Online Framing of LGBT’s Community Against the Brazilian’s “Gay Cure”: The Judiciary and the Question of Democratic Legitimacy

Friday, 20 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Tatiana TERRA RUEDIGER, FGV - DAPP (Public Policies Analysis Board), Brazil
Paula DUARTE, FGV - DAPP (Public Policies Analysis Board), Brazil
This paper’s objective is to analyse the online debate of Brazilian civil society regarding law 01/1999 that prohibits psychologists to treat homosexuality as a pathology and, therefore, to offer treatment for it. However, in 2011 the Congress received a bill (popularly known as “Gay Cure”) to suspend the law. During Brazilian’s 2013 protests, the attacking of the bill became one of the demands, and it did not pass. Still, in 2017 a federal judge ruled in favor to suspend the law.

These two events reveal a great disparity in terms of democratic legitimacy. When trying to pass through Congress, civil society’s pressures managed to stop democratically-elected representatives of revoking the bill. However, since judges do not worry about the electorate, the suspension of the law was enforced despite the mobilization against it. Hence, we argue that, although the Brazilian judiciary might have a democratic deficit in certain decisions, thanks to online power dynamics it is becoming easier for civil society to question them and pressure for a more democratic debate.

The decreasing cost of informational diffusion facilitates marginalized groups to pressure the government, propagating their voices through online activism, and even organizing protests. Thus, this paper will focus specifically on how the LGBT community frames the issue in order to pressure the government and gather supporters. Although a few framing studies have focused on the online aspect of framing, there is still a gap of empirical studies using quantitative analysis with Big Data to focus on how social movements frame issues. Therefore, using Network Analysis allied with qualitative and quantitative textual analysis of the Twitter debate of the issue both in 2013 and in 2017, we will analyze how the community might have framed the issue differently after the undemocratic judiciary decision.