Since coming out as at the age of 19, graphic novelist Alison Bechdel has made it a point to be open about her sexuality.
It was a decision she made consciously as a reaction to her father – who was gay and closeted – who sadly died four months after Bechdel came out.
Talking Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross, Bechdel says
In many ways my life, my professional career has been a reaction to my father’s life, his life of secrecy. I threw myself into the gay community, into this life as a lesbian cartoonist, deciding I was going to be a professional lesbian. In a way, that was all my way of healing myself.”
Also read: ‘My Old Flame’ by Alison Bechdel
In 2006, Bechdel’s “healing” took the form of a graphic novel called Fun Home, in which she details her own coming out, and how she grappled with her father’s death, which she suspects may have been a suicide.
Fun Home has since been turned into a Broadway play, which recently won five Tony Awards, including the award for best musical.
Bechdel says seeing her life story put to music was a visceral experience:
I was kind of blown away. I was not at all prepared to hear the music. … It was much more emotional than I had been anticipating.”
Listen to her interview below, where Fun Home lyricist Lisa Kron and composer Jeanine Tesori join Bechdel in a conversation about the play.