Europe has experienced several waves of opposition to gender and sexual rights in recent years. Targets may vary nationally (marriage equality, abortion, reproductive technologies, gender mainstreaming, sex education, transgender rights, anti discrimination policies, etc.) but a similar pattern is observed across borders. Conservative activists contest the so-called “gender ideology”, they share modes of action and strategies, and they portray themselves as a group of concerned citizens defending the family.
This lecture, which comes out of a comparative project directed with Roman Kuhar (University of Ljulbjana), will map out the contemporary anti-gender movement in Europe. It will unveil the crucial role of the Roman Catholic Church, and examine the intersections with rising populism and nationalistic anxieties.
David Paternotte is Lecturer in Sociology at the Université libre de Bruxelles, where he convenes the Atelier Genre(s) et Sexualité(s) and the Structure de recherche interdisciplinaire sur le genre, l’égalité et la sexulité (STRIGES). After many years of research on same-sex marriage and on LGBTQI activism, he has recently started a project on new forms of opposition to gender and sexuality equality, with a focus on the Catholic Church. In addition to articles in Canadian Journal of Political Science, Social Politics, Sexualities, Social Movement Studies, he is the author of Revendiquer le “mariage gay”. Belgique, France, Espagne (Edition de l’Université de Bruxelles, 2011) and the coeditor of several volumes, including The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State: Comparative Insights into A Transformed Relationship (Ashgate, 2011), LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe: A Rainbow Europe? (Palgrave, 2014), and the Ashgate Research Companion to Lesbian and Gay Activism (Ashgate, 2015). He has visited many universities as a guest professor or researcher, including the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Université de Montréal, the European University Institute and the Universiteit van Amsterdam.