Progay/antigay: the rhetorical war over sexuality
Sage Publications, Feb 10, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 240 pages
Combining humanistic rhetorical criticism with social scientific concepts, Ralph R. Smith and Russel R. Windes examine how the discourse of the progay/antigay debate shapes the self-understanding and strategies of the two opposing sides.
The struggle over issues such as lesbians and gay men serving openly in the military, same-sex marriage, and inclusion of "sexual orientation" in anti-discrimination and hate crime laws have evolved along with the development of rival progay and traditionalist antigay communities. In the process of presenting their arguments to the wider society, the two sides exercise extraordinary influence on each other. As a result of the public policy debates, the progay movement has moved toward an essentialist, non-sexual identity, while the traditionalists have shifted toward a secular public self-representation. Progay/Antigay also analyzes the internal disagreements within the two movements.
The same-sex marriage debate illustrates important dimensions of the contest over sexuality. The authors examine rhetorical strategy and counter-strategy in this specific institutional context. Progay/Antigay also discusses how the study of the variant sexuality issue provides the opportunity to assess paths for reconciliation and to judge concepts of political pluralism and multiculturalism.
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In contrast, gay/lesbian discourse consists of efforts to make sexual difference
visible in the public sphere, to refute antigay appeals, and to justify public policy
favorable to lesbians and gay men. Chapter 3 explains our understanding of this
For traditionalists, the desideratum is homosexual invisibility in the public sphere.
Discrimination against homosexuals is framed as reasonable and advisable, and
government action to protect homosexuals is condemned as unnecessary and ...
Habermas, for instance, assumes that the public sphere receives subjects from
the private sphere whose identities are fully formed and settled (Calhoun, 1994b,
p. 23). Many rhetorical critics are Habermasian in presuming that collective actors
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Emergence of the Variant Sexuality Issue Culture
Analysis of Communication in Contests
Appeals in Progay and Traditionalist Discourses
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