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Dangerous Liaisons: Neoliberal Tropes of the ‘Normal’ and ‘Middle-Class Respectability’ in the Post-socialist LG(BT) Activism

Kulpa, Roberto



Marianne Blidon

Stanley D. Brunn


This chapter explores the emerging, post-1989 logics of neoliberalisation of gender and sexuality activism in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE). By looking at a case study from the early 2000s LG(BT) activism in Poland (the impactful “Niech Nas Zobaczą” / “Let Them See Us” campaign), my argument is that this action illustrates perfidious presence of national(ist) and heteronormative narratives in LG(BT) activism manifesting itself in the quest for the ‘ordinary’ and ‘normal’ depiction of the LG(BT) communities. I use Mosse’s (1985) articulation of ‘respectability’ as a critical measure of distinction (and distancing) in the turbulent times of socio-economic re-stratification in post-industrial societies. This helps to argue that LG(BT) activism that embraces neoliberalisation measures of middle-class ‘individualism and successfulness,’ and enshrines them with ‘gender normalcy,’ is counterproductive for the inclusivity of LG(BT) communities and broader visons of ‘liveable queer living.’

Online Publication Date Jul 12, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jul 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 13, 2024
Publisher Springer
Pages 279-291
Book Title Mapping LGBTQ Spaces and Places. A Changing World
ISBN 978-3-031-03791-7
Keywords LGBT activism; Normal; Neoliberalization; Poland and Central Eastern Europe; Middle-class respectability; Liveable living; geopolitics; gender and sexuality; social class; post-communist transformations; homonormativity; heteronormativity;
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This output contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 4 - Quality Education

Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all

SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries


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