Selling Homosexuality To America
Quote: «Truth is not the issue. The issue is power.»
Among America's culture wars, one of today's most intense controversies rages around the issue alternatively identified, depending on one's point of view, as "normalizing homosexuality" or "accepting gayness." The debate is truly a social-ethical-moral conceptual war that transcends both the scientific and legal, though science and law most often are the weapons of choice. The ammunition for these weapons, however, is persuasion.
This article explores how gay rights3 activists use rhetoric, psychology, social psychology, and the media - all the elements of modern marketing - to position homosexuality in order to frame what is discussed in the public arena and how it is discussed. In essence, when it comes to homosexuality, activists want to shape "what everyone knows" and "what everyone takes for granted" even if everyone does not really know and even if it should not be taken for granted.4
The first strategy of persuasion is to establish a favorable climate for your message so that the communicator (marketer) can influence the future decision without even appearing to be persuading. Pratkanis and Aronson refer to this as pre-selling.5 This is at the heart of the homosexual campaign: to get consent via social construct today to determine whose idea of personal freedoms will prevail in our legal codes tomorrow.
Part II of this article provides a brief overview of the social climate and politics that ultimately led to the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) imprimatur of homosexual behavior. The declassification of homosexuality as a disorder by the APA provides context for the propaganda war proposed by Kirk and Madsen's homosexual manifesto fifteen years later. The section ends by reviewing the main elements of the campaign including the call to specifically discredit, intimidate, and silence opponents with particular attention paid to conservative Christians.
Part III presents the connection between persuasion and democratic processes. Rhetoric, persuasive communication, propaganda, and social psychology theories are foundational to the concept of selling homosexuality as presented in this article. The purpose of this section is to provide a greater understanding of why persuasion works in order to strengthen the later discussion of how it is applied in the mass persuasion techniques evidenced in today's "gay rights"-style marketing.
Part IV moves to the "4-P's" of the traditional marketing paradigm - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion - to deconstruct and to illustrate how homosexuality is packaged and sold as a competitive product in the marketplace often through education6 and through positive media coverage. "What is pitched is different - a product brand versus an issue - but the method is the same. In each case, the critical thing is not to let the public know how it is done,"7 states Tammy Bruce, a self-described lesbian feminist and ex-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women.8
Part V presents several real examples of how this strategy is employed in five important markets of social influence. The areas examined, which touch every citizen in America, are government, education, organized religion, the media, and the workplace.
Part VI concludes by recapping some achievements of the gay rights campaign and discussing what these may portend for their opponents and American society in the future.
II. Getting Here from There
A. Kinsey to the APA Victory of 1973
A basic understanding of how the social definition of homosexuality has seen change over the course of this century is important. Homosexuality was considered criminal under the law and evil by the church. Homosexuals were rescued by the medical establishment when the condition was "medicalized" early in the 1900s and redefined as a pathological condition, a disease. Then, beginning in the 1950s, scientific and political forces converged.9
Until Alfred Kinsey claimed that the large majority of Americans had homosexual interests and John D. Rockefeller's empire marketed Kinsey's voluminous Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) studies10 five decades ago, few ever spoke of homosexuality in public let alone as a public possibility. It certainly was not "O.K. to be gay" openly in America.
Even so, several years after the Kinsey bombshells, the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry (GAP), an organization of esteemed physicians founded by the noted psychiatrist William C. Menninger, still defined homosexuality as a treatable disease, a sexual perversion, and as psychological (not biological) in nature.11
As late as 1960, all fifty states maintained laws criminalizing sodomy. In 1963 the New York Academy of Medicine Committee on Public Health, restated that not only was homosexuality a disease (disorder), "some homosexuals have gone beyond the plane of defensiveness and now argue that deviancy is a 'desirable, noble, preferable way of life.'"12 In 1970, it was estimated that 84 % of Americans agreed homosexuality was a "social corruption."13 In fact, far from homosexuality being considered just a social aberration, it was still officially defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder.
Years of disruptive homosexual protests at APA annual conferences, some openly backed by the Gay Liberation Front, and aggressive internal homosexual activism finally changed all that in 1973.14 This political and non-scientific decision was "simply the opening phase of a war with normality. It was part of a two-phase sexual radicalization, the second phase being the raising of homosexuality to the level of an alternative lifestyle."15 It appears that this war analogy is justified. The success of the effort to neutralize the APA's disapproval gave the homosexual movement just the weapon they needed for the campaign we see today.
B. Sans Facts, Logic, or Proof
1. The Need for War
"In February 1988, a 'war conference' of 175 leading gay activists, representing organizations from across the land, convened in Warrenton, Virginia, (near Washington, D.C.) to establish a four-point agenda for the gay movement."16 After that meeting, Harvard-trained social scientists and homosexual activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen wrote a homosexual manifesto that proposed "[d]ismissing the movement's outworn techniques in favor of carefully calculated public relations propaganda ... lay[ing] groundwork for the next stage of the gay revolution, and its ultimate victory over bigotry."17
The strategies they promulgated are best understood by peering into the authors' shared fundamental belief: "Any society that flatly denies the fact that one or two citizens in every ten have strong homosexual interests, and structures its laws and values around this denial, is, to this extent, seriously ill."18 Driven by a worldview of victimization, the need for revolution and the establishment of a cultural identity, their strategy was unabashed and blunt: manipulate and control public discourse in order to unite and legitimate one group even at the expense of others.
The war goal was to force acceptance of homosexual culture into the mainstream, to silence opposition, and ultimately to convert American society. This "stunningly systematic and controversial blueprint ... of carefully calculated public relations propaganda,"19 has value as a template to guide discussion of how the homosexual movement20 hopes to achieve social power and codify homosexual behavior as a right.
Warfare-type tactics are espoused to counter such evils as "homohatred" from being induced in children at an early age, even children who later turn out to be homosexual. People who dissent based on faith are defined as religious homohaters. Heterosexuals and even homosexuals who do not tow the gay rights line are also the enemy. Both are labeled as gay homophobes21 who place "the needs of their own cowardice above the reputations and even the lives of millions of others, a failing of the ethical test of life so great that if the [Christian] fundamentalists are even half right they'll go straight to hell."22
2. Desensitize, Jam, and Convert
The extensive three-stage strategy to Desensitize, Jam and Convert the American public is reminiscent of George Orwell's premise of goodthink and badthink in 1984.23 As Kirk and Madsen put it, "To one extent or another, the separability - and manipulability - of the verbal label is the basis for all the abstract principles underlying our proposed campaign."24
Desensitization is described as inundating the public in a "continuous flood of gay-related advertising, presented in the least offensive fashion possible. If straights can't shut off the shower, they may at least eventually get used to being wet."25 But, the activists did not mean advertising in the usual marketing context but, rather, quite a different approach: "The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome."26 They add, "[S]eek desensitization and nothing more... [I]f you can get [straights] to think [homosexuality] is just another thing - meriting no more than a shrug of the shoulders - then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won."27 This planned hegemony is a variant of the type that Michael Warren describes in Seeing Through the Media where it "is not raw overt coercion; it is one group's covert orchestration of compliance by another group through structuring the consciousness of the second group."28
"Jamming makes use of the rules of Associative Conditioning ... and Direct Emotional Modeling. (...) ... [T]he bigot need not actually be made to believe ... that others will now despise him ... [r]ather, our effect is achieved without reference to facts, logic, or proof ... [W]hether he is conscious of the attack or not. Indeed, the more he [the bigot] is distracted by any incidental, even specious, surface arguments, the less conscious he'll be of the true nature of the process - which is all to the good."29
Jamming is psychological terrorism meant to silence expression of or even support for dissenting opinion. According to one knowledgeable source, "Dr. Laura is only the most visible victim of this new assault on free speech and thought."30
The final stage, Conversion, means the "conversion of the average American's emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media." With Conversion, the bigot is shown images of "his crowd actually associating with gays in good fellowship."31 The alleged bigot "is repeatedly exposed to literal picture/label pairs ... of gays ... carefully selected to look either like the bigot and his friends, or like any one of his other stereotypes of all right guys."32
Another tactic is to claim that famous historical figures were homosexual. This associates homosexuals with positive images (symbols) just like advertisers use celebrity endorsements.
