JCCC Honors Journal


The purpose of this paper is to present an understanding of how the campaign to advance the recognition of homophobia as a social problem started and subsequently evolved into the modern gay rights movement. Best's work (2008) presents a natural history model of a successful social problem campaign as a cyclical one, fueled by an interactive dialog occurring between actors operating within six different stages; claimsmaking, media coverage, public reaction, policy making, social problems work, and policy outcomes. Furthermore, Best asserts that this campaign cycle is occurring within a social structure that provides or limits access to beneficial resources and persuasive rhetoric; the quality and quantity of which determine the success of the movement. This model and social context framework were the tools used to analyze which historical events are most responsible for effecting the trajectory of the social movement process and why an event either contributed to successful diffusion or fell flat during the time period it occurred.