a journal of queer studies

At What Price the Media Spotlight

Julie Land

Analyzing media certification of the mainstream gay movement during the 1980s and 1990s
SUMMARY: The essay looks at the LGBT/Queer movement in the United States during the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time, when AIDS activism was at its peak, began a number of processes, which continue to have an effect on the LGBT and Queer movements in the USA. Through an analysis of the New York Times' coverage of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), one can observe the process through which media certified a certain type of activism (mainly lobbying, court cases) as 'grown up' and 'effective', and direct action (protests, visibility actions, etc.) as 'childish'. At the same time, the more conservative strands of the gay/lesbian movement began to eschew more radical groups like ACT UP and Queer Nation, even though it was these groups that breathed new life into the movement during the AIDS crisis. I argue that, since this time, one can see the development of two distinct movements in the US (though they are often thought of as one): the gay movement and the Queer movement.

Since I have moved to Poland I have entered into a number of conversations with Gay, Lesbian, and Queer colleagues, who often believe that the United States is a paradise for GLBT people. They are often shocked to hear that weeks before I left the United States, Virginia, the state in which I was born, passed a law that banned same-sex couples from receiving any of the privileges afforded to heterosexual couples. Indeed, through the media we often only hear about the successes; that is the states in which civil marriage or domestic partnership is legal. The truth is, however, that only 7 states offer this possibility, while 19 states have specifically amended their constitutions in order to prevent legalized gay marriages or domestic partnerships in the future. Watching the news and reading the newspapers, it seems that successes are only measured in terms of legislative victories, and much of the mainstream media wishes to portray the movement in the United States as wholly progressing in the right direction, and gaining what they please. However, I believe that as long as we trust the mainstream media, which assures us that things are getting better, and furthermore only portrays one small and rather conservative part of the movement with any respect or regularity (that is the civil rights arm of the movement), we are doomed only to achieve small token victories without really succeeding in creating the changes we desire: that is, the questioning of gender roles that are the basis of homophobia and sexism, and even the laws that entrench them.

There are two primary objectives of this paper. I seek to explore the ways in which Gay/Lesbian and Queer movements in the United States have sought media attention in order to publicize their message and goals, and correspondingly, the ways that the media has itself certified certain methods of protest and highlighted certain movement goals. I will also examine specific instances in which the media has effected the Queer movement and the Gay/Lesbian movement in the United States, and argue that the mainstream media has highlighted and certified the more conservative, legislation oriented politics of the Gay/Lesbian movement, while making the politics of the Queer movement seem childish and unproductive.

As a theoretical framework, I use Doug McAdam's and Todd Gitlin's arguments about the way that the media positively portrayed only certain aspects of the African American Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War/New Left movements (specifically SDS or Students for a Democratic Society) to highlight my arguments about the way that media actors have certified conservative strands of the American Gay/Lesbian movements, while eschewing the more radical politics of Queer movements. For example, McAdam problematizes the wholesale acceptance of accounts that locate the beginning of the Black insurgency movement during the mid-1950s with the Brown v. Topeka Board of Education decision (1954), arguing that "to single [this case] out serves ... to obscure the less dramatic but ultimately more significant historical trends that shaped the ... insurgency” (3). Accordingly, my concern is that American Gay/Lesbian and Queer movements, because mainstream organizations focused on obtaining civil rights have come (partly with the help of the media spotlight) to represent more and more the supposed interests of the entire movement, will have the end of the movement or, at least a perceived ending point, defined through legal and legislative successes. I argue that court cases and legislative changes will not change the climate of homophobia in which all GLBTTIQ and Queer people must currently exist.

Specifically here I will focus on the New York Times coverage of ACT UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) during the 1980s and 1990s, and I examine the ways that Queer groups can often achieve more through creative activism, but are often chastised for being "childlike,” while rights-based approaches to social change are perceived as "sophisticated” and effective. In fact, one could argue that, if not for the radical tactics of ACT UP, AIDS could have remained a taboo issue in America (as Reagan did not publicly mention the disease until 1987).

