Mark Regnerus: Leftist Victories Due to Marketing, Messaging, Framing

Once in a while a conservative touches on the point which I make almost daily — there’s an information war underway and our side had better learn how to fight in it and win it.

Here is Mark Regnerus writing at — note his use of the words marketing, messaging, and framing:

Before the year 2000, no U.S. state recognized same-sex marriage. By 2015, it was legal throughout the U.S. and most of Western Europe. Before 2015 most Americans knew nothing about transgender issues. Within a year transgender issues are on the front pages of newspapers every day and schools may be forced to provide special bathrooms for trans students. The pace of change in the sexual revolution is not just rapid. It’s accelerating around the world. Why?

MercatorNet invited several scholars to answer this question, and this is the first entry in their symposium.

MARK REGNERUS: It’s been a feat not of reason but of marketing.

Although I’m a scholar quite familiar with the battles over “what the science says,” I’m convinced the credit here belongs to marketing. Social conservatives have been outmanned and outgunned, but perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in messaging about marriage. Now the messaging has shifted directions a few degrees. One could ask why it is conservatives continue to be so outmaneuvered, which may seem unlikely given the tiny population of persons who self-identify as transgendered. The answer is not to be found in science or in history — that is, in being on the right or wrong side of it — but in the contemporary wedding of marketing in the service of matters of sexuality. The key to shifting sentiments about sexuality is in “framing.”

Framing is about the social construction of a phenomenon, and concerns how effectively a matter comes to be perceived by a group of people. Lots of concerns in numerous domains of our lives are affected by framing. In this particular case, however, bathroom or locker room access and “comfort” for the three-in-1000 persons who self-identify as transgender appears to be increasingly framed as a compelling issue that the population at large — and educators everywhere in particular — should care about. And not just as one of many issues people should care about, but rather a uniquely pressing matter that requires solutions now, not after years of reflection, observation, discernment, and even experimentation. This is evidence of successful framing.

Read more: The Stream

Image credit: Mark Regnerus/