Author(s): Conor O'Dwyer
How homophobic backlash unexpectedly strengthened mobilization for LGBT political rights in post-communist Europe
While LGBT activism has increased worldwide, there has been strong backlash against LGBT people in Eastern Europe. Although Russia is the most prominent anti-gay regime in the region, LGBT individuals in other post-communist countries also suffer from discriminatory laws and prejudiced social institutions. Combining an historical overview with interviews and case studies in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, Conor O'Dwyer analyzes the development and impact of LGBT movements in post-communist Eastern and Central Europe. O'Dwyer argues that backlash against LGBT individuals has had the paradoxical effect of encouraging stronger and more organized activism, significantly impacting the social movement landscape in the region. As these peripheral Eastern and Central European countries vie for inclusion or at least recognition in the increasingly LGBT-friendly European Union, activist groups and organizations have become even more emboldened to push for change. Using fieldwork in five countries and interviews with activists, organizers, and public officials, O'Dwyer explores the intricacies of these LGBT social movements and their structures, functions, and impact. The book provides a unique and engaging exploration of LGBT rights groups in Eastern and Central Europe and their ability to serve as models for future movements attempting to resist backlash. Thorough, theoretically grounded, and empirically sound, Coming Out of Communism is sure to be a significant work in the study of LGBT politics, European politics, and social movements.