"Famous historical figures are considered especially useful to us for two reasons: first, they are invariably dead as a doornail, hence in no position to deny the truth and sue for libel. Second, and more serious, the virtues and accomplishments that make these historic gay figures admirable cannot be gain said or dismissed by the public, since high school history textbooks have already set them in incontrovertible cement."33
The negative variant is to portray all detractors as victimizers by pairing them with negative images (symbols) of "[k]lansmen demanding that gays be slaughtered[,] ... [h]ysterical backwoods preachers[,] ... [m]enacing punks[,] ... [and a] tour of Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed."34 In essence, they use positive or negative icons (symbols) and not the actual words for their persuasive message.35
3. Dust Off the Unholy Alliance
Perhaps the most menacing focus of the campaign is the special treatment reserved for the religious dissenters. The strategy is to "[j]am homohatred by linking it to Nazi horror."36
"Most contemporary hate groups on the Religious Right will bitterly resent the implied connection between homohatred and Nazi fascism. But since they can't defend the latter, they'll end up having to distance themselves by insisting that they would never go to such extremes. Such declarations of civility toward gays, of course, set our worst detractors on the slippery slope toward recognition of fundamental gay rights."37
"... [Furthermore] gays can undermine the moral authority of homohating churches over less fervent adherents by portraying ... [them] as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step ... with the latest findings of psychology. Against the atavistic tug of Old Time Religion one must set the mightier pull of Science and Public Opinion ... Such an 'unholy' alliance has already worked well in America against the churches, on such topics as divorce and abortion ... [T]hat alliance can work for gays."38
Although some might label such virulent persuasion tactics as antisocial, the form of government that we enjoy has persuasion at its roots.
III. Persuasion, Society, and Democracy
The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome are often considered the cradle of modern Western democracies. In Greece, a direct democracy, decisions were made through serious public discussion and open debate. Hence, the ability to personally persuade others to accept one's point of view was an essential skill. The Sophists filled the demand (marketplace) for the teaching of this public speaking skill called rhetoric.39
When Rome later arose as a representative republic,40 "[p]ower was very often exercised not through bottom line legalities but through the persuasiveness and force of argument of particular office holders or assemblies."41 The Roman marketplace now required not only teachers but also professional persuaders for hire. Sophists were reborn as lawyers and lawmakers.
Modern America is very much like the Roman Republic. Romans were primarily interested in the practical uses of the art of persuasion just as Americans are immersed in advertising and spin doctoring - "[l]ess interested in ... absolute truth and more interested in what 'works.'"42 Therefore, those that most influence society today, from lawyers to lawmakers, lobbyists to marketers, descend from the sophists, the experts in rhetoric and the artists of persuasion.
Modern rhetorician Richard M. Weaver "was a champion of conservative ... ideas."43 "One of the mainstays of conservative thought is a concern for values. Weaver felt that American culture was losing many values worth preserving."44 These very same concepts underlie the resistance by society at large to affirmation of the homosexual community. The homosexual movement is formed and driven in that conflict.
Weaver's book, Ideas Have Consequences, has been described as "a profound diagnosis of the sickness of our culture."45 Certainly, this diagnosis is a common argument in opposition to homosexuality. Weaver's defense of language as the touchstone to enduring human values and universal truths is recurring and central to the conception of the role of rhetoric.
Weaver describes four ways to interpret a subject rhetorically: "define its nature"; "place it in a cause-and-effect relationship"; interpret it "in terms of relationship of similarity and dissimilarity"; or interpret it "by credit of testimony or authority."46
The gay rights movement draws upon this strategy in the hope of reshaping American society and laws. Recall Kirk and Madsen's candid admission that, "[T]he separability - and manipulability - of the verbal label is the basis for all the abstract principles underlying our proposed campaign."47
The current debate, then, is framed differently by both sides. Is homosexual behavior normal or abnormal? Are the maladies commonly associated with the homosexual condition (depression, AIDS, suicide, cancer) caused by the behavior itself or society's reaction to it? Are homosexuals just the same as heterosexuals? Should science or society determine the acceptability of "gayness"?
If history repeats itself, the point of view that holds sway in America's courts will first hold sway in the minds and hearts of individual citizens, judges, and lawmakers. And the heart and mind of society is the target market that the gay rights campaign means to capture in order to win the courts.
B. Modern Persuasion Theory: The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)
1. Credibility of the ELM
"Persuasion is the essence of marketing ... "48 and the "Elaboration Likelihood Model of persuasion has emerged in the last decade as a central focus of research on communication and persuasion."49 The ELM is the most comprehensive modern theory of how persuasion works. "For a given topic and setting, the ELM has the benefit of suggesting which kinds of source descriptions would or would not have effects similar to traditional message arguments."50
2. To Think or Not to Think: Elaboration
Petty and Cacioppo theorized a framework for two relatively distinct routes to persuasion (i.e. attitude change) as the central route and the peripheral route.51 These two routes are differentiated by the level of cognitive processing undertaken (i.e. amount of conscious examination or "elaboration" of the message) by a person exposed to persuasive communication. The central route is high level processing "based on a careful and thoughtful assessment ... [The low level peripheral route] is based on some cognitive, affective, or behavioral cue."52 As underlying motivations on how each route is used, Petty and Cacioppo list seven postulates in the ELM:
- People are motivated to hold correct attitudes.
- Although people want to hold correct attitudes, the amount and nature of issue-relevant elaboration in which they are willing or able to engage to evaluate a message vary with individual and situational factors.
- Variables can affect the amount and direction of attitude change by ... affecting the extent or direction of issue and argument elaboration [i.e. cognitive effort to evaluate]
- Variables ... [have an affect] by either enhancing or reducing argument scrutiny.
- Variables affecting message processing in a relatively biased manner can produce either a positive (favorable) or negative (unfavorable) motivational and/or ability bias to issue-relevant thoughts attempted.
- As motivation and/or ability to process arguments is decreased, peripheral cues become relatively more important determinants of persuasion.
- Attitude changes that result mostly from processing issue-relevant arguments (central route) will show greater temporal persistence, greater prediction of behavior, and greater resistance to counterpersuasion ...53
Although the ELM is often graphically illustrated as two distinct routes, the theory actually describes a continuum bounded on one end by "a person's careful and thoughtful consideration of the merits of the information presented" (the central route) and on the other by no "scrutiny of the central merits of the issue-relevant information presented ([the] peripheral route),"54 but rather a reliance on cues. Persuasive communications can move the recipient to arrive at a similar final attitude by either route or by something in between.55
With the "mindless acceptance"56 of cues at the end of the continuum bounded by the peripheral route, it is put forward that any attitude change achieved via this process is more transitory and subject to counterpersuasion and counterargument. At the opposite end, "attitudes formed or changed via ... central route [processes are predicted to be more] persisten[t], [more] resistan[t], and [more] predict[ive] of behavior."57 So, although Petty and Cacioppo believe central route attitude change is "quite desirable, the ELM makes it clear that this is a difficult persuasion strategy."58 And, while they argue that "enhanced thinking produces persistence," they believe that "processing may proceed in either a relatively objective or a relatively biased manner."59
Applied to this discussion of marketing the concept of gay rights, it is noteworthy that "in targeting an attitude for change, the ELM suggests that it is more important to know something about the underlying qualities of the attitude than simply knowing if a person has an attitude or not."60 In short, knowing how to influence attitude is more important than knowing what attitude, opinion, or belief is held.
