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Thursday, September 15, 2016

We're Here, We're Queer, and We Like to Say Hello

That was one of the chants by a crowd on Gollege Green today as I was heading toward Penn's Van Pelt Library.

When I first saw it I worried it might be part of the recent neo-puritan reaction to the "scandal" about a sexually oriented email sent to some freshwomen inviting them to a hookup party. It turned out instead to be a pro-LGBT protest in response to a handful of fundamentalist street preachers. The latter had a sign reading, "No one is born homosexual." After the chant under way as I approached, "Love trumps hate," died down, I volunteered through cupped hands, "No one is born a bigoted fundamentalist!" Another protester commented, "No, they have to be brainwashed!"

Speaking of brainwashing, while the term is probably apt for most homophobic street preachers, it isn't so much for people who are simply propagandized by right-wing talk radio. So, in preparation for an event this evening featuring a documentary about the rise of such media, I've printed out a number of copies of Margaret Singer's article "Thought Reform Exists: Organized, Programmatic Influence," incorporating a table comparing and contrasting the different varieties of social influence and persuasion programs, and will make them available at the event.

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