The polite thing to do

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

1 Scopus citations


In order for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered (LGBT) rights to be advanced, the average American need not be genuinely convinced that every sexual orientation is deserving of equal treatment. Personal intentions matter a great deal in morality, but they hardly matter at all in manners. In their efforts to spur stronger governmental responses to the AIDS crisis, members of ACT UP self-consciously contested the prevailing norms of courtesy that disparaged public displays of anger and treated LGBT sexuality as an object of shame. But LGBT efforts must be more nuanced than that because courtesy is not simply a system of rules manufactured to serve the interests of the powerful. Rather than unrealistically attempting to reconcile stubborn conflicts or romantically wishing away deep differences, courtesy attempts to achieve social peace and smooth interaction among people by requiring them to conform to an artificial code of decent behavior whether they actually like or respect one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Future of Gay Rights in America
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781135422646
ISBN (Print)9780415950770
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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