3. Which Thinking Route to Take: Variables and Moderators
Fleming and Petty make it clear that "many variables are capable of moderating the route to persuasion, either central or peripheral."61 Petty explains that moderators influence the strength or direction of a relationship. The moderator variables in the ELM (e.g. issue involvement, distraction, and need for cognition) can serve as variables "that can moderate the route to persuasion."62 For different topics, situations, and audiences the same communication sources can serve as central merits, bias the interpretation, or generate additional arguments to evaluate the persuasive communication.63
Moderators can include speaker source or credibility,64 distraction,65 strength of argument,66 personal relevance,67 the recipient's mood, and the recipient's ability or motivation to process.68 However, "[O]ne cannot place [these] variables into simple lists because, depending upon the meaning of the variable in the specific context, and the overall elaboration likelihood, variables can sometimes act as cues, sometimes act as arguments, and sometimes affect the extent or direction of elaboration."69
Homosexual strategists want lasting attitude change in society toward their behavior, but know that many people see their arguments as weak, such that a successful appeal to the central route (high processing) is unlikely. Since ELM predicts that attitude changes via the peripheral route (using cues) are less durable, gay rights activists have a different answer as to how longer lasting attitude change can still be achieved - cognitive dissonance.
4. Control Behavior, Change Attitudes: Cognitive Dissonance
Another psychosocial concept is helpful in discussing the actual marketing of homosexuality. Leon Festinger, "one of social psychology's most important theorists,"70 theorized that people hold a multitude of cognitions: beliefs, pieces of knowledge held as appropriate or true, values, memories or emotions.71 Most cognitions are irrelevant to others, such as liking the color blue but not liking hot dogs. Some are consonant, like believing in God and believing in honesty. However, an uncomfortable psychological state called cognitive dissonance sets in when people hold inconsistent (dissonant) ideas, beliefs, or opinions.72
Dissonance is a conflict of inconsistent or "nonfitting" relations among cognitions. Consonance is consistency or balance between cognitions. The magnitude of pressure to change is relational to the importance of the dissonance.73 Because there is a tendency among people to seek consistency between attitude and behavior, something must change in the case of a discrepancy to resolve the conflict and to eliminate the dissonance. There are three ways people resolve dissonance: (1) reduce the importance of the dissonant beliefs, (2) add more consonant beliefs to outweigh the dissonant beliefs, or (3) change the dissonant beliefs so they are no longer inconsistent with one another.74
When it comes to mass persuasion in the name of gay rights, two particularly important concepts from Festinger's work are applicable. The first is threshold reward/punishment. The second concept is forced compliance. Maximum dissonance, the maximum psychological need to rationalize inconsistent beliefs or replace them with new beliefs, sets in if only just enough reward/punishment is used to gain public compliance.75 Then, forced compliance occurs when, due to their environment, a person must exhibit overt behavior or the verbal expression of opinions that conflicts with privately held original beliefs.76
Perhaps counterintuitively, attitude change often follows behavioral change and not vice-versa. This explains why the gay rights movement often focuses on negative labeling (bigot, ignorant, intolerant) in the marketplace of competing ideas; a social environment is created that is unfriendly to anti-homosexual speech. Like Chinese water torture rather than brute force, only socially enforced public compliance at a minimum level, through continued application, can ultimately change the privately held attitude or belief.
Thus, to psychologically propel societal attitude change regarding homosexuality, America is deluged with pro-homosexual messages, education campaigns, positive images, and sympathetic news in the media creating an antecedent condition that can be called societal dissonance.77 "The existence of dissonance gives rise to pressures to reduce the dissonance ... Manifestations ... of these pressures include behavior changes ... and new opinions."78
IV. Marketing 101
A. Defining Marketing
1. Propaganda, Persuasion, Education and the 4 P's
It is not common practice to think of social movements in terms of marketing. Perhaps this is because using terms like "selling" or "marketing" seems to denigrate noble activities that usually portray themselves in terms of grass roots and the will of the people.79 However, the American Marketing Association defines marketing as "the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals."80
There are many variations of the definitions related to the theory of marketing but generically they all fall into one of four categories - the easy-to-remember 4-P's: product (conception), price, promotion (marketing communications), and place (distribution). Each is interrelated and each also has a persuasive function.81
The concept of product is formally defined in marketing to include all "functional, social, and psychological utilities and benefits."82 Ideas (as products) are defined as concepts, philosophies, images, or issues.83
Pricing of a product has several functions. Price is a pre-persuader. It positions the product versus the competitor. For example, "good" perfumes are expected to be more expensive; whereas, generic brands are expected to sell for less. When pricing is related to policy issues, it is often framed in terms of competing interests: the cost to the environment in drilling in pristine wilderness versus the cost to America of remaining dependent on unreliable foreign energy.
A new pricing concept called exaction pricing is introduced in this article. Rather than the mutually satisfying exchange relationships proposed in marketing theory, exaction pricing is defined as the economic or emotional price that is exacted from targeted groups for not buying the gay rights idea.
Promotion includes the different methods for getting the persuasive message to the target audience: advertising (paid persuasive messages), personal selling (which would include lobbying), publicity (working the media for positive coverage), and direct inducements.
Place is shorthand for the distribution channel (place) where consumers can buy the product.84
"Marketing communicators - as well as all persuaders (politicians, theologians, parents, teachers) - attempt to guide people toward the acceptance of some belief, attitude, or behavior by using reasoning or emotional appeals."85 And, if education is learning new ideas and information, then "every time we turn on the radio or television, every time we open a book magazine or newspaper, someone is trying to educate us."86 Therefore, marketing is rhetoric on steroids - the commercialized, technologized, and systematized application of persuasion, propaganda, or education (depending on who is doing the naming).
2. The Marketing Environment
There are five broad forces that often are considered uncontrollable: social, economic, technological, regulatory and competitive.87 However, the gay rights movement seeks to change the social and regulatory, exploit the economic and technological, and silence or convert the competition. Therein lies the brilliance and power of their marketing campaign.
In this postmodern society "[t]ruth is not the issue. The issue is power. The new [social] model[ ] 'empower[s]' groups formerly excluded,"88 and "the power to control discourse is thus the master power."89 By 1990, half of all marriages from twenty years earlier had ended in divorce, and the traditional family, and its values, did not look so traditional anymore.90
The explosion of communications technology, including the advent of Internet, allowed the homosexual movement to exploit society's changing values. It enabled a disparate homosexual community representing "less than 3 % (and perhaps less than 2 %) of the population"91 to act as a cohesive group to project persuasive power into society.
B. Conceptualizing the Product
1. Repackaging the Product: A New Identity for Homosexuality
In 1989 two strategies on how to totally repackage homosexual behavior as a rights issue were unveiled to the gay rights community.
"[F]irst, you get your foot in the door, by being as similar as possible; then, and only then - when your one little difference [orientation] is finally accepted - can you start dragging in your other peculiarities, one by one. You hammer in the wedge narrow end first. As the saying goes, [a]llow the camel's nose beneath your tent, and his whole body will soon follow."92
Pederasts, gender-benders, sado-masochists, and other minorities in the homosexual community with more extreme "peculiarities" would keep a low profile until homosexuality is in the tent. Also, common homosexual practices such as anal-oral sex, anal sex, fisting, and anonymous sex - that is to say what homosexuals actually do and with how many they do it - must never be a topic.
