Federalizing Legal Opportunities for LGBT Movements in the Growing EU

  • Uladzislau Belavusau
  • Dimitry Kochenov
Part of the Gender and Politics book series (GAP)


European Union (EU) citizenship is not only a unique space for ‘overcoming’ nationality, often imagined in terms of the dominant ethnicity of member states (Kochenov 2010a). EU citizenship equally offers an activist arena for challenging sexual identities and inequalities embedded in those national citizenships, transnationalizing discourse on rights and gay emancipation in Central and Eastern Europe as a matter of EU law. European, in this context, becomes a language of rights and entitlements, which can be turned, inter alia, against their own states of nationality. On the one hand, transnational forms of citizenship facilitate the very dialogue on sexual rights among member states and problematize the construction of fixed identities (Belavusau 2015a, in press). On the other hand, EU citizenship is equally a realm of disciplining humiliation of member states (Davies 2010). The rhetoric of ‘socially unfruitful’ homosexuality and the prescription of women’s reproductive role have been particularly visible in nationalist projects with ethno-centric views on group boundaries and longevity (Yuval-Davis 1997). The Union instead offers value models for anti-discrimination developments beyond the ‘population’ narrative of—largely patriarchal and heteronormative—national citizenships. Although not always legally enforceable due to the limited possibilities for harmonization and Union action, transnational and national lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movements can capitalize on value models as a matter of EU federalism for lobbying just causes. The recent judgment of the US Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) is an example of a federal opportunity for gays and lesbians—a legal track that sooner or later will be explored by the cause lawyers in Europe.


European Union Member State Exit Option European Union Institution European Union Citizenship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uladzislau Belavusau
    • 1
  • Dimitry Kochenov
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of European StudiesUniversiteit van AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of LawRijksuniversiteit GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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