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June 25, 2012 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Obama evolved. The NAACP evolved. The NCLR has evolved. How do you get your friends and family to evolve into support for LGBT rights? The Movement Advancement Project's excellent Talking About LGBT Issues series gives research-driven rhetorical and messaging frameworks that work best for meeting reluctant folks where they are. They include warnings about civil rights framings, how to hit emotional marks that emphasize commonality and cover things like adoption, marriage, transgender etiquette and employment protections.
posted by klangklangston (17 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
The organization that I work for has adapted this research as part of the Breakthrough Conversations project, which has recently been adapted for public, individual use here by the Courage Campaign.
posted by klangklangston at 3:14 PM on June 25, 2012


Obama evolved.

I'm unconvinced. I think America's position has evolved rapidly and magnificently from the grass roots over the last several years, which tipped Obama's political calculations from "nothing to gain except with a base I already have" to "nothing to lose, and possibly some recovery with my wavering base to gain".
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:45 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm unconvinced.

It's a framing device, and not the conversation. There are plenty of open conversations about how Obama has failed America; this one is about MAP.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:52 PM on June 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I would argue that Obama's evolution is relevant, because it's what a lot of people in the squishy middle are going to be doing over the next few years: realizing that "coming out" as LGBTQ-friendly won't subject them to the scorn of their community or allegations of secret gayness (at least, not damaging scorn or allegations).
posted by Etrigan at 4:04 PM on June 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would argue that discussing Obama is going to lead to a Camp Hill Disaster derailment, as has repeatedly happened in the last few weeks when the subject of Obama is interjected into a thread, which does the MAP talking about LGBT project a terrible disservice.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:09 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have to say I'm a little bothered that there are two "Talking about LGBT with X Minority" ones.

I also wish they had options that didn't require you to download.
posted by corb at 5:28 PM on June 25, 2012


"I have to say I'm a little bothered that there are two "Talking about LGBT with X Minority" ones."

Why?
posted by klangklangston at 5:50 PM on June 25, 2012


Because it assumes that minorities are special snowflakes that need special talks, as opposed to the regular talks that are just for humans. If they had a "Talking about LGBT with White People" as well, I wouldn't find it as offensive, but just singling out two large minorities seems iffy.
posted by corb at 6:59 PM on June 25, 2012


If they had a "Talking about LGBT with White People" as well, I wouldn't find it as offensive, but just singling out two large minorities seems iffy.

In the terms of the metaphor that was recently introduced by a mefite, being a white person is the default setting in the videogame of life as viewed in the US, and everything else is a more challenging level.

So take most of the conversations and such as being set on default, and these other conversations as being about specific other mods or playmodes.

It's really not insulting or offensive to suggest that two large minorities in the US might have different cultural backgrounds which lead them to look different at LGBT issues and would make anyone approaching them in a conversation want to do it differently. If anything, that's wildly celebratory and acknowledging of the differences that are present within our society, and pays tribute and respect to the diversity which makes up this country.
posted by hippybear at 7:08 PM on June 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Because it assumes that minorities are special snowflakes that need special talks, as opposed to the regular talks that are just for humans. If they had a "Talking about LGBT with White People" as well, I wouldn't find it as offensive, but just singling out two large minorities seems iffy."

Don't assume that there's one default for how to talk to humans about cultural issues. I know you're coming at this from a place where you've got good intentions, but leaping to find offense here is actually pretty myopic.

Specifically, these are based on research done with a fair number of focus groups, both demographically segregated and in aggregate. The research has found that different cultural groups — of which African Americans and Latinos are the most prevalent — respond differently to framings than other cultural groups do. For example, the "civil rights" framing that's generally effective with whites tends to make African Americans respond by pointing out differences between their Civil Rights movement and gay rights in general. Likewise, if I'm talking to a Latino, I might emphasize Cesar Chavez's support of the gay rights movement, and I can be more loose with the civil rights framing. But the focus groups also show that using a framing of respect is much more effective with Latinos than it is with other demographics, so switching to that earlier in the conversation is more likely to be fruitful.

The inclusion of specific guides for each of those cultures is even more important because LGBT rights are frequently dismissed within people of color communities as a purely white concern, where other identity projects supersede, something that can be especially alienating for LGBT PoC. So while we'd also likely be well served by guides for talking with Asian/Pacific Islanders, and while there's the healthy caveat that within communities there's still significant variance in opinion and receptiveness to framings, you're showing your ass a bit in complaining about it.

(On preview, Hippybear hits some of the same points.)
posted by klangklangston at 7:20 PM on June 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


And for overviews, the ally's guides all start with an assumption that you'll be talking to a representative sample, i.e. plurality white but with further advice on other audiences.
posted by klangklangston at 7:22 PM on June 25, 2012


LGBT issues are really it in this country right now and I hope the pressure doesn't let up. Real political acknowledgement of gay rights and the redress of marijuana prohibition are my top two currently. These issues can no longer be ignored there is far too much anguish and persecution happening thanks to their taboo characterization by mainstream media.
posted by I've wasted my life at 7:39 PM on June 25, 2012


From the Terminology Guide: Transgender is an adjective, not a noun. Be careful not to call someone “a transgender.” Do not add an unnecessary “-ed” to the term (“transgendered”), which connotes a condition of some kind.

I did not know this, and have said "transgendered" in the past. I will go forth and sin no more.
posted by jcreigh at 10:00 PM on June 25, 2012


In general, calling anybody a noun instead of an adjective is a warning sign that you might be talking to somebody with unreconstructed views, shall we say: "females" "a black" "the gays" and so on.

I've heard transgender people call themselves transgendered but that's on the other side of the Atlantic.

Obama evolved.

It's actually better if Obama evolved from political considerations rather than courageous personal beliefs, because that really shows LGBT acceptance is becoming mainstream. You don't have to be sincere, just fake it.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:07 PM on June 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by jessamyn at 7:43 AM on June 26, 2012


Thanks for posting this. I'm in an ongoing 'debate' with a family member and I've had no success at all; looks like I've been doing it wrong. It's great to see tactics based on research about what works, and I'm happy to give them a whirl.
posted by harriet vane at 9:14 PM on June 26, 2012


If you register with the Breakthrough Conversations, they can use that to track how well your conversation worked, generating more data for future research.
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 PM on June 26, 2012


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