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The Gay Marriage GenerationHow the LGBTQ Movement Transformed American Culture$
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Peter Hart-Brinson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479800513

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479800513.001.0001

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The Imagination and Attribution of Homosexuality

The Imagination and Attribution of Homosexuality

Chapter:
(p.129) 5 The Imagination and Attribution of Homosexuality
Source:
The Gay Marriage Generation
Author(s):

Peter Hart-Brinson

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479800513.003.0006

This chapter asks whether people’s beliefs about what causes people to be lesbian or gay can explain attitudes about gay marriage and why public opinion changed. Analyzing the metaphors and analogies that people use to talk about gay marriage shows that it is the imagination, not the attribution, of homosexuality that can explain the cohort-related variation in attitudes and discourses. Young cohorts use metaphors and analogies that characterize homosexuality as identity more often and in ways that construct homosexuality as morally equivalent to heterosexuality. By contrast, older cohorts use metaphors and analogies that characterize homosexuality as behavior more often and in ways that construct homosexuality as deviant. The cohorts’ implicit imagination of homosexuality, as measured in metaphors and analogies, therefore shapes their explicit attitudes, beliefs, and opinions about gay marriage.

Keywords:   attribution, imagination, metaphor, analogy, homosexuality, identity, behavior, discourse, interview

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