Rather, only strongly favorable images of homosexuals should be displayed, even "paint[ing] gay men and lesbians as superior - veritable pillars of society ... Famous historical figures are especially useful ... for two reasons: first, they are invariably dead ... hence in no position to deny the truth ... [and] high school history textbooks have already set them in incontrovertible cement."93
In other words, change the basic offer and do a marketing practitioner's job; only "provide positively valued information ... that will increase the odds of [the consumer] ultimately choosing the marketer's offering over competitive options."94 Both ELM and Weaver would refer to this as associating the right symbols with your communication.
The second strategy was even more powerful.
"[T]he public should be persuaded that gays are victims of circumstance, that they no more chose their sexual orientation than ... their height ... ([F]or all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay - even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence.) To suggest in public that homosexuality might be chosen is to open the can of worms labeled 'moral choice and sin' and give the religious right Intransigents a stick to beat us with."95
Merica takes pride in being a country where tolerance for others and individual freedom is held in high regard. It is both part of our laws and our culture. Today's homosexual marketer has properly recognized this environment and has aggressively followed these strategies in promoting the idea of "homosexuality" by directing the consumer away from the specifics of (especially male) homosexual behavior while also advertising that the choice to pursue such behavior is normal, innate, unchangeable, and prevalent. It is even healthy and desirable so it deserves protection as a right. What made such a campaign even thinkable was presaged more than fifteen years earlier.
2. Redefine Abnormal as Normal
In the early 1970s, homosexual activists unleashed a "violent and extortionary political campaign."96 Homosexual activists reasoned that if the influential American Psychiatric Association (APA) were to redefine homosexuality, other professional guilds (like the several times larger American Psychological Association) and then the rest would follow.97 When the APA leadership finally capitulated and agreed to allow the membership to consider the removal of homosexuality as a disorder, a mass mailing to 30,000 members by the pro-homosexual faction encouraged all members to agree to the change. With only one-third responding, the resolution was passed.98
"The acceptance of homosexuality by the American Psychological Association in 1973 was preceded by an unquestioning acceptance of [Dr. Alfred] Kinsey's work and under heavy political pressure by the nascent gay lobby, which recognized that to normalize homosexuality, they had to get it taken off the list of psychological disorders."99
Charles Socarides, a psychiatrist and reparative therapist who is an anathema to homosexual activists, recounted his perspective in The Journal of Human Sexuality on how the classification of homosexuality was changed in the early seventies:100
"[Homosexual activists] targeted members of the worldly priesthood,101 the psychiatric community, and neutralized them with a radical redefinition of homosexuality itself ... [T]hey co-opted the leadership of the American Psychiatric Association and, through a series of political maneuvers, ... [t]hey got the APA to say that same-sex sex was "not a disorder." It was merely "a condition" - as neutral as left-handedness."102
The much larger American Psychological Association followed suit two years later. As homosexuals predicted, over time other professional guilds from counseling to education to pediatrics accepted the lead of both APAs and de-diagnosed homosexuality as a disorder.103
What was not known at the time was that the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) played a central, though secretive, role both financially and strategically.104 The mailing by the pro-homosexual faction to the 30,000 APA members encouraging members to vote yes was apparently paid for by funds raised from a letter sent to NGTF's membership.105 Later it was also found that the Council on Research and Development of the APA did not actually investigate the issue thoroughly before it gave formal approval for deletion of homosexuality from the DSM and the Committee on Nomenclature had never formally approved the change.106
The de-classification was accomplished without the general membership ever knowing the machinations behind the scenes. This might explain why four years after the APA vote, the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality reported that a survey it conducted showed 69% psychiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosexuality a pathological adaptation.107
3. Polish the Idea
The sanitizing and repositioning of the product was not over. Few today remember that AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) was still known in the medical community as late as 1981 as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Disorder) along with other unequivocally homosexual related conditions such as "Gay-Related Bowel Syndrome." As GRID spread and the threat to the homosexual community became apparent, homosexuals mobilized against the term. However, their "first priority remained to protect homosexuality itself as a perfectly acceptable, normal and safe way of life ... So the first move in the early eighties was to eliminate the earlier name ... [P]ressure was swiftly generated to rename 'gay-related immune disorder' to AIDS: 'Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome.'"108
4. Reposition the Product
The remake goes on. A recent term introduced into the message mix is "sexual minority."109 Homosexual activists now routinely name themselves as often and as publicly as possible as they wish to be defined. They strive to make the language used to describe them indicate that same-sex couples are "families" with the same values and child-rearing potential as heterosexuals. Paula Ettelbrick, legal director of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund proposes: "The norm in this society should be recognizing families in the way that they are self-defined."110 Just how far can repositioning of this idea go? Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, tells us: "[Homosexuals] hold sacred seeds ... [T]o be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or struggle around gender is literally a gift from God and we [homosexuals] have an enormous amount to teach this nation."111
C. Setting the Price
1. Two-Tiered "Exaction" Pricing: Emotional
As with much of the national persuasion campaign, very original applications of psychology and marketing theory have been used by homosexual activists. An extremely effective tool has been what is defined here as "exaction pricing."
When a marketer speaks of pricing, it is understood that he is referring to the price that is set for the product and therefore being asked of the consumer. One role price has in consumer decision making is in the positioning of the product against competitors (other ideas). So, from a marketing perspective, how does one set a price in the marketplace or, in this case, in the minds of an entire populace, that will encourage people to buy an idea rather than reject it?
People make buying decisions to satisfy both psychological and physical or utilitarian needs. First, it is useful to consider Pride and Ferrell's term "psychological pricing"112 which encourages "emotional rather than rational responses."113
Buying the homosexual idea, in place of one's own beliefs, family teachings, or those taught by Christianity and other faiths is a high price indeed, but gay rights marketers have found a way to exact that high price by their own version of emotional pricing. Exaction pricing is unsupported by facts, logic or proof. With the help of the media, they portray those who refuse to buy, and especially any who dare to publicly oppose (competitively react to), the gay rights idea as bigots, homophobes, heterosexists, ignorant, hateful, intolerant and so on. They position the accused in the same category as racists, sexists, elitists and other pejorative classes.
Accusations of "...ist" are used by militant gay rights advocates in this powerful pricing technique to exact an emotional price for refusing to accept the gay rights proposition. Wood and Pearce explain that a distinct characteristic of the "...ist" accusation is that it is almost impossible to refute.114 While it seems simple enough to be accused in this way, this type of label "in actuality, is an intricate form of argument" which, to defend against, requires a particularly sophisticated and, hence, both rare and precarious form of argument.115 Ergo, all those gay rights opponents who do not have the capacity to counter the accusation, even if they feel it is untrue, pay the emotional price both internally and externally of being branded an "...ist." To regain the prestige of not being an "...ist" (and ultimately Festinger suggests an individual will) the even higher price of moderating one's personal beliefs is exacted.
Remember that people want to hold right opinions, beliefs, and attitudes. A conflict arises between their own beliefs and a continuous flood, a shower, of homosexual-positive messages that cannot be turned off. The emotional price (the exaction price) is an uncomfortable mental state of perpetual cognitive dissonance through forced compliance. By comparison, the idea of accepting homosexuality is presented as a prestige product, only for those who, by inference, do not want to be seen as any of the above "...ists"-type negative personalities.
