Exploring LGBT Issues in Strategic Communication with Theory and Research
Chapter 4: One Agenda, Multiple Platforms: How 21st-Century LGBT Advocacy Organizations Navigate a Shifting Media Landscape to Communicate Messages of Equality
Dean E. Mundy
Today’s movement for LGBT equality comprises many members and ally networks. It is seen through community events, political lobbying, fundraising, and public education campaigns. Media have always played a crucial role in communicating the gay movement’s message. Today, new types of media provide LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) advocacy organizations with the opportunity to execute large-scale, professional, strategic communication campaigns. It is important to explore how 21st-century advocacy organizations engage various forms of media to help shape the public agenda.
This chapter explores how state-based LGBT advocacy organizations engage media, and how today’s media landscape affects those efforts. The findings—from interviews with leaders of LGBT advocacy organizations in eight states—provide crucial insights regarding modern media relations. Indeed, new tools offer new ways of reaching more stakeholders, but these tools also present new challenges. As one participant explained, “If you used to write a press release, you wrote one. Now you write one, and you syndicate it to 10 different places.” Campaigns must convey a heightened degree of media savvy. As a result, today’s state-based LGBT advocacy media efforts offer an important comparison to mid-20th-century perspectives regarding how, and to what extent, media help or hinder LGBT advocacy.
The state-based perspective of LGBT advocacy is central to this chapter. As the Equality Federation has argued, “The overwhelming majority of protections for lgbt [sic] people in the United States exists not at the federal level, but through laws passed by state...
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