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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Justin H. Gross

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics


The dissertation project, “Why do Policy Frames Change? Rhetorical Construction and Contestation of Gay Rights in a Contested Regime,” examines the impacts of both digitalization and local political contexts on the dynamics of policy framing and issue advocacy. By exploring the patterns of online framing across different types of social actors (pro- and anti-gay rights activists and influencers), it contributes to the fields of LGBT politics, political communication, and social movements. The findings of the second chapter show that similar to Western societies where same-sex marriage has been legalized, pro- and anti-gay rights groups in Taiwan rely on certain types of policy frames respectively (anti-discrimination, equality, and liberty vs. morality, well-being, and democracy). However, some localized features are uniquely found in the case of Taiwan when discussing gay rights issues. For example, frames of civil rights and religion are far less salient in policy messages of gay rights. Furthermore, there are some localized framing elements such as those discussing social order (appellation, ancestor veneration, and blood tie), national identity (Taiwan-China comparison), and minority protection (rainbow crosser, indigenous people, and memory politics). The framing patterns of pro- and anti-gay rights groups have changed in response to policy outcomes and elite behavior. The third chapter adopts both Bayesian binomial models and lowess curve fitting to demonstrate that audience responses play an important role in shaping activists’ frame choices. With the response metrics available for posts on social media, frame resonance becomes a reflection of the target audience’s preference. It implies that the audience is no longer merely a passive receiver of policy frames but has an agency to affect the framing processes. The fourth chapter broadens the existing definition of frame producers by compares the framing patterns and styles between pro- and anti-gay rights activists and influencers. The results conclude that pro-gay rights influencers convey their policy appeals by performing their LGBTQ+ identities and have a softer and assimilationist tone in their messages. In contrast, anti-gay rights influencers act similarly to activists for their online framing behaviors and serve as anonymous hubs of information. The findings of this dissertation project help us to understand the contestation of gay rights in the unique case of Taiwan which is the first Asian country to legalize same-sex spousal rights. It also sheds light on how the creation of online spaces has changed the way activism works.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.