In Out of Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa, Ashley Currier explores the inner workings of LGBT movements as they target state and social change. She shows that LGBT organizations navigate their visibility, remaining acutely aware of the audiences that they engage and the contexts in which they operate—a phenomenon that will resonate with many LGBT people on a personal level. Beyond the “visibility matters” assertion present in much social movement research, which has treated the concept as an attribute of movement relevance, Currier demonstrates how—depending on time and place—movements consciously use both visibility and invisibility strategies. She argues that visibility matters to movements in a variety of ways. It enhances the movement’s social and political relevance and the activists’ ability to disseminate demands and ideas. Visibility also offers movements the credibility necessary for improving their standing with the target audiences they wish to influence (p. 1). At the same time, invisibility can also be good for movements when (a) “political circumstances become hostile to organized resistance” and (b) “activists must withdraw from public visibility to respond to internal crises” (p. 1). The cases of Namibia and South Africa provide the appropriate foil with which to make these claims, since Currier’s rich ethnographic work demonstrates that organizational strategies had varied trajectories in these countries. Continue reading →
While others have analyzed the political message of the song to conclude it as barely more than straight “rappers” heralding the assimilationist agenda of HRC, I look around my current rural state of Arkansas and can’t help but wonder- can we understand the Grammy Weddings to be a political tactic or are they merely feeding the pocketbooks of already-mega-rich pop stars? Continue reading →
Christian author John Shore and LGBT-positive non-profit organization Truth Wins Out have recently launched the Not All Like That (NALT) project with author/activist/one-man web presence Dan Savage’s enthusiastic support. The term “NALT” is, in fact, borrowed from Savage who has referred to LGBT-affirming Christians as “NALT Christians.” Savage’s support is notable because the campaign is modeled after the It Gets Better Project, started in 2010 by Savage and his partner Terry Miller, where people would upload videos of themselves encouraging LGBT teens to stay resilient in the face of bullying and harassment to YouTube. It Gets Better, while not without criticism, has been highly visible, spawning messages from politicians and celebrities, videos from all over the world, and even a tour. The NALT project is seeking to capitalize on this model by creating a forum for LGBT-positive religious people to upload their own videos, letting LGBT people know that, as the young woman in the video below demonstrates, they’re “not all like that.”
I was camping over spring break when I used my smartphone to log onto Facebook and post some photos. As I scrolled down through my feed, I noticed that a number of people had changed their profile photos to the now iconic Human Rights Campaign (HRC) logo.
Having been digitally disconnected for a few days, I asked my partnerwhat it was, and he said that it was in support of the marriage equality case being heard in front of the Supreme Court (SCOTUS). As a social media and social movement scholar, I was intrigued by all of the permutations of the image, similar to other Internet memes of social movement moments, such as that of the UC Davis pepper spraying.
My wife and I lived in California during Proposition 8. We got married before the vote, “just in case,” although I swore (clearly ignorantly) that a state wouldn’t vote to take an already extended right away from its people. We saw our share of “Save Marriage” bumper stickers, but I was unshaken until the election proved me wrong. Then, I was filled with pure rage; a sense of utter gall that someone else would vote about my marriage.
Obviously marriage is a political and social institution, blah blah blah. I am used to hearing both sides of the argument and even courting both sides in classes. But, when you are married and there is a vote affecting the validity of your own marriage, it feels very personal. Continue reading →
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