Under the Gaydar Advocacy

Sometimes when advocates want to change society, they conclude that they need to “get in people’s faces” about the issue, call in the TV cameras, march in the streets and thereby force a national conversation to occur.

At other times, advocates quietly accrue small victories out of limelight until the facts on the ground have changed before any significant opposition has been roused.

In a fascinating article at Washington Monthly, Alison Gash points out that same sex marriage advocates took the former route, whereas same sex parenting advocates took the latter. Gash compares the process and outcomes of both initiatives, concluding that

History books suggest that our society has made its greatest leaps on the shoulders of high profile campaigns. But change can also be the result of quiet battles that play out in courtrooms, boardrooms and bedrooms all across the country. And it is often these hidden battles that most effectively propel our society forward.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College Lonon. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over ten thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

2 thoughts on “Under the Gaydar Advocacy”

  1. And it is often these hidden battles that most effectively propel our society forward.

    …or backward. Cf. the opponents of teaching evolution in the public schools – they are too often successful when they stay out of the limelight (getting elected to local schoolboards, pressuring textbook manufacturers). Only when they go the route of litigation or moving legislation in the state capitols do the forces of the Enlightenment rally to counter them.

  2. It seems to me that Gays have in fact been operating a one-two punch strategy. That would explain why the movement towards gay marriage has begun to happen so rapidly and so broadly. The gay parenting movement prepared the ground for full marriage.

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