The Equality Act is federal legislation that if passed would extend protection against discrimination to explicitly include lesbian, gay, and transgender Americans. In this activity, you will investigate how members of Congress are using social media to discuss, promote, or oppose the Equality Act and then consider how you might respond as well online.
At the end of February, 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill designed to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act by banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The 1964 legislation banned discrimination based on “sex.”
The Equality Act was one of the policies that President Joe Biden wanted to have passed during his first 100 Days in office. It was reintroduced in Congress by Democrats in June 2023.
Support and opposition for the bill is sharply divided along partisan lines - Democrats support and Republicans oppose. Both sides cite the importance of individual freedoms to support their views.
Then, critically evaluate how members of congress used Twitter to discuss, promote, or oppose the Equality Act. Use the Teacher and Student Guide to Analyzing Social Media (Questions About Social Media Content) as well as the following prompts to guide your analysis.
Do you think their tweets were effective in persuading their viewers' thoughts about the Equality Act? Why or why not?
What are common themes or central ideas presented in the tweets?
How was language used to try to convince people to support one side or the other?
Do you think the language and visuals used were effective? Why or why not?
What might you have done differently if you were a member of Congress trying to persuade your constituents to think a certain way about the Equality Act?
Present your critical media analysis via a video, blog, or paper.
Explain the historical context and significance of laws passed by Congress that have expanded the civil rights and equal protection for race, gender and disability. (Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for History and Social Studies) [8.T5.4]