Progay/Antigay: The Rhetorical War Over Sexuality
Sage Publications, Feb 3, 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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Thus, when Harry Hay and a small band of other Southern California gay men
launched the Mattachine Society in 1951, neither the larger society nor even
other homosexuals were responsive to their message (Loughery, 1998, p. 220).
The Mattachine Society was soon joined by a number of other homo- phile
organizations. In 1952, activists who resented the assimilationist takeover of the
Mattachine Society founded ONE Magazine which soon spun off One, Inc. and its
The Mattachine Society's founders "pioneered in conceiving homosexuals as an
oppressed minority" (p. 58). This position was opposed by a strong assimilationist
faction which took the position that gay and straight people are identical to one ...
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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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