This is a principle that will work much more often against sexual and gender diversities, especially when they are framed as a challenge to the authority of a system. Many campaigns against the rights of sexual and gender minorities frame these as posing a threat to the authority of the system, for example by claiming that sexual and gender diversities would lead to the “collapse of society” or to “the destruction of traditional values”.

But the entry point for LGBTI campaigners could be to call on sources of authority which are supporting sexual and gender diversities such as the international medical profession (eg by flagging the 1990 WHO decision to take homosexuality out of the list of mental disorders) or international institutions such as the European Union or the United Nations. Though this might be a double-edged sword too, as these institutions might not be recognized by the campaign’s target group as sources of authority or might even be seen as competing with other more legitimate sources (like local religious leaders, who often oppose the EU or the UN as “foreign agents”).

The notion of authority is also very important in contexts where legal or judicial changes were secured in socially hostile settings, and where social transformation campaigns could base part of their messaging on the authority of the State, the Congress, the courts, etc.

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In this campaign in South Africa, the organisers used the authority of Desmond Tutu 

Interaction !

Why do you think the organisers of Rainbow Africa chose Desmond Tutu to convey their message?

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