The favorite exaction-pricing weapon is to accuse anyone who publicly expresses competing ideas of being a homophobe. Its complexity is particularly effective; by definition it includes unnatural fear plus all the mechanisms of an "...ist" label. The exaction power of the tactic is even more powerful as it is often coupled with the idea that most homophobes use anti-homosexual attitudes as a smokescreen to disguise their own homosexual feelings.116
2. Two-Tiered "Exaction" Pricing: Economic
The economic pricing of the homosexual idea takes the carrot and stick approach.117 Since homosexuals are "twice as likely as the general population to have a household income between $60,000 and $250,000," one of the obviously powerful tools the homosexual community has is the economic empowerment of where to spend money.118
Pertman reports that the recognition of this market is obvious. From 1997 to 1999, advertising in homosexual publications soared 20.2 % to $120.4 million.119 Now such corporate mainstays as John Hancock Financial Services, Fleet, American Express, Levi-Strauss, Alamo Rent-a-Car, MTV, and General Motors consider sexual orientation when creating target marketing groups.120 And, the homosexual marketer knows, social prejudice is eroded by mainstream advertising aimed at homosexuals.121
Of course, as homosexuals have dollar-power, they also have the power to boycott companies who do not toe the party line. The homosexual community is not bashful about exacting a price when it comes to well-publicized boycotts. Sometimes described as a minefield, even corporate giants have had to compromise and come around to the activists' demands.
One dramatic example of the use of the stick is an incident involving Coors. "Still suffering from a boycott that began in 1977 over alleged mistreatment of homosexual employees, Coors managers are visiting bars to get the word out that Coors wants their business and is the only major brewer offering domestic-partner benefits."122 This is a picture-perfect example of total conversion accomplished via exaction pricing.
An even more dramatic situation involved United Airlines. The homosexual-dominated City of San Francisco passed an Equal Benefits Ordinance heralded as a landmark anti-discrimination bill.123 It required all businesses who contracted with the city to offer the same benefits to same-sex partners as offered to married couples.124
When United balked, a nationwide boycott including advertising campaigns was instigated by supporters of the bill. The boycott targeted first the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets. The advertisements were a left-right combination punch. First, the advertisements linked United to Pat Robertson, characterizing him as a homosexual discriminator and religious extremist. Second, the activists promoted American Airlines, who had made significant donations to various national homosexual advocacy groups, as the gay-friendliest airline.125
This was a powerful emotional and economic version of exaction pricing backed by a homosexual market estimated to spend "$54.1 billion in annual consumer spending in the U.S. travel industry" or almost 10 % of the national total.126 The strategy got the intended results.
D. Place: Distributing the Idea
How could a movement ever penetrate a market that consists of the hearts and heads of an entire society? The key was to consider first and foremost the media in everything the homosexual movement did - to control information and images. Only by controlling information could they saturate important centers of influence and thus avoid or beat other ideas in the market.
As Jowett and O'Donnell explain, control of information is essential.127 Control ruses take the form of "withholding information, releasing information at predetermined times, [or] in juxtaposition with other information that may influence public perception, manufacturing information, ... distorting information," and communicating key information to or through selective audiences.128 The objective is "(a) control[ ] the media as a source of information ... and (b) present[ ] distorted information from what appears to be a credible source" and (c) conceal the true purpose.129
Altheide and Johnson are cited for a critical control concept they label as "bureaucratic propaganda."130 In this form of persuasive communication, information that appears to be scientifically gathered and objective is disseminated to influential groups with the purpose of maintaining the legitimacy of the propagandizing organization. Although the information is often contrived, distorted, or falsely interpreted, the information may never be seen by the public. Rather, some congressional committees or citizen's groups use it for actions or programs.131 The groups used by homosexual activists to distribute the homosexual idea and gay rights issues were those that touched the most Americans and had the highest source credibility. Just like the tremendous leverage they achieved by co-opting the mental health professions, who would then become disseminators of the homosexual agenda through actions and programs, it was planned that the media, the government, educators and liberal, "less fervent" churches would be forced on board. Each of these "channels" carries its own authority and credibility.
Just as importantly, it is hard to imagine that anyone can escape the influence of more than one or two of these institutions. The homosexual idea would be available for purchase to everyone through their local distributor.
E. Promotion: Win at All Costs
1. Setting the Theme: Major Gay Rights Players
Jay Conrad Levinson, a former vice-president and creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising and Leo Burnett Advertising, says, "A theme is a set of words that summarizes your identity ... The best themes are those that can be utilized for decades. The longer you use them, the more powerful they become ... If you have one, lean on it. You'll find it to be a potent weapon."132
This potent weapon was recognized in the formulation of the gay rights campaign when it was strategized that the gay "campaign should not demand explicit support for homosexual practices, but should instead take antidiscrimination as its theme."133 That would "[g]ive potential protectors a just cause ... Make gays look good ... Make victimizers look bad."134 In fact, that would make the very expression of anti-homosexuality beliefs so socially unacceptable that even the most intransigent opposition would ultimately be silenced in public.135
If one just reviews some of the prominent national voices in the movement, it is not difficult to ascertain this recurring gay rights theme.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), based in Washington, D.C., is the largest national homosexual lobby in the nation. Claiming 400,000 members, HRC and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation report income136 over $16 million. Their activity descriptions are P340 and D050, to propose, support or oppose legislation and the defense of human or civil rights, respectively.137 Their web site explains that HRC is a vigilant bipartisan "watch dog" dedicated to educate Congress.138 Some issues that they take on include: advocating for hate crime legislation, fighting HIV/AIDS, protecting our [homosexual] families, and working for better lesbian health.139 Along with lobbying, intense training of future GLBT political activists is part of the mission.140
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is the dominant media relations and watchdog lobby of the homosexual movement with income of $4,199,134.141 The GLAAD website proudly recounts that "[i]n 1992, Entertainment Weekly named GLAAD as one of Hollywood's most powerful entities and the Los Angeles Times described the group as possibly the most successful organizations lobbying the media."142 One illustration is that GLAAD takes credit for getting the New York Times to change their editorial policy in 1987 to use the word gay.143
GLAAD claims that it has not only reached industry insiders, but has also influenced millions through newspapers, magazines, motion pictures, television and visibility campaigns.144 Training homosexual organizations how to deal with the media is GLAAD's mission.145 It supports positive portrayals of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender146 (GLBT) issues or images in the media but attacks any negative press. They are particularly proud of their campaign to derail Dr. Laura Schlessinger's move to television.147
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF, previously the same NGTF involved in the APA effort) reports income in excess of $3.5 million.148 Whereas HRC has an emphasis in national government and GLAAD in media, NGTLF's additional focus is also at the community level. The organization's website describes the organization's work this way: "We're proud of our commitment to the linkages between oppressions based on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation ... NGLTF is waging a campaign against anti-GLBT hate crimes, which will focus on coalition-building and legislative work in key states ... [and ending] institutionalized homophobia."149
Key strategies include public education, grass roots training for activist skills, monitoring and reporting on legislation and building coalitions for advocacy.150
"To discover what a thing is 'called' according to some system is the essential step in knowing, and to say that all education is learning to name rightly ... would assert an underlying truth."151 Lesbian author Patricia Nell Warren put it much more succinctly: "Whoever captures the kids owns the future."152
Two highly effective organizations who specialize in the K-12 education channel of influence are Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
PFLAG, with income of just under $1.5 million,153 claims membership of over 76,000 with 425 local groups. PFLAG promotes the idea that ignorance of homosexuality has bred a climate of torment, fear and hatred in our schools. They allege that the average high school student hears twenty-five anti-homosexual slurs daily154 and that homosexual youth may account for 30 % of all teen suicides.155 Through "support," they implore an adverse society, an ill-informed public, to help create a more healthy and respectful society.156
GLSEN, with income exceeding $1.8 million157 states that their mission is to fight the homophobia and heterosexism that undermine healthy school climates.158 They work to educate teachers, students and the public at large on how these issues have similar adverse impacts as racism and sexism.159 They educate the educators on how to stop discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and to help GLBT teachers and students fight for their rights.160 Their resources include such training as Homophobia 101 and 102.161 The organization asserts that they have trained 400 school staffs around the country and that the first statewide Safe School for Gay and Lesbian Students sponsored by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a result of and modeled closely on their work.162
The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund reports income over $10,000,000163 and is the homosexual-specific equivalent of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU is also very active in gay rights and reports income of over $25 million.164
2. Summary of a Common Theme
Hate speech and hate crime, homophobia and heterosexism, oppression versus tolerance, diversity versus discrimination, ignorance versus education, fear versus safety, all of the old and new "...ists" and "...isms", are the thematic vernacular found in all homosexual persuasive communication. Homosexuals are innocent victims. Dissent, even by homosexuals, is always due to ignorance, bigotry, or some variant of homophobia.
