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Is the Gay Movement a Political Movement?


Make no mistake about it, the gay movement is a political movement. If there is any doubt, then consider just two of the prominent gay organizations. With an annual budget in 2014 of nearly $45 million,1 The Human Rights Campaign once described itself on its website as “America’s largest gay and lesbian organization” which “[E]ffectively lobbies Congress; mobilizes grassroots action in diverse communities; invests strategically to elect a fair-minded Congress; and increases public understanding through innovative education and communication strategies.”2 Likewise, according to their website, the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce “works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community.”3 Certainly a movement which includes multiple well-funded organizations that build grassroots political efforts and lobby Congress can be considered a political movement. And every political movement has an agenda. After all, it would be a waste of time to lobby Congress for an unknown benefit.

Yet even beyond this, there is another reason why people reference a gay agenda. In 1990, Harvard-trained gay authors Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen wrote the book After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 1990’s, in which they presented a six-point comprehensive strategy for changing America’s attitude toward homosexuality. According to the authors, the purpose of this book was to expand and detail an already existing four-point agenda into what they called “a practical agenda” for homosexuals. Recounting the origins of this agenda, they wrote, “In February 1988 … a ‘war conference’ of 175 leading gay activists, representing organizations from across the land, convened in Warrenton, Virginia, to establish a four-point agenda for the gay movement.”4 Certainly, when 175 leading gay activists representing organizations from across the country convene for a “war conference” to establish an “agenda for the gay movement,” it is fair to view the gay movement as an organized political movement which is following an agenda.


1. Brown, “Human Rights.”
2. Brown, A Queer Thing, 36.
3. “About Us.”
4. Brown, A Queer Thing, 32–33.

Works Cited

1. “About Us.” National LGBTQ Task Force. Accessed September 23, 2014. .
2. Brown, Michael. A Queer Thing Happened to America. Concord: EqualTime Books, 2011.
3. Brown, Michael. “Human Rights Campaign Accuses Christian Conservatives of Inciting Fear and Hate.” The Christian Post, September 22, 2014. Accessed September 23, 2014. .


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Author: Timothy Zebell, 2015