Interesting article in MercatorNet.
Before the year 2000, no US state recognized same-sex marriage. By 2015, it was legal throughout the US and most of Western Europe. Before 2015 most Americans knew nothing about transgender issues. Within a year transgender issues are on the front pages of newspapers every day and schools may be forced to provide special bathrooms for trans students. The pace of change in the sexual revolution is not just rapid. It’s accelerating around the world. Why?
MercatorNet invited several scholars to answer this question, and today we begin publishing their answers.
MARK REGNERUS: It’s been a feat not of reason but of marketing
Although I’m a scholar quite familiar with the battles over “what the science says,” I’m convinced the credit here belongs to marketing. Social conservatives have been outmanned and outgunned, but perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in messaging about marriage. Now the messaging has shifted directions a few degrees. One could ask why it is conservatives continue to be so outmaneuvered, which may seem unlikely given the tiny population of persons who self-identify as transgendered. The answer is not to be found in science or in history—that is, in being on the right or wrong side of it—but in the contemporary wedding of marketing in the service of matters of sexuality. The key to shifting sentiments about sexuality is in “framing.”
Professor Regnerus links the marketing of progressive narratives to the ability of pressure groups to access federal funds and spend those funds effectively. Hardly a surprising conclusion, we've seen it before with many other issues from smoking to climate change.
Hence framing, and the money to pay to put it to effective use, appear to be a key reason (if not the pivotal reason) for the swift shift from legal discourse around same-sex marriage to that of transgender kids and bathroom access—and with it, a more privileged place for nonheterosexuality and its expressions in the American (and eventually foreign) educational systems. Without effective framing, we would not be seeing the continued rapid pace of change in the domain of sex and sexuality. Dominance in the domain of narrative, far more than in science, has dogged conservatives. It’s been a feat not of reason but of marketing.
Forget democracy, this is how things are really done.