If NGLTF is taking credit for linkages of sexual orientation to accepted discrimination categories, then it follows that NGLTF created linkages where none previously existed. GLAAD is proud of its public ranking as being the most powerful (a la Foucault "controlling discourses") in influencing media.165 HRC works to insure safety, openness, and equality. By inference, the opposite must exist and need fixing.166
Just as the sales professional is only there to help, HRC, GLAAD, NGLFT, PFLAG, and GLSEN are there to help educate everyone else, thereby helping to protect homosexuals from all the ignorant "...ists" who are intolerant and victimizers.167 It is never called advertising, lobbying, public relations, or - heaven forbid - spin. It is always about a need for more education.
V. Gay Rights Marketing: The Agenda at Work
A. Stop Dr. Laura
1. The Direct Marketing Approach
"[T]he left-wing power elite is small and interconnected. Different groups have overlapping constituencies and share a similar history and tactics, allowing for tacit agreements about attitude and approach."168 How powerful and how far the left-wing power elite is willing to go is illustrated by the Stop Dr. Laura "public education" campaign that was "designed and controlled by as few as a half dozen people."169
Upon converting to Judaism later in life, the Jewish counselor changed her stance from pro- to anti-homosexual behavior. Homosexual activists became infuriated at Dr. Laura for publicly stating that she felt homosexuality was a "biological" mistake170 even though a couple sentences later she also specifically stated that homosexuals should not be hated or attacked.171 Hate speech, bigot, intolerance and all the "...ism" accusations flooded out of the homosexual promotion machine.
Exaction pricing was brought into play. Homosexual web sites called for all homosexual supporters to complain to every local station carrying Dr. Laura. A special StopDrLaura.com website was established with the help of free hosting by GAYBC.com, a generous donation by the HRC, support from Hollywood celebrities172 like Susan Sarandon,173 and intense media coverage framed as a national "uproar" by homosexual-friendly news media such as the Los Angeles Times174 and the New York Times.175
GLAAD's site launched a "Dr. Laura Watch" (along with other homosexual advocacy sites) which monitored every word of the conservative talk show host and then posted every statement she made judged to be "anti-gay."176 In addition, each day every advertiser that supported her new television program was listed for action. Sponsor telephone numbers were published and links to sponsor email addresses were included in homosexual web sites.
Actions taken against advertisers included phoning every advertiser to make sure the advertiser knew their ads were running (since many are placed via ad agencies), sending anti-Laura (i.e. claiming hate speech and bigotry) emails, complaining directly to the advertiser and threatening boycotts of the sponsor's products.177 Proctor and Gamble, AT&T, Sears, Robuck & Co., Xerox and ultimately dozens of major advertisers pulled out.178
Nine GLAAD updates during November and December of 2000 heralded Dr. Laura's deteriorating ratings, downgrading of time slots and nose-diving advertising revenues.179 Actions in local markets and all positive and negative media reports were posted for further action.
On March 30, 2001, GLAAD hailed the demise of the Dr. Laura show as a culmination of GLAAD's "three-year public education campaign ... against [her] defamation and anti-gay tolerance."180
Dr. Laura's competing idea was silenced by a well executed promotion using print and electronic media that promoted the homosexual product as superior (tolerance versus hate-speech) and set a price to be exacted for not buying (boycotts and complaints). The Internet was exploited to help facilitate a "pull strategy"181 of complaints to sponsors, local stations, and local media.
2. Stop Dr. Laura: Indirect Marketing
A powerful and well-disguised example of "negative branding" as part of the homosexual promotion is the October 18, 2000 episode of The West Wing.182 The popular drama, which has a homosexual character, has won gay awards because it "regularly addresses issues of discrimination against the lesbian and gay community ..."183 The particular episode was titled The Midterms but it became known in homosexual chat rooms as the slam Dr. Laura show.
In this episode's story line, a manifestly obvious Dr. Laura-type character, radio talk show host Dr. Jenna (Jacobs) is meeting with the President of the United States played by Martin Sheen. The climax of the discussion is when it is revealed through the interrogation by Sheen that "Doctor" Jenna is not a medical doctor who might be qualified to give advice in the area of homosexuality. In fact, she has no training at all in psychology, theology, social work or health care. She has a Ph.D. in English literature.
Sheen's character, President of the United States Jed Bartlet, says that her talk show audience is probably confused, inferring they must have no idea that she is not qualified to give advice or, specifically, to say that homosexuality is an abomination. Dr. Jenna replies, "It's not me ... but the Bible."
The President, scripted as well versed in scripture, then severely dresses down Dr. Jenna's character. Sarcastically ridiculing her reference to the proscription of homosexuality in Leviticus, he snaps off several other verses of Old Testament scripture obviously not enforced today, for comparison.184
He asks what would be a good price for selling his daughter into slavery as Exodus 21:7 allows. Further, must he kill his colleague who works on the Sabbath, as required by Exodus 35:20? Can the Washington Redskins continue to play football if they wear gloves so they do not touch the skin of a pig, as required by Deuteronomy 14:8?
Dr. Jenna, now exposed for what she really is has no defense. Sheepishly she casts her eyes to the floor. The President's tirade ends with a mocking statement that perhaps Dr. Jenna has confused this interview with the President of the United States with her monthly meeting of the "ignorant tight-ass club." He then reminds her that she should stand in his presence.
Because of all the obvious peripheral cues planted in the script, viewers who had heard of Dr. Laura likely would associate her as being represented by the Dr. Jenna character. Without even thinking, it is likely that many who did not know better would now "know" that Dr. Laura's Ph.D. was in literature. And therefore, Dr. Laura must be similarly and equally unqualified to comment on the biology of homosexuality or to offer moral advice as Dr. Jenna.
The not too subtle persuasive message is that Dr. Jenna/Laura is the bad brand of citizen: a deceptive, ignorant, tight-ass, unqualified to give advice let alone make moral judgments. The good brand of citizen is the enlightened, literate, credible President who comes down on the side of homosexuals. Buttressed by flagrant proof-texting, the good Christian (Sheen's character is hinted at as possibly Catholic) puts the moralistic right wing bigot in her place.
The problem is that the real Laura Schlessinger actually has exceptional credentials to do what she does. Her education includes a B.S. in Biology Sciences from the State University of New York, an M.S. and Ph.D. in physiology, and an M. Phil. from Columbia.185 She has a post-doctoral certification in marriage, family, and child counseling from the University of Southern California at Los Angeles, was a member of the graduate psychology faculty at Pepperdine University for eight years, and is licensed in marriage, family, and child counseling in California.186 She has been in private psychotherapy practice for twelve years.187
Focusing on (and distracted by) the obvious pro-homosexual speech of the President, what viewers likely missed was the subtle character assassination of Dr. Laura. Her education was misrepresented in order to destroy her source credibility, and Old Testament ceremonial law was conflated with proscriptions on homosexuality in order to confound biblical arguments. Many viewers would be left with two (subconscious) impressions: Dr. Laura is unqualified and only ignorant homophobes claim that the Bible condemns homosexuality. But The West Wing is only fiction.
