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Thu Jun 10, 2021, 01:43 PM

Zapping: The boisterous protest tactic that ignited early LGBTQ activism

Charles Silverstein was a grad student in psychology when he attended a workshop at a behavioral therapy convention in October 1972. The topic was aversion therapy, a form of pseudoscientific conversion therapy in which gay men were administered electric shocks and other stimuli to “cure” their sexual attraction to other men.

But Silverstein wasn’t there to learn. He was there to shut the workshop down. As a leading psychologist took the podium, Silverstein hurried to the front of the room and introduced himself as a gay activist.

“We’re going to interrupt your presentation,” he told the speaker. “We’ll give you 10 minutes to speak, and then we’re taking over.” He made good on his promise, prompting chaos in the presentation room as angry protesters and participants began to debate the issue.

The speaker had just been “zapped.” Pioneered by gay liberation activists in the early 1970s, zapping combined protest with performance art.

The tactic was deceptively simple. It involved sudden, loud, brief action. If it interrupted business or an event, all the better. Designed to instigate media coverage and disrupt the status quo, zaps were theatrical, boisterous, and impossible to ignore. Organized on short notice, zaps were a way to confront discrimination directly and remind the public of the existence of the LGBTQ movement and the possibility of pride in a marginalized identity.


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Reply Zapping: The boisterous protest tactic that ignited early LGBTQ activism (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Jun 2021 OP
AllaN01Bear Jun 2021 #1

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:00 PM

1. wonder if this needs to be done again.

not the electroshock "therapy" but the zap to remind the "religious" right and others nowadays on what they are doing

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