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Does “Gay Agenda” Imply Something Sinister?


Why is there such an aversion to linking homosexuality with an agenda? In 2006, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, commonly known as GLAAD, listed “gay agenda” and “homosexual agenda” among their list of “Offensive Terminology to Avoid.” They wrote, “Notions of a ‘homosexual agenda’ are rhetorical inventions of anti-gay extremists seeking to portray as sinister the lesbian and gay civil rights movement.”1 Is GLAAD correct in inferring that “agenda” indicates sinister intent? The answer to the question must be, “No.” 

History does not support the suggestion that “agenda” implies something sinister. Indeed, the civil rights movement frequently refers to their efforts as a “civil rights agenda.” Articles can be found such as “The Unfinished Civil Rights Agenda” and “A New Civil Rights Agenda: A New Leadership Is Making a Difference.” Even the Citizen’s Commission on Civil Rights refers to their efforts as an agenda on their website, saying that “Its work is grounded in the belief that the civil rights agenda benefits the entire country, not just particular interest groups.”2 Likewise, the feminist movement freely refers to the “feminist agenda.” On the National Organization for Women’s website, articles can be found such as “NOW’s Progressive Feminist Agenda for Peace,” and in Australia, the feminist movement even sports the website .3 Clearly the use of the term “agenda” for a political movement is nothing new, and the term is not inherently sinister.


1. Brown, A Queer Thing, 25-26.
2. Ibid, 41.
3. Ibid, 41-42.

Works Cited

1. Brown, Michael. A Queer Thing Happened to America. Concord: EqualTime Books, 2011.


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Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015