When mainstream gay organizations whose purpose is the struggle for legal and legislative gains get to define the movement's goals (or the perceived goals) they may actually become harmful and dangerous to some of the very people they are working to help. Todd Gitlin argues that, "the processed image [the media projects]... tends to become 'the movement' for wider publics and institutions who have few alternative sources of information” (2). My conception is that, in America, the Queer movement needs to be conceived independently from the mainstream, inclusion-seeking gay movement, because it often seems that the mainstream gay and lesbian movement is more concerned with the process of raising money and fortifying their organizational structures than affecting any real or meaningful change to the systems that are keeping homophobia and heterosexism in place in our society. We need to Queerize hetero society rather than ask Queers to conform to hetero-norms.

According to McAdam's political process theory, the ability of movement leaders to "create a more enduring organizational structure [will enable them] to sustain insurgency” (54). However, there are inherent dangers in creating formal organizational structures in insurgent movements, as "the establishment of formal movement organizations does have the potential to set in motion ... processes ultimately destructive of the effectiveness of the movement as a social change vehicle” (McAdam 54-5). McAdam outlines the three most common and most threatening dangers to a movement involved in creating organizational structures. Processes of oligarchization and cooptation are followed by the loss of indigenous support, which can occur once some members of the movement begin to look to external sources for support, this can, in turn result in the oligarchization and isolation of movement leaders, an increasing likelihood for co-optation, and the loss of "'established structures of solidarity incentives' that earlier supplied the motive force for movement participation” (McAdam 54-5).

During the heyday of the Black Insurgency (from 1961-65) there were four organizations that competed for influence in the movement: NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), and CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) (McAdam 154).

The movement organizations began to rely heavily on external support for funding once they had grabbed their attention. In particular, McAdam problematizes the 1964 moratorium on Civil Rights protesting, which occurred due to threats from donors to cut funding to voter registration efforts if the protests continued (168). The contributors were concerned that continued protests would create a conservative backlash that would help Barry Goldwater into the White House, though Goldwater lost by a landslide; notes McAdam, "the potential for co-optation inherent in the external support links established by insurgents during this period should be apparent” (168-9).

By the end of the decade the intensity of actions and protests had significantly died down partially because the movement became more militant, and liberal supporters who had substantially funded the organizations "abandoned the movement in droves” and severely damaged the movement's ability to mobilize effectively (McAdam 228). Black insurgents initially allowed liberals funding the movement to, at least partially, direct its course of action, but when they grew to have more radical factions the funding disappeared and the movement lost its power and effectiveness.

Though McAdam applies his political process model to Black insurgency during the 1960s, and to the almost century-long process leading up to its heyday, his observations about the establishment of organizations and formal structures within an opposition movement have important implications for the Queer movement and the mainstream gay movement. I argue that the Human Rights Campaign is one such mainstream gay organization that has set in motion a number of harmful processes, which have begun to weaken and co-opt the goals of radical Queer movements. I will also argue that all Gay/Lesbian and Queer movements have come to be recently dominated, at least in the public eye, by the struggle for gay civil rights, via various processes of shifting political landscapes and changing media coverage of the movement. Groups like the Human Rights Campaign, whose primary goals focus upon legal and legislative success have grown to occupy a place at the helm of Gay/Lesbian and Queer movements.

This paper will begin with a discussion of the rise and fall of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), an organization that was heavily influenced by media coverage. ACT UP was able to bring back radical activism, which America had not seen for a decade; in other words, they breathed a new Queer life into an activist movement that had been moribund since the 1970s (Highleyman, 107). I will use Todd Gitlin's argument about opposition movements, and the benefits and dangers of media reliance and media construction, to create a deeper understanding of the media's role in ACT UP's decline from unleashing power and garnering considerable amounts of visibility to their diminished effectiveness in mobilizing Queer communities. I argue that the way the media covered ACT UP and their political tactics allowed that particular brand of activism to be seen as childish and immature by audiences. One of ACT UP's early organizers, Maxine Wolf observes that,

[m]any people basically assume that anyone who does visible
creative public actions that are 'energetic' - what a condescending
word - and 'catchy' are empty-headed idiots with no political
strategy. They think that we don't think. Apparently the only
people who think - in their view - are those who lobby, who
are not 'energetic' (Sommella 407).

From here I will examine the role that mass media played in certifying and building up legal and legislative advocacy groups and their agenda, through portraying their tactics as sophisticated and intellectual, with a specific focus on the Human Rights Campaign (the largest and most visible of these organizations). I will make the case that the ideology deployed by the HRC negatively affects the way that Queer people view themselves, their community, and the world around them. I argue that the harmfulness of these assimilationist ideologies as deployed by the mainstream gay movement far outweighs the positive structural gains achieved by such organizations (specifically the Human Rights Campaign.

In March 1987 a number of frustrated gay and lesbian activists formed the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power; their frustration stemmed from the general lack of knowledge and sense of apathy about AIDS that came from the government, the public, and even other gay organizations (Sommella 412). The closing of bathhouses in New York during 1984 and 1985 came as a wake up call to many gays and lesbians who soon became frustrated by the refusal of GMHC to take political stands because of their need for funding from the government (Sommella 409).

The politics of those who organized and participated in ACT UP was a departure from, and sometimes even worked in opposition to, "left” groups like GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis) and GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). In fact, GLAAD once tried to physically prevent a group of angry gay and lesbian protesters from converging at Battery Square Park in July 1986 to protest the Supreme Court's upholding of sodomy laws in the state of Georgia (Bowers v. Hardwick) (Sommella 417). GLAAD representatives made an effort to convince protesters that they would "mess things up” for the rest of the community by interrupting New York's Statue of Liberty bicentennial celebration. They even bargained with police in an attempt to obtain a protest permit blocks away from the actual sight of the bicentennial festivities, out of the public eye (Somella 417).

It was in the spirit of this anger and frustration that Queer writer, Larry Kramer wrote an open letter to GMHC that the New York Native published in January 1987. In his impassioned plea he criticized the organization for their apolitical and 'non-controversial' stance in response to the government's non-policy on AIDS, and argued that,

All the kindness in the world will not stem this
epidemic. Only political action can change the course of events...
Three out of four AIDS cases are still occurring in gay men. Many
millions of people carry the virus. Three out of four AIDS cases are
(Kramer, An Open Letter... 609).

In March of that year, after years of relatively ineffective action taken by the Queer community in response to AIDS, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power was initiated by Larry Kramer and many others who were ready to start an organization specifically for POLITICAL ACTION (Kramer, The Beginning of ACT UP, 614). ACT UP was able to draw so many people to their meeting because, for so long, the Left had done almost nothing to mobilize the Queer community to fight the injustices being committed by the government. They did not mobilize people by repeatedly asking apathetic government officials for support or funding; they got to people by demanding that they see the AIDS crisis for what it really was: an annihilation of their own community with government certification.

Wolf draws out the differences between ACT UP and earlier gay advocacy groups, noting that:

ACT UP was about people doing stuff for themselves. We weren't
being philanthropists. We weren't a vanguard. We were trying to
save our own lives and the lives of people we knew. We were
very materially affected (Sommella, 418).

The tactics of ACT UP were effective because they convinced people that the only way they could get the public and the government to pay attention to AIDS was by doing it themselves.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s ACT UP was able to grab media attention and enough support from Queer communities to keep the group active and highly visible. One of the main goals of the group was to create a public awareness of the gravity of the AIDS crisis and the lack of government response to the disease. With this in mind ACT UP leaders concentrated on doing political protests that would grab media attention; they knew what would draw television cameras to their actions (Sommella 415). The group needed to use the media as a tool to tell the world what was happening (or, rather, what was not happening) with AIDS in the United States, and the media often has a large role in shaping the way the viewing public will perceive certain events and modes of political thought.

Todd Gitlin argues that, "[s]ince the advent of radio broadcasting... social movements have organized, campaigned, and formed their social identities on a floodlit social terrain” (1). Though certainly not functioning as an unquestioned source of information, the "mass media have become core systems for the distribution of ideology” in today's "floodlit” world (Gitlin 2). With the media playing such an important role in dictating the way that many people thematically organize the world the pictures they present of social movements seer themselves into the public mind.

One of Gitlin's key assertions, which is that during their opposition to the Vietnam War, "the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] found it necessary to take the media into account in planning actions, choosing leaders, responding to those leaders, and positions,” applies similarly to the way that ACT UP operated during the late 1980s and early 1990s; the mass media had specific effects upon this organization and played a large part in dictating the way that the public would view their politics and those of other gay and lesbian organizations (15). Once ACT UP became a nationally recognized organization, like SDS, "publicity came to be a dimension of its identity, a component of its reality” (Gitlin, 21).

Though SDS was not an organization that dealt with identity politics (nor did the New Left as a movement deal with identity politics in the way that GLBTTIQ and Queer movements do), it can, in many ways be compared to ACT UP because mass media sources treated each organization as a single-issue group, regardless of its broader political goals. For example, though SDS had previously been a multi-issue organization focusing on various social justice concerns, the media framed the group's anti-war agenda as their single focus (Gitlin 21). Anyone who had not previously been in contact with SDS would assume that the organization existed only to protest the war in Vietnam, though the group actually had a longer, richer, and more in depth, history (Gitlin 130).

Likewise, a huge part of ACT UP's political message was about understanding the ways in which homophobia, racism, and classism (amongst other social systems of discrimination) contributed to government apathy and hostility about AIDS during the Reagan and Bush years and a condescending lack of urgency from the Clinton administration. A question that the liberal media never really asked was perhaps one of the most important: if AIDS was not perceived as a gay disease, or a poor disease, or a Black or Latino/a disease, or a drug user's disease, how would efforts to find a cure and fund treatment programs be drastically different? Rather, the media's coverage of ACT UP tended to focus on questions of their tactics: are they effective or are they too over the top? These patterns are apparent in The New York Times coverage of ACT UP, and the waxing and waning process of the organization itself can be understood through analyzing the Times coverage, I use the The New York Times for two reasons: ACT UP itself began in New York, and the The Times is one of the most widely read and widely respected newspapers in America.

A New York Times article published on July 22, 1988 after an ACT UP protest at Shea Stadium provides an example of early coverage that focused on the group's strategy rather than message. The article "Mainstream Strategy for AIDS Group” touted the Shea Stadium protest as a mark of "the group's growing sophistication and its movement toward more mainstream forms of protest” while maintaining that "disruptive, surgically planned demonstrations are still ACT-UP's hallmark” (Morgan 1). Instead of following an account of the protest with a story about the intended message, the writer included a patronizing quote from a member of the Presidential AIDS Commission. Dr. Burton Lee got the privilege of leveling his critique at the group, and was quoted as stating that ACT UP "'started out being hypercritical and negative, not very constructive with us [the Presidential AIDS Commission], and ended up being constructive... I've urged them to get on the positive side of the issue and to go after the political side” (Morgan, 1). Thus, the news article turns into a story about an unruly group of AIDS activists who are finally "growing up” and calming down.

Gitlin names this paradox, noting that, "[t]he liberal media quietly invoke the need for reform - while disparaging movements that radically oppose the system that needs reforming” (4). The Times staff generally seemed to agree that AIDS was a crisis and that the Reagan and Bush administrations did little to help, but many of the articles they published focused upon the brash tactics of ACT UP. Ironically, ACT UP did focus on grabbing media attention because it was a vital part of getting their messages about AIDS out to the rest of the world, and they often planned actions that the media could not ignore (Sommella 415).

There are certainly examples of ways in which gaining widespread publicity has proved beneficial for social movements. In the case of the antiwar movement, the widespread publicity they received made antiwar sentiments commonplace for many American citizens (Gitlin 243). For ACT UP, widespread media coverage rapidly and powerfully brought AIDS into the public eye; it couldn't be ignored. Within the first three years after ACT UP/New York was founded in 1987 there were 50 chapters around the country, and this was largely due to media coverage that the organization received (Minkowitz 645).

However, the way that The New York Times covered ACT UP did not significantly improve, even though it became clear that the group was really changing conditions for people with HIV/AIDS. In early 1990 an article entitled, "Rude, Rash, Effective, Act-Up Shifts AIDS Policy” began with the proclamation that ACT UP seemed "rude, rash, and paranoid, and virtually impossible to please ... [t]o the businesses, bishops and bureaucrats that they accuse of slowing the fight against AIDS” (DeParle 1). The article then takes a positive turn by commenting about the effectiveness of ACT UP, noting that "the group has not only helped keep the epidemic in the news; it has also helped bring major changes to the way the Federal Government tests and distributes experimental drugs, allowing patients to obtain them much faster” (DeParle 1). However, the article frames the "positive” accomplishments of ACT UP only in terms of their "negative” tactics, thus allowing people to take or leave whether or not the effectiveness of the organization is really worth all of the "offense” they seem to be causing.

