Topics: LGBT social movements, LGBT, Social movement Pages: 1 (287 words) Published: November 6, 2013
Social movements have become a highly studied rhetorical genre; yet despite this, analysis of the most vocal and controversial movement of the past two decades, the gay rights movement, appears to be lacking. This essay contributes to this area of study by analyzing Urvashi Vaid’s keynote speech at the 1993 March on Washington. This paper builds upon Cathcart’s definition of social movements; he argued that social movements are created through conflict over the morals of society, which generates a dialectical tension. The Christian Right provides strong counter-rhetorical arguments, which help to fully establish gay rights as a social movement. We argue that Vaid’s interpretation of the Christian right ultimately establish them as anti-American and places the gay rights movement in a superior position by emphasizing how the right is wrong morally, spiritually, and politically. In order to distance her opponents from the positive connotation of the word “right,” Vaid redefines them with terms that have negative connotations in our society such as “extremist” and “supremacist.” By successfully separating the Christian right from the beliefs of Christianity in general, Vaid creates an opportunity to criticize the morals of this group without condemning the church by using terms such as “supremacist.” This essay further examines how Vaid enhanced her ego by using counter-cultural and culturetypal rhetoric, as developed by rhetorical scholars Lucaites and Condit. Vaid uses culturetypal rhetoric to link the gay community to key values of political and social life; she recharacterized the gay and lesbian movement to demonstrate that this group does not just support democracy and freedom, but that they exemplify these concepts in action. This paper concludes by discussing how past views of the LGBT movement are still alive today; yet these STUDENT
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