Trends of Homophobic Activism in Romania, or ‘How to Turn Religious Convictions into a Referendum and Still Fail’

  • Ramona Dima


In recent years, right-wing discourses in Romania have been progressively constructed through nationalistic and homophobic voice pipes, triggering reactions from LGBT+ community and their allies. I frame these recent developments within a history of LGBT+ issues in post-1989 Romania—from changes in legislation to protests, public declarations, alliances, to the implication of the Orthodox Church and other cults. Since 2016, heated debates around changing the Constitution and the right to enter a civil partnership lead to a referendum. Although the referendum failed, the media campaigns leading to it arguably represented a tool for right-wing groups to strengthen their agendas and further polarize society. In this chapter, I analyze their main discursive strategies and trace the patterns reflected in both offline and online mediums as well as how these were countered by LGBT+ communities and other grassroots initiatives.



I would like to thank Maria Cohut, Simona Dumitriu, and the editors and reviewers of this volume for their patience, insights, and suggestions that played an important part in the process of developing this chapter.


  1. Andreescu, V. (2011). From Legal Tolerance to Social Acceptance: Predictors of Heterosexism in Romania. Revista Română de Sociologie, XXII(3–4), 209–231.Google Scholar
  2. Bodnar, A., & Sledzinska-Simon, A. (2014). Between Recognition and Homophobia: Same-Sex Couples in Eastern Europe. In Same-Sex Couples Before National, Supranational and International Jurisdictions (pp. 211–247). Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Coaliția pentru Vanilie. (2017, May). Facebook. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  4. Coalition for Family. (2016, November 5). About Us/Contact. Accessed 13 Sept 2018.
  5. Coalition for Family. (2018a, August 31). Bolile homosexualilor – un documentar medical la zi [Homosexuals’ Diseases: An Up-to-Date Documentary]. Accessed 13 Sept 2018.
  6. Coalition for Family. (2018b, February 5). 10 Motive: De ce „căsătoria” homosexuală este dăunatoare [10 Reasons Why Homosexual “Marriage” Is Harmful]. Accessed 13 Sept 2018.
  7. Council of Europe. (2014, March 24). Opinion on the Draft Law on the Review of the Constitution of Romania. Accessed 31 Jan 2019.
  8. EQUALDEX. (2018). LGBT+ Rights in Switzerland. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  9. GLOBSEC. (2017, September). GLOBSEC Trends 2017: Mixed Messages and Signs of Hope from Central & Eastern Europe. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  10. Hicks, S. (2003). The Christian Right and Homophobic Discourse: A Response to ‘Evidence’ That Lesbian and Gay Parenting Damages Children. Sociological Research Online, 8(4), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ILGA-Europe. (2014, July 15). Registered Partnership Law Adopted in Croatia. Accessed 31 Jan 2019.
  12. ILGA-Europe. (2017). Charts. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  13. Imre, A. (2013). Global Popular Media and the Local Limits of Queering. In N. Fejes & A. P. Balogh (Eds.), Queer Visibility in Post-Socialist Cultures. Bristol: Intellect Ltd.Google Scholar
  14. Iordănescu, Luminița. (2017, June 8). Facebook. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  15. Krošlák, D. (2015). The Referendum on the So-Called Traditional Family in the Slovak Republic. Central and Eastern European Legal Studies, 1, 149–167.Google Scholar
  16. Kulpa, R., & Mizielinska, J. (Eds.). (2011). De-centring Western Sexualities Central and Eastern European Perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  17. Mediafax. (2013). “Noua constituţie - Ponta îşi menţine poziţia privind familia: O modificare ar fi inutilă şi conservatoare.” 7 Iun.
  18. Mole, R. (2011). Nationality and Sexuality: Homophobic Discourse and the ‘National Threat’ in Contemporary Latvia. Nations and Nationalism, 17(3), 540–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Patterson, C. J. (1992). Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents. Child Development, 63(5), 1025–1042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Peterson, D. (2011). Neoliberal Homophobic Discourse: Heteronormative Human Capital and the Exclusion of Queer Citizens. Journal of Homosexuality, 58(6–7), 742–757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Roudik, P. (2014, January 13). Croatia: Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage Passed by Referendum. Global Legal Monitor. Accessed 31 Jan 2019.
  22. (n.y.). Blacklist Checker. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.
  23. Youtube. (2017, June 4). Recurs la morală [Appeal to Morality]. Accessed 19 Feb 2019.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramona Dima
    • 1
  1. 1.Malmö UniversityMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations