Anti-LGBT Activism: Same As It Ever Was

By Tina Fetner

Mary Bernstein’s 2015 address in the June 29 (3) issue of Gender & Society asks “what is next?” for the LGBT movement, now that the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage throughout the United States. As someone who has studied the anti-LGBT activism of the religious right (Fetner, 2008), I would put Bernstein’s question to this movement as well: what will the religious right do now that they have lost their 20-year battle against same-sex marriage in the United States? Indeed, they have already begun a new wave of activism to marginalize LGBT people and deny these groups equal rights, and it looks very similar to their activism of the past.

Anita BryantIn 1977, Anita Bryant formed the first anti-gay organization to fight against equal rights for lesbians and gay men. She named her organization “Save Our Children,” and she claimed that gay men were sexual predators. The goal of gay activists, she argued, was to have access to children so that they could sexually abuse them and “recruit” them into the gay “lifestyle.” According to Bryant and other anti-gay activists of her era, LGBT anti-discrimination bills guaranteed access to children, mostly because they prevented schools from firing gay teachers. Bryant’s organization was on the forefront of anti-gay activism of the religious right, and from the start, this activism cultivated fear out of lies about sexual violence. Continue reading “Anti-LGBT Activism: Same As It Ever Was”

Heteronormativity and LGBTQ Parenting

By Kate Henley Averett

Averett_blog_photo_10.8.15_jl.jpgResearch has shown that a preference for gender-normative behavior in children is linked to a belief that children are, by default, heterosexual. But do LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) parents share this belief? In this article, I address this question by looking at how, why, and in what contexts LGBTQ parents resist the heteronormative imperative that their children behave in gender-normative ways. Through in-depth interviews with 18 LGBTQ couples with young children, I find that these parents draw upon their own childhood experiences of having their gender and sexual identities (mis)recognized  as they seek to provide their children some degree of freedom from strict, binary, gendered expectations. These parents use a strategy that I call “the gender buffet,” in which they provide their children with a variety of gendered options for clothing, toys, and activities so that their children can exercise some agency in how they express their gendered sense of self.

Continue reading “Heteronormativity and LGBTQ Parenting”