"Deconstructed and Constructive Logics: Explaining Inclusive Language Change in Queer Nonprofits, 1998-2016."
The U.S. is presently in the midst of a long, historic cultural transformation – redefining our collective representation to be inclusive of diverse sexual and gender identities. A core logic advancing this inclusion is to discursively recognize an expanded set of discrete, deconstructed identities – gay and lesbian expands to LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, etc. But a newer logic stipulates that inclusion arises through using constructive identities that encompass many fluid experiences under a single term (e.g. “queer”). To understand inclusive change, we leverage a unique meso-level site of cultural (re)production: service and advocacy nonprofit organizations. Using event history models, we investigate inclusive language change by 735 organizations from 1998 to 2016. We supplement analyses of administrative data with semi-structured interviews with thirteen nonprofit leaders, providing converging evidence. Findings showcase how bottom-up, horizontal, and top-down pressures explain both the inclusion of discrete identity labels and the shift to constructive logics.