Is Gay the New Black? An Intersectional Perspective on Social Movement Rhetoric in California’s Proposition 8 Debate
Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies
This essay charts a critical intersectional rhetoric as a means for understanding the articulation of a Civil Rights Movement (CRM) analogy in marriage equality campaigns. Analyzing the campaign against Proposition 8, California's version of the Defense of Marriage Act, I argue that the use of such analogizing elides difference, prevents meaningful and complex conversations about power and oppression, and makes visible the material intersectional tensions between and among communities of color and gay and lesbian communities and how these discourses further marginalize those that identify as queer people of color. Through criticism of campaign commercials, movement strategy, and the protest rhetoric after the proposition passed, I argue that CRM analogy discourse historicizes racism, privileges white gay identities, and exacerbates divisions that prevent coalition building.
Critical Rhetoric, Intersectionality, Gay Marriage, Civil Rights Rhetoric, Proposition 8
Michelle Kelsey Kearl (2015).
Is Gay the New Black? An Intersectional Perspective on Social Movement Rhetoric in California’s Proposition 8 Debate. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies.12 (1), 63-82.