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Coming Out of CommunismThe Emergence of LGBT Activism in Eastern Europe$
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Conor O'Dwyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479876631

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479876631.001.0001

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Activism under EU Leverage

Activism under EU Leverage

Poland and the Czech Republic, 1998–2004

(p.111) 5 Activism under EU Leverage
Coming Out of Communism

Conor O'Dwyer

NYU Press

This chapter shows how the onset of EU leverage began to transform the dynamics of LGBT activism in Poland but not in the Czech Republic. The arcs of activism now began to reverse, with the Polish movement strengthening as the Czech one fragmented and deinstitutionalized. In Poland, EU accession helped reframe homosexuality from a question of morality to one of European law and human rights. Polish activists also exploited the opportunity to broker between the national government and the EU regarding the implementation of EU norms. While EU conditionality helped achieve progress, especially regarding antidiscrimination policy, it also set the stage for hard-right political backlash from 2004 to 2007. In the Czech Republic, by contrast, EU accession hardly touched the politics of homosexuality. It sparked no hard-right backlash and was not taken up by rights activists as a tool of brokerage. Instead, Czech activists devoted most of their energies to a project for which the EU accession process offered no leverage, same-sex partnerships, and largely ignored the area for which it did, antidiscrimination policy.

Keywords:   Czech Republic, Poland, European Union, conditionality, social movement mobilization, social movement demobilization, antidiscrimination policy, same-sex partnerships

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