Authenticity, Citizenship and Accommodation: LGBT Rights in a Red State [article]

(:Unkn) Unknown, University, My, Jayasinhji Jhala
2020
"Authenticity, Citizenship and Accommodation: LGBT Rights in a Red State" examines the discourse around volunteerism, exceptionalism, and queer citizenship that emerged within the context of a statewide (anti-gay) ballot initiative campaign in the American Southwest. I argue that the ways in which local volunteers and activists define themselves and their attempts to defeat the ballot initiative is tied to the struggle over the authority to represent local LGBT organizational culture and an
more » ... culture and an emergent New West identity. In such a way, local debates over authentic western lifestyles that divide regional communities intertwine with intergenerational debates over gay liberation and rights frameworks, and the polarized discourse on blue and red states which have dominated the U.S. political climate of the past decade. While statewide campaign leaders with a base in Phoenix (the state capital) focused on polling data and messaging in order to stop the passage of the amendment, many Tucson activists and organizational leaders tied to the LGBT community center sought to strategize a long-term grassroots approach to change hearts and minds. Within this debate over campaign strategy and internal decision-making, both groups drew attention to the differences between the metropolitan areas. This regional example speaks to the ways in which established theoretical frameworks anthropologists utilize to understand social movements may prove insufficient for understanding the diversity that exists within the everyday processes of collective action. The internal messaging war that spilled outside of the confines of the campaign steering committee meetings into the pages of the statewide gossip and newspaper editorial sections also speaks to the ways in which official declarations of ideological stance should not be taken as the actual intent of those seeking change. One may shape one's personal story to be on message, choose to defy those constraints, or use the rhetorical strategy of the message without actually committing to the [...]
doi:10.34944/dspace/2231 fatcat:whekxn3w4zbvtin3sbxpoq4biq