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The Path to Gay RightsHow Activism and Coming Out Changed Public Opinion$
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Jeremiah J. Garretson

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479822133

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479822133.001.0001

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Coming Out, Entertainment Television, and the Youth Revolt

Coming Out, Entertainment Television, and the Youth Revolt

(p.148) 6 Coming Out, Entertainment Television, and the Youth Revolt
The Path to Gay Rights

Jeremiah J. Garretson

NYU Press

This chapter begins by describing the dramatic increase in direct contact of the American public with LGBTQ people documented using polling data. Trends in depictions of LGBTQ people on television and film are outlined, which mirror the expansion of direct contact with LGBTQs. These two factors---direct contact and meditated contact---are processed in similar ways psychologically according to affective liberalization. Both are predicted to be more effective at attitude change among younger people. The theory is then empirically tested using four different expansive cross-time public opinion datasets. All four analyses of the data-sets come to same conclusion, contact with LGBTQs (mediated and interpersonal) explains all the distinctive features of attitude change---its large magnitude, its timing, its broadness across specific gay rights issues, and its concentration among the millennial generation.

Keywords:   youth, culture, coming out, entertainment, attitude change, contact effects, contact theory, para-social contact, mediated contact, intergroup contact

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