Exploring LGBT Issues in Strategic Communication with Theory and Research
Chapter 9: Gaffes, Glitches, and Gays: How Organizations Respond to LGBT Crises
Brenda J. Wrigley
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) lives were at one point in history within the realm of sexual perversion, deviance, and medical pathology. Eventually, “dissenting views emerged in the medical and social science communities, moral standards changed after World War II, and the gay rights movement appeared in the 1960s” (Harris, 2003, p. 489). Attempts to correct misconceptions and deconstruct stereotypes in an understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, and equality have led to changes in policy and social institutions. Most notably, Maryland, Washington, and New York have joined Washington, DC, New Hampshire, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut as the only places in the United States allowing same-sex marriage, while 30 states have banned gay marriage.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), an organization dedicated to “promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation,” notes a significant evolution in the understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ lives in America over the past two decades (GLAAD, “Mission Statement,” 2010). GLAAD suggests that, “increasingly fair, accurate and inclusive news media coverage has played an important role in expanding public awareness and understanding” of LGBTQ lives; however, “many reporters, editors and producers continue to face challenges covering these issues in a complex, often rhetorically charged climate” (GLAAD, “Media Reference Guide,” 2010).
Many organizations failed to acknowledge the cultural shift. Some...
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