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Female faces of anti-gender movement: sexualities within Ukrainian far-right groups

Authors: Maryna Shevtsova*, Lund University
Topics: Political Geography, Human Rights, Sexuality
Keywords: Ukraine, LGBTI rights, Euromaidan, Heteroactivism, Homopatriotism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

After the so-called Euromaidan revolution Ukrainian society ended up between a rock and a hard-place: against the background of an armed conflict with Russia, the government had to comply with the demands set by the European Union as a condition of political and financial support. Yet some of them, such as ensuring protection from discrimination for vulnerable groups as LGBTI people, were met with severe resistance from the side of conservative groups, mostly far-right nationalists and some religious communities. While homophobic discourses used by these groups are very similar to those employed by the anti-gender movements across the globe, the Ukrainian context is somewhat more complicated as LGBTI rights and gender equality are incorporated into political dichotomy West (European integration) vs Russia (historical past and ‘traditional family values’)

While right-wing homophobic aggression resulted in the emergence of what I define as Ukrainian homo-patriotism (open readiness of Ukrainian LGBTI people, predominantly cis-gender gay men to reproduce the national project and participate in military actions (Shevtsova 2018), new actors and form of resistance appeared within the Ukrainian anti-gender movement in response to that. The present paper engages with those, namely, focusing on female spokespersons of Ukrainian radical right-wing and conservative anti-feminist groups. Using their public self-presentation: interviews, performances at the protests, posts in social media and on official sites of the groups, this article explores how issues of sexuality, gender, and women’s rights is being instrumentalized and integrated into resistance against “Western ideologies” and which political purposes this instrumentalization.

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