Indeed, the news media has something to gain by covering oppositional movements: legitimacy; but demonstrations by opposition movements are often treated "as a potential or actual disruption of legitimate order, not as a statement about the world” (Gitlin 271). Protests are events that occur outside of the acceptable, daily routine before order and normalcy are restored by the prevailing and well-meaning dominant institutions. If this is true of the ways that The New York Times covered many of ACT UP's individual actions, then it is certainly also true of the way that the history of ACT-UP on the whole can be viewed through a body of Times articles that report on its rise and supposed fall. I offer a three-fold explanation for the significant decline in coverage of ACT-UP, and I argue that once ACT-UP stopped receiving significant media attention, the group could no longer function in the same way, and that this shift in media coverage of the movement would change the way many viewed the movement itself and prioritized its goals.

Perhaps most superficially, ACT-UP and their political actions became 'old news' for reporters who are constantly looking for stories that will bring more readers or more viewers to their business. When in 1996 ACT UP dumped AIDS victims' ashes in front of the White House they received little media attention, compared to the first time (during the late 1980s) when the action drew broad attention. The reporter for The New York Times even acknowledged that it "gets harder to get attention as tactics get repetitive” (Goldberg, 6). It should also be noted that many of the original founders of ACT UP and its most passionate activists died of AIDS during the early 1990s; another contribution to the loss of resolve that ACT UP experienced at this time.

This brings me to the second reason for ACT-UP's decline and one of the reasons for the rise in media coverage of groups with gay civil rights agendas and structural goals: ACT UP's critiques of governmental AIDS policy did not match up with mass media perceptions of the Clinton administration. Clinton was dealing with gay activists on the military issue (that is, the right to openly serve in the military), so how bad could he possibly be on the AIDS issue? Furthermore, now that there was this new civil rights lens through which to look at this movement, reporters began to focus on the military question more and more.

Another powerful and dangerous effect that journalists and the mass media can have on a social movement is their decision to frame the opposition in a specific way. Once framed, a news story "rejects or downplays material that is discrepant. A story is a choice, a way of seeing an event that also amounts to a way of screening from sight” (Gitlin 50-1). So, once the "access to the military” frame had been established as the goal for the gay movement, the radical protests or issues surrounding AIDS were presented as significantly less relevant. And there certainly was a feeling amongst many in the gay movement that, if they played their cards right with the Clinton administration, they too could earn "a place at the table”. But the certification of the civil rights strand of the movement came along with a disavowal of politically angry and aggressive tactics like those of ACT-UP.

The third part of my hypothesis about ACT-UP's decline is that media sources portrayed the group's tactics as useless and unnecessary now that the Clinton administration would supposedly listen to their concerns. There was the growing sense that "angry” tactics and radical messages, like those deployed by ACT-UP, were no longer going to get the movement anywhere.

In March 1997, the tenth anniversary of ACT UP, The New York Times ran an article, "Act Up Doesn't Much, Anymore; A Decade-Old Activism of Unmitigated Gall Is Fading,” demonstrating "the extent to which protesters once clamoring at the dining room door have gained a place at the table” (Bruni 1). The article added that "AIDS activism had matured from the attention-getting temper tantrums of a child to the more seasoned, reasoned perspective of an adult,” once again invoking the metaphor of a child growing up and coming into their own (Bruni, 1). The alternative perspective of those who found it necessary to be active outside of the system and power politics was relegated to those who "still participate in what is left of Act Up” as if they were holding on to a way of thinking and doing activism that was long dead (Bruni, 1). The previous Times portrayal of debates over ACT UP's "angry and childish” tactics now allowed them to say that the Queer movement had finally matured by growing out of a need for such politics.

