Issues such as lesbians and gay men serving openly in the military, same-sex marriage and the inclusion of sexual orientation in anti-discrimination and hate crime laws have evolved along with the rival progay and anitgay communities. As a result of public policy debates, the U. S. progay movement has moved toward an essentialist, non-sexual identity while traditionalists have shifted toward a secular public self-representation. This book analyzes the internal disagreements within the two movements.

Antagonistic Construction of Identity and Conflict

Antagonistic construction of identity and conflict

The clash of appeals summarized in the previous chapter forms the surface of a more fundamental contest of representation in which traditionalists and progay advocates strategically construct themselves, their relationships to their antagonists, and their position in the public sphere. These contests of representation provide the structure for the variant sexuality issue culture. We will argue that both progays and antigays seek to cast their opponents in the worst light and themselves in the most favorable. What emerges, then, is what Smith (1994) describes as a “competition for legitimation and normalization through [which] the fundamentally political strategy of representation brings competing claims into a mutually subversive battle” (p. 93). Note, for instance, that embedded ...

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