One of the main purposes of this site is to provide resources for teachers interested in discussing LGBT rights and political history. I had an opportunity to give a guest lecture in a political rhetoric class today on the history of LGBT advocacy. Even given the Queer Rhetoric Project’s early state, I was pleased to find that I had examples to share from most major elements of that history (I supplemented some early Homophile movment statements. They’re on my agenda for the site, but not a high priority.)
My lecture tried to highlite the diversity of rhetorical approaches. For example Harvey Milk’s electoral politics, ACT-UP’s bold stand against the country’s insistence on ignoring the AIDS crisis, and the 1993 March on Washington’s broad progressive issue platform.
We concluded by discussing the role of presidents on issues of LGBT rights. From Clinton’s introduction of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to Obama’s recent signing of federal hate crimes legislation. We discussed what has changed in that time, and what hasn’t. In particular, what is the role of the president as moral leader? Why has no president championed gay rights like John F. Kennedy & Lyndon Johnson once did for civil rights?
I leave tomorrow for Chicago to attend the annual conference for the National Communication Association. I hope some of my collegues at other universities can share their knowledge and expertise with this site. I want the Queer Rhetoric Project to be a tool for you, so please suggest a speech, comment here below, or email me with your thoughts and suggestions.