B. He Who Controls History ...
Because influencing, even controlling the media, is so central to the marketing of the homosexual idea, it is worthwhile to cite one more example of purposeful yet disguised exploitation of the media. In the Home Box Office [HBO] "documentary" The Celluloid Closet, the producers purport to document that, even in early ultra-conservative Hollywood in the 1950s and early 1960s, movies were "coded" with subtle homosexual shadings and nuances.188 Movies mentioned as supposedly including homosexuality as a subtext include Red River, Ben-Hur, and Gilda.189 "However, when pressed by ... the Television Critics Association [the producers] said they had no documentation - no director's notes or producer's memos - to support their theory ..."190 Nevertheless, the show aired in 1996 suggesting that big stars (credible sources, god words/symbols, cues) like John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and Doris Day winked at homosexuality.191
The homosexual product is promoted as good for business, education, and entertainment via the use of free celebrity endorsements - all with greater effect than any advertising money could buy.
C. Two Birds with One Stone
1. Using the Government to Influence Business
Businesses (the workplace), the advertising by businesses, and the credibility of major organizations are all exploited by the homosexual persuasion campaign. Homosexuals have made great strides, especially at the national level, in private business. Hundreds of companies, including many of the Fortune 500, now have policies specifically banning sexual orientation discrimination.192 In addition to the usual activism one might associate with such equity goals, a rather unique and successful marketing tactic has been developed that combines media influence and a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation.
Resolutions are simple. Generally, any shareholder of title owning approximately $2,000 worth of stock one year before a resolution-filing deadline (generally twelve months before a shareholder meeting) may file a resolution. By SEC regulation, as long as the resolution complies with company guidelines for such filings, the corporation must actually get a waiver from the Securities and Exchange Commission to exclude a shareholder's proposal. While these resolutions almost never win on a vote, they only have to garner three percent support to be reintroduced again at the shareholders meeting the following year. At that time, if they gather six percent, they can be reintroduced again and then again every subsequent year if support is ten percent or above.193
Shareholder resolutions were designed by the SEC to give small shareholders a voice since they are, in fact, owners. Trillium Asset Management, a homosexual investment management company, began sponsoring these resolutions. Since then, other homosexuals and homosexual friendly organizations, such as the HRC itself, have taken the same tack. Since 1995, this persuasive maneuver has been successfully used to exact change from giants such as Johnson & Johnson, DaimlerChrysler, American Home Products, McDonalds, and General Electric.194 ExxonMobil is one of the more recent shareholder resolution "projects" of homosexual activists.195
This tactic is another example of exaction pricing. While the stated goal is substantive discussion that will lead to change in corporate policies and behaviors,196 "even if [the resolutions] are ultimately withdrawn by their [homosexual activist] proponents, proposals are often covered by the press."197 A price is exacted - either change or bad press.
2. Using Business to Influence Government
Why are homosexuals so concerned about big business? It cannot really be about employment discrimination since their higher income level as a group would indicate access to capital, wealth, and power.
First, "[C]orporate actions often serve as models for government and for the popular culture."198 Second, "[S]ocial prejudice is eroded by mainstream advertising to homosexuals ... [with] more big-league companies jumping on the gay-advertising bandwagon every day ..."199 Third, the more workplaces that adopt anti-discrimination policies, the more the competition is subjected to cognitive dissonance via forced compliance on the job five days per week.
The real goal is to use the workplace and big business to promote and distribute the homosexual agenda.
D. The Education Channel
Public schools, especially elementary schools, are at the forefront of the battle of homosexual tolerance programs. "Recent months and years have witnessed the beginnings of an unprecedented campaign ... to affirm homosexuality and so-called 'gay youth' in schools ... [A]llies argue that students need ... 'positive' images ... to counter ... 'homophobic' society."200
PFLAG's Read this Before Coming Out to your Parents is described as its "most famous brochure."201 The stated purpose of the brochure is "to inform gay and lesbian young adults about the process most parents go through when their child's homosexual orientation is disclosed."202 Note how the persuasive message is framed as education to help your parents accept your coming out:
"Don't raise the issue unless you're able to respond with confidence [that you are sure you are homosexual].
... If you're wrestling with guilt and periods of depression, you'll be better off waiting to tell your parents.
... Your parents will probably respond based on a lifetime of information from a homophobic society.
... If you suspect they are capable of withdrawing college finances or forcing you out of the house, you may choose to wait until they do not have this weapon to hold over you.
... If they tend to see social issues in clear terms of good/bad or holy/sinful, you may anticipate that they will have serious problems dealing with your sexuality. If, however, they've evidenced a degree of flexibility when dealing with other changing societal matters, you may be able to anticipate a willingness to work this through with you."203
To what does this message appeal? PFLAG's (1995) promotional message maintains the theme that any parents who might reject homosexuality as normal are sick. Parents are characterized as possibly homophobic, potential victimizers who may use college finances to oppress the homosexual, or ignorant (needing education) because they only see things "in clear terms of good/bad or holy sinful" and find their own child unlovable.204 The parents' competing idea of normality is not to be trusted. PFLAG has told the prospective customer to "buy" (make the decision you are homosexual) before discussing it with parents.
There are other forms of promotion that education takes. A health educator at a Massachusetts high school included these loaded questions in a sex quiz: "Are you heterosexual because you fear the same sex? How do you know you wouldn't prefer sleeping with someone of the same sex? Do you merely need a good gay experience?"205
The promotion can also take the form of self-improvement education. Project 10206 is a school-counseling program staffed by homosexual counselors. It is positioned as a "dropout prevention program" 207 and "a response to suicide, alcohol/substance abuse and risk of AIDS."208 Its mission is to identify and provide support in developing positive homosexual identity.209 Again, the product is positioned as correct. Side effects like AIDS are, at best, a tertiary issue.210
One resource is a teacher self-evaluation quiz designed to expose "unconscious biased behaviors."211 While it asks legitimate questions with possible answers "Always," "Sometimes," and "Never" on using or allowing to be used pejorative language like "dyke" or "faggots," it also asks whether "I use examples in my job showing gay men and lesbians of diverse backgrounds ... " or do "I supplement inadequate treatment of gays and lesbians [in the classroom]."212 The requirement is that to be equitable, not an "...ist," teachers must not just tolerate homosexuality but value it enough to make sure that it is included in classroom discussions.
Another promotion strategy is to "help" schools. After monitoring a conference on Reparative Therapy in 1998 (psychotherapy designed to help homosexuals seeking change to achieve that goal), the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network [GLSEN] distributed almost 15,000 copies of Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation and Youth to school superintendents around the country as a "primer."213
Once again, the APA declassification in 1973 of homosexuality came into play. With an impressive list of supporting organizations including the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Just the Facts devoted an entire section discouraging any reparative therapy type materials (the competing idea) being made available in schools because national associations of "more than 477,000 health and mental health professionals, have all taken the position that homosexuality is not a mental disorder and thus there is no need for a 'cure.'"214 The wishes of a child seeking possible change is irrelevant and documented success of many approaches over the years, including reparative therapy, is not to be considered.215
Just the Facts flatly states that the "most important fact [to recognize] about 'transformational ministry' is that its view of homosexuality is not representative of the views of all people of faith. Many deeply religious people ... are supportive and accepting [of gays rights needing] to be protected from the discriminatory acts of others."216 Any discussion of the success of this approach is avoided by the introduction of a specious argument.
Promotion through education packaged as "tolerance" at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud Minnesota went so far that a policy statement was issued that declared, "It is simply not acceptable for social workers to view homosexual people ... as sinners ... The only legitimate position ... is to abhor the oppression ... and to act personally and professionally to end the degradation [of homosexuals]."217 It suggested that a Catholic student or any students who could not agree should leave the degree program.218
It is important to take particular note that the statement, made in direct violation of the students' religious freedom, concerned a social work degree program.219 Furthermore, the American Psychological Association accredits schools offering graduate degrees in clinical psychology. Accreditation can be a critical factor for the long-term success of the program.
