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Gender Bias in Political Dog Whistling

Political “dog whistling” refers to language used in the media to target a person’s identity imperceptibly. Only certain groups of people will be able receive the message and campaigners use this coding to garner support. The goal is to avoid opposition while still reaching the intended audience. However, this phenomenon, as it has gained popularity in the media and politics, is harmful to many populations and their identity. Gender identity has been targeted in the media and its effects will be analyzed in this section.

In October 2020, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret utilized gender-biased dog whistling during her Senate Judiciary Committee questioning. Justice Barret claimed that she has never discriminated against others based on their sexual preference. First, during her time serving on the board of trustees of Trinity Schools she did discriminate against LGBTQ people. This network of private Christian schools passed a policy prohibiting students with unmarried parents from their institutions. Located in Indiana, where same-sex marriage was illegal, LGBTQ parents were targeted.

In addition, Barret refers to LGBTQ people as a group with “sexual preferences.” By using the term “preference”, she implies that sexual orientation is something that the LGBTQ community can control. Justice Barret through her statement not only lies about her bigotry, but also attacks the identities of many U.S. citizens.


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