THE OVERHAULING OF STRAIGHT AMERICA
Fascinating look back into the gay rights media plans from the 1980s:
...The first order of business is desensitization of the American public concerning gays and gay rights. To desensitize the public is to help it view homosexuality with indifference instead of with keen emotion. Ideally, we would have straights register differences in sexual preference the way they register different tastes for ice cream or sports games: she likes strawberry and I like vanilla; he follows baseball and I follow football. No big deal.
At least in the beginning, we are seeking public desensitization and nothing more. We do not need and cannot expect a full "appreciation" or "understanding" of homosexuality from the average American. You can forget about trying to persuade the masses that homosexuality is a good thing. But if only you can get them to think that it is just another thing, with a shrug of their shoulders, then your battle for legal and social rights is virtually won. And to get to shoulder-shrug stage, gays as a class must cease to appear mysterious, alien, loathsome and contrary. A large-scale media campaign will be required in order to change the image of gays in America. And any campaign to accomplish this turnaround should do six things.
 TALK ABOUT GAYS AND GAYNESS AS LOUDLY AND AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.
The principle behind this advice is simple: almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it at close quarters and among your acquaintances. The acceptability of the new behavior will ultimately hinge on the number of one's fellows doing it or accepting it. One may be offended by its novelty at first--many, in times past, were momentarily scandalized by "streaking,'' eating goldfish, and premarital sex. But as long as Joe Six-pack feels little pressure to perform likewise, and as long as the behavior in question presents little threat to his physical and financial security, he soon gets used to it and life goes on. The skeptic may still shake his head and think "people arc crazy these days," but over time his objections are likely to become more reflective, more philosophical, less emotional.... The main thing is to talk about gayness until the issue becomes thoroughly tiresome.
... In the early stages of any campaign to reach straight America, the masses should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex should be downplayed and gay rights should be reduced to an abstract social question as much as possible. First let the camel get his nose inside the tent--only later his unsightly derriere!
Where we talk is important. The visual media, film and television, are plainly the most powerful image-makers in Western civilization. The average American household watches over seven hours of TV daily. Those hours open up a gateway into the private world of straights, through which a Trojan horse might be passed.
..... When conservative churches condemn gays, there are only two things we can do to confound the homophobia of true believers. First, we can use talk to muddy the moral waters. This means publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches, raising theological objections of our own about conservative interpretations of biblical teachings, and exposing hatred and inconsistency. Second, we can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology....
 PORTRAY GAYS AS VICTIMS, NOT AS AGGRESSIVE CHALLENGERS.
In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be cast as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to assume the role of protector. If gays are presented, instead, as a strong and prideful tribe promoting a rigidly nonconformist and deviant lifestyle, they are more likely to be seen as a public menace that justifies resistance and oppression....
...A media campaign to promote the Gay Victim image should make use of symbols which reduce the mainstream's sense of threat, which lower it's guard, and which enhance the plausibility of victimization. In practical terms, this means that jaunty mustachioed musclemen would keep very low profile in gay commercials and other public presentations, while sympathetic figures of nice young people, old people, and attractive women would be featured. (It almost goes without saying that groups on the farthest margin of acceptability such as NAMBLA, must play no part at all in such a campaign: suspected child-molesters will never look like victims.)
Now, there are two different messages about the Gay Victim that are worth communicating. First, the mainstream should be told that gays are victims of fate, in the sense that most never had a choice to accept or reject their sexual preference. The message must read: "As far as gays can tell, they were born gay, just as you were born heterosexual or white or black or bright or athletic. Nobody ever tricked or seduced them; they never made a choice, and are not morally blameworthy. What they do isn't willfully contrary - it's only natural for them. This twist of fate could as easily have happened to you!"....
... But the plain fact is that the gay community is weak and must manipulate the powers of the weak, including the play for sympathy. In any case, we compensate for the negative aspect of this gay victim appeal under Principle 4. (Below)
The second message would portray gays as victims of society. The straight majority does not recognize the suffering it brings to the lives of gays and must be shown: graphic pictures of brutalized gays; dramatizations of job and housing insecurity, loss of child custody, and public humiliation: and the dismal list goes on...
 GIVE PROTECTORS A JUST CAUSE.
.... Our campaign should not demand direct support for homosexual practices, should instead take anti-discrimination as its theme. The right to free speech, freedom of beliefs, freedom of association, due process and equal protection of laws-these should be the concerns brought to mind by our campaign.
It is especially important for the gay movement to hitch its cause to accepted standards of law and justice because its straight supporters must have at hand a cogent reply to the moral arguments of its enemies. The homophobes clothe their emotional revulsion in the daunting robes of religious dogma, so defenders of gay rights must be ready to counter dogma with principle.
 MAKE GAYS LOOK GOOD.
In order to make a Gay Victim sympathetic to straights you have to portray him as Everyman. But an additional theme of the campaign should be more aggressive and upbeat: to offset the increasingly bad press that these times have brought to homosexual men and women, the campaign should paint gays as superior pillars of society....
The honor roll of prominent gay or bisexual men and women is truly eye popping. From Socrates to Shakespeare, from Alexander the Great to Alexander Hamilton, from Michelangelo to Walt Whitman, from Sappho to Gertrude Stein, the list is old hat to us but shocking news to heterosexual America. In no time, a skillful and clever media campaign could have the gay community looking like the veritable fairy godmother to Western Civilization.
Along the same lines, we shouldn't overlook the Celebrity Endorsement. The celebrities can be straight (God bless you, Ed Asner, wherever you are) or gay.
 MAKE THE VICTIMIZERS LOOK BAD.
At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights-long after other gay ads have become commonplace-it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified. (This will be all the more necessary because, by that time, the entrenched enemy will have quadrupled its output of vitriol and disinformation.) Our goal is here is twofold. First, we seek to replace the mainstream's self-righteous pride about its homophobia with shame and guilt. Second, we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes whose secondary traits and beliefs disgust middle America. These images might include: the Ku Klux Klan demanding that gays be burned alive or castrated; bigoted southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged; menacing punks, thugs, and convicts speaking coolly about the "fags" they have killed or would like to kill; a tour of Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed.
A campaign to vilify the victimizers is going to enrage our most fervid enemies, of course. But what else can we say? The shoe fits, and we should make them try it on for size, with all of America watching.
.....More at the link.