E. The Military Campaign
The issue of gays in the military is an excellent example of the multifaceted theme continuing to work. In a report on the entire issue of gays in the military, Waldman, Glick, Miller, and Clift, present this picture:
"The key, strategists concluded, was to focus on the issue of discrimination [and avoid the actual activity. Do] not attempt to justify the "lifestyle" [and continue to trumpet a biological connection because] [s]everal focus-group participants ... became more tolerant about gays in the military after hearing [those types of] news reports."220
It is for this reason that a constant stream of studies purporting to suggest some sort of biological cause (not necessarily supporting, let alone proving, a causal relationship) are dutifully reported in a cultivated media.
The economics and education of homosexuals makes them prime players in a capitalistic society. Money means power, and education means the knowledge to use that power to gain more. Homosexuals have demonstrated they have access to the leadership in media, government, education, business and other centers of influence as well as access to capital. These are hardly traits of an oppressed minority.
More than twenty-five years after the leadership of the American Psychiatric Association and the leadership of the American Psychological Association proclaimed homosexuality normal, they have not convinced their own members. The Joint Task Force of the American Psychological Association says its new guidelines represent the education needed to change the thinking of psychologists.221 Presumably, this is needed because, as it states in the guide's introduction, the decision by the American Psychiatric Association "is yet to be fully implemented in practice" a quarter century later.222 Likewise, an article in Psychiatric Times states that "surveys continue to report high levels of ignorance and prejudice encountered by homosexuals in their contacts with health care providers."223
While the marketing campaign continues the drumbeat of normalcy and the valuing of gayness, several recent population-based studies show otherwise.
- Higher rates of major depression, generalized anxiety disorder and substance use in homosexual youth.
- Higher rates of recurrent major depression among homosexual men.
- Higher rates of anxiety, mood and substance [ab]use ... among people ages 15 to 54 with same-sex partners.
- Higher use of mental health services in men and women reporting same-sex partners.224
In addition, even with massive education efforts about the devastating effects and prevention of AIDS, "[s]ince protease inhibitors were introduced in the mid-1990s, researchers have [found] a surge in the number of young gay men who practice [anal sex without condoms]."225 In a 1999 study, it was found that the primary reason for unsafe anal sex was "poor intentions to use [condoms] and poor norms [in insisting upon the use of condoms]."226 Only sharing needles compares with anal sex for risk.
How successful is the valuing diversity and AIDS education effort in schools? Some mental health professionals are beginning to report that more kids are doing worse things at younger ages than they have ever seen. Twelve and thirteen-year-old suburban kids are getting together for group oral and anal sex parties.227 Certainly this is not absolute proof of a causal relationship, but it is powerful evidence that one exists.
The message continues that AIDS today is everyone's disease. It has spread to the heterosexual population. Some probable causes are likely shared needles in drug use and denial of homosexual sex by HIV-positive "heterosexuals." One possibility, as research indicates, is that bisexual men with primary female partners do not disclose their bisexuality to their female partners 75 % of the time.228 They also do not modify their sexual behavior to protect female partners 64 % of the time.229
On the issue of families, contrary to the campaign message, domestic violence in homosexual "domestic partnerships" as a group is several times higher than for heterosexual married couples.230
Yet the homosexual campaign is winning in the marketplace. "A little more than a majority [of Americans] now say that homosexual relations should be legal, and [the lifestyle] is acceptable."231 Half of those polled also now believe that there is a biological link or genetic trait.232
Gay journalism largely has been taken over by slick publications that are influenced more by the marketing mentality than by social inquiry.233 Gay media is flourishing with more main stream advertisers chasing what is perceived as a lucrative market and films about the homosexual struggle such as Philadelphia win Oscars. The gay idea has been successfully transformed, elevated to gay heroics, focused on rights rather than what is right, reframed as an issue of discrimination and education, and focus on valuing rather than values.
Concepts introduced through the media, education, government, and courts by the homosexual movement theme have shaped our discourse; homophobia, heterosexism, tolerance and hate speech are now mainstream vernacular." A "gay culture" has been successfully fabricated "through nothing more than naming and renaming, forming and reforming ... until memory has no possibility of meaning."234
Society is bombarded by the A-list wealthy, gay stereotype that has become the image by which even homosexual people increasingly measure themselves.235 We only see smart, witty, or sympathetic GLBT characters on television while simultaneously being shamed that all suffering and every malady endemic to homosexual behavior is caused by victimization of an ignorant, homophobic society.
"[E]very age and society has dominant media that shape the way the culture thinks."236 "The content of the mass media sets the public's political and social agenda."237 But, it would appear that our mass communications are mainly providing us the illusion of being informed. Rather, it is actually providing "misleading information - misplaced, irrelevant, fragmented or superficial information - information that creates the illusion of knowing something but which in fact leads one away from knowing."238
"The way controversial ideas are disseminated makes a big difference in what we think of someone or something and whether we even feel comfortable thinking freely about an issue."239 Even freedom of thought is being threatened by demands for more hate crimes legislation, which has little do with defining new crimes or even stopping crime but everything to do with what one is thinking when the crime is committed. Public discourse has been influenced to the extent that even expressions of dissent based on the freedom of religion, a constitutional right, are now labeled hateful, a tiny step away from being labeled hate speech.
Adolf Hitler understood the cleansing power that comes with the ability to place all of one's ills on a scapegoat. It is especially medicinal to move infirmities outside the self because then "one can battle an external enemy [rather than the] enemy within."240 In Hitler's Germany, by the use of public discourse, people were convinced to take horrible action to solve a Jewish problem where none existed. Today, homophobes and heterosexists are proclaimed to be the problem. Hate crimes and gay rights legislation are proposed as the solution.
Yet, the purpose of law is to discriminate against certain behaviors. It even discriminates against those with real pathological behaviors, i.e., alcoholics who drive drunk. Laws discriminate against parents who believe it is normal to exploit their children, companies who justify making false promises or dangerous products, citizens who believe that they should not have to pay higher taxes, incompetent doctors, drug dealers, and ticket scalpers.
The debate is not about the persecution of a political minority but is about the state's right and its duty to regulate against behaviors that are unhealthy and destructive to society at large. "If at the level of civil politics there are homosexual people who do not want to be known solely through what sex they have or where and with how many they have it, it is nonetheless absurd to claim that sex is merely ancillary to the gay ... agenda."241
Gay rights is not about the attainment of truth nor social justice but the achievement of power. The battle centers on the control of public discourse through marketing and persuasion, to shape what society thinks about and how they think about it. Homosexual activists envision that a decision is ultimately made without society ever realizing that it has been purposely conditioned to arrive at a conclusion that it thinks is its own.
Perhaps with the application of common sense, the balance can be regained between right and rights and thereby not only will the few be protected from the whims of the masses but the masses can be saved from the excesses of the few.
- Barry Brummett, Reading Rhetorical Theory 817, 2000 (describing Michel Foucault's theories on power and sexuality). Foucault was a noted French scholar who died of complications from AIDS in 1984. Id. "Foucault's own homosexuality and his discovery that sexuality has been an issue of power throughout much of history led him to write a series of works on the history of sexuality." Sonja K. Foss et al., Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric 214, 2d ed. 1991.
- Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture 57, 1994.
- David Kupelian: Play it again, Sam: How "Gay Rights" Is Being Sold to America, WND on October 18, 2005
|This article based on an article Selling Homosexuality To America from Paul E. Rondeau, Bulletin DIJG, 2/2004, Vol. 8, pp. 3-28.|