, film and music reviews, and other narratives couched in humor, humility, strength and vulnerability.

Henderson hopes readers will come away with a couple of messages from “Colors.” The first, “Furman has a vibrant LGBTQ+ community. We are here and very much affirmed,” he said, noting the cohort thrives in the Deep South at a university formerly affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.

Second, Henderson hopes readers get a sense of the many hues that make up the LGBTQ+ population and the arc of perspectives represented in the collection.

“It’s not a monolithic community,” he said. “It’s diverse in terms of gender expression, sexual orientation, race, age and socioeconomic status.”

Henderson, who came out 43 years ago, believes the book is liberating, not only for its contributors, but perhaps also for those who pick it up.

“Some of the contributors have not been out for very long, so they know what it’s been like for a certain part of their lives having to hide their true or real selves,” Henderson said. “I think it’s cathartic whenever you have the chance to be your authentic self.”

Available through Amazon, Fiction Addiction, and Furman’s bookstore, the book extends an invitation, penned by Henderson himself:

“If emotions can be conveyed through movement, then these selections are a dance, a dance of hard-earned joy. The words and images that fill these pages are testaments to resilience and determination, refusals to give up or give in. Above all else, they depict a community that has abandoned fear, replacing it with courage, hope and affirmation. We invite readers to join in that dance.”

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