Already in 1998, a Times article presented the Gay/Lesbian and Queer movement as an "inherently factious political movement... [that] has been torn by a struggle between pragmatic homosexuals who seek to work with government and more hostile advocates who tend to view government as an enemy” (Nagourney 33). The hostile advocates, of course, include groups like ACT UP, who "from [their] first demonstration in the Financial District, [were] a repudiation of established gay rights groups from Washington to New York” (Nagourney 33). On the other side of the coin from these naughty Queers is none other than organizations like the "focused and pragmatic” Human Rights Campaign whose "members practice the kind of politics that the street firebrands have either rejected or failed to understand, starting with compromise” (Nagourney 33). Ouch! Interestingly, this article was written in October 1998, weeks after the brutal homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming and days after the Human Rights Campaign chose to endorse the Republican incumbent Senator Alfonse D'Amato in the New York senate race. The article did not condemn the homophobic hatefulness that spurred Shepard's death, but rather the protest days after as "gay demonstrators scrapped with police officers in midtown Manhattan” (Nagourney 33). Receiving praise for its "determined pragmatism” was the HRC and the "nuanced position” the organization took in endorsing anti-choice D'Amato (Nagourney 33). By this time the fracture within GLBTTIQ and Queer movements was fully drawn out and even newsworthy, but The New York Times was ready to side with the Human Rights Campaign and their Washington establishment politics.

When people with AIDS demonstrated against the Clinton administration's role in a "campaign of economic and political blackmail to prevent South Africa and other poor countries from making cheaper, generic copies of AIDS drugs developed with US taxpayer dollars” the Human Rights Campaign "publicly attacked those gay activists” (Nagourney 33). Yes, what we really need in this movement is the biggest, richest organization invoking the Good Gay/Bad Queer dichotomy. The lobbyists at HRC couldn't care less about smaller state and local organizations struggling with funding issues; in fact, Doug Ireland has found that, yearly, HRC spends only a minute fraction of their budget on grassroots organizing, while the large majority goes to maintaining their expensive offices in Washington, DC (Ireland 2). This must be what Doug McAdam was talking about when he said "the establishment of formal movement organizations may create a certain class of individuals who come to value the maintenance of that organization over the realization of movement goals” (55-6).

Furthermore, groups and individuals who have politics similar to those deployed by the Human Rights Campaign have found

a ready audience in the national press because their message
is the one many straight editors want to hear... they find a ready
audience in gay political circles partly because of a structural
problem in the movement: Politics depends more and more on
fundraising and media jockeying, which in turn is increasingly
disconnected from any queer public in which discussion of
strategies, ideals and histories might take place (Warner 12).

No wonder the HRC gets to be touted by The New York Times as the sophisticated, grown up manifestation of gay politics: straight people love them, and they themselves want Queers to be just like Straights.

I have argued here that the mass media has certified the rights-based and legislative agendas of groups like the Human Rights Campaign, but there is evidence that large and nation-oriented movement organizations can alienate and disenfranchise the very people that they are fighting to help. The radical Queer movement is out there and these Queers are following in the tradition of the political tactics and strategies of groups like ACT UP, but the media does not show us these groups. The only things we hear about are 'gays in the military' or 'gay marriage,' but so many Queers are opposed to the military and to the institution of marriage. The mass media is allowing the GLBTTIQ and Queer movements to be seen solely as a bid for inclusion into the institutions that define our straight, patriarchal and colonialist society. Radical Queers must use the media to spread their radical messages about social change, and to counter the images that supposedly represent the GLBTTIQ and Queer movements. Being Queer is much more than a style of dress or a pattern of consumption, rather, as Blasius argues, "the way of life of lesbian and gay people is much more a function of an ascetic becoming gay or becoming lesbian through a learning approach to life in the context of a lesbian or gay community” (Blasius 670). In other words, being Queer is more than anyone can buy in a store or find at a gay pride parade. There is an entire Queer history and (as Blasius contends) an ethic to gay and lesbian existence; "contemporary gay and lesbian people can adapt to radically changing circumstances and treatment of them within a given society... [and in fact] the era of AIDS [ushered in] 'for the first time [a] process of initiating and socializing gay and lesbian youths” (Blasius 651).

So much of we hear now about the Gay/Lesbian and Queer movement in the United States is fake, but that's all most of the world sees through the media. The American media tends to propagate the idea that the only gay people are rich white men, or the only movement that exists is a group of lobbyists in Washington, DC. We must cut out all of the superficiality; we have to be whole again. We must learn from the history of such great movements as the Civil Rights and Anti-Vietnam War movements, and find a more effective way to show the world that the Queer movement is varied, intelligent, and versatile, and much much more than what is shown through the mainstream media filters.

Works cited::
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