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The spring 2011 edition of Fusion, an LGBT campus magazine at Kent State University, was refused publication by three separate printing companies because it featured profanity and men in female clothing.

Ohio based printers Freeport Press Inc., Hess Print Solutions and Davis Graphic Communication Solutions each told Fusion editors that they would have to change their content if they wanted to the companies to print their material. Freeport has been printing Fusion for many years now and this is the first time they’ve refused to publish the magazine. Past issues of the magazine have included risque photos of gay men and women and has also used profanity on several occasions. However,  now that the story has hit the media Freeport is claiming they shouldn’t have published any issues of Fusion in the first place.

This specific issue focuses heavily on issues that surround the transgender community, with the cover and a large section of the magazine featuring pictures of transgender individuals. Many are calling this three very distinct cases of discrimination based in transphobia.

Here’s an excerpt from Campus Progress‘ report on the attempted censorship:

The controversy has cost Fusion, Campus Progress’ 2010 awardee for Best Overall Publication, more than $2,000, its editor says, as well as substantial effort as students try to release the issue before the school year ends next week.

One company after another turned Fusion down before a fourth printer agreed to take the issue to press.

“We are very surprised that it happened more than once,” says Raytevia Evans, the editor of Fusion and a first-year journalism and mass communications graduate student at Kent State.

The controversial magazine issue includes an eight-page spread featuring cross-dressing models, with the headline “Gender Fuck’d” written in large print above. Because the issue has not yet been released, Fusion requested that Campus Progress withhold posting the controversial content.

The three Ohio-based printing companies that rejected Fusion in its final form—Freeport Press Inc. in Freeport, Hess Print Solutions in Brimfield, and Davis Graphic Communication Solutions in Bamberton—cited similar reasons for refusing to publish the magazine.

“We actually asked them to adjust the content of Fusion based on the f-word and on what we’re calling some graphic material, which involved some pictures of genitalia, and we’re just not comfortable producing that type of content,” says David Pilcher, vice president of sales and marketing at Freeport Press, the first company that refused to print the issue without editorial changes. “It’s not that we are trying to perform any censorship here.”

The photo in question depicts a man wearing a leotard. A bulge is noticeable around his genitals.

Freeport has been Fusion’s publisher for several years, even as the magazine published a spread in its spring 2010 issue depicting underwear-clad men kissing intimately. Freeport also published the word “fuck” at least three times in two previous issues of Fusion, released fall 2009 and winter 2011.

Click here if you want to read the whole article. It includes responses from Hess Print Solutions and Davis Graphic Communication Solutions as well, both equally ridiculous.

After Campus Progress broke their story about the three discriminatory printers Wednesday (Arpil 27),  a fourth company, Printing Concepts in Stow, Ohio, stepped in to save the day. It looks like Fusion editors will be able to get the magazine out before Kent State’s student leave campus for the summer. Here’s a statement that was released by Printing Concepts on Thursday:

Printing Concepts advocates freedom of speech and the extension of that right to all persons or organizations. They accepted the Fusion project based on this Constitutional right. As a business philosophy, Printing Concepts maintains that they do not judge the artistic, literary, or political content of their clients’ work, unless that content advocates violence or harm to others.

You can view Fusion‘s full spring 2011 issue HERE.


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