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It Gets Popular: Legacies of LGBT Media Activism in the Digital Age

Fri, May 26, 8:00 to 9:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 310AB

Abstract

This paper relies on a historical and discursive analysis of the conditions that precipitated the emergence of the It Gets Better Project to better understand both legacies of LGBT media activism and how technology and participation are shaping new modes of social and political action. While the sudden popularity of It Gets Better presented a unique moment for LGBT politics in the digital age, this paper argues that the roots of the campaign can indeed be traced to long-held practices in LGBT media histories and video activism. Investigating the antecedents of this type of participatory action before social media also reveals the evolution of the ideologies and rhetoric of LGBT movements from collective action frames to more personal and diffused connection action. Studying these changes informs the emergence of widespread LGBT discourse and video practices online throughout the past twenty years.

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