Post-socialist societies have been characterized by dynamics of re-traditionalizing gender regimes and the mixing of late modern commodification with nationalism. In this context, the social acceptance of gays and lesbians is often portrayed as a desirable European (or Western) value by local LGBTQI+ communities, and as an undesirable “foreign import” by nationalists who try to evict homosexuals and homosexuality from “their” nation. We can also witness a recent spread of anti-gender mobilizations in different parts of Europe, triggered by concrete policy proposals such as the introduction of same-sex marriage in France, or as a preventive measure to avoid the implementation of such policies in the future, as was the case recently in Croatia and Romania.
In this presentation, esteemed sociologist Judit Takács will share research findings that show that homophobia is not necessarily an inherent component of the mental construction of “Eastern-Europeanness”—and that homophobic attitudes can be unlearned in time, if this process can be supported with policy developments strengthening same-sex partnership and parenting rights. At the same time, her work reveals how the democratic decline characterizing the “illiberal democracy” of present-day Hungary can question the link between improvement of attitudes and the democratization process, often envisioned as a linear development.
As part of her talk, Takács will also be happy to answer questions about recent Hungarian developments, including the increasing threats to academic and scholarly freedom.
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