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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Reinforcement of masculinity and protection of children from corruptive influence
are salient themes in traditionalist discourse which defends the family. In his
analysis of religious books on family life, political scientist Michael Lienesch (
To defend traditional culture, antigays must enter the civic arena with secular
arguments to defend language against corruption and to prevent authoritarian
government from destroying morality. This description of how antagonistic
In similar vein, Senator Boxer argued that Congress should defend marriage
through positive action by passing legislation such as the Parental Leave Act
rather than engaging in a "preemptive strike on a proposal that doesn't exist" (
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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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