This is a publication of materials presented by gender researchers and activists at the Second International Gender Workshop Overcoming Gender Backlash: Experiences of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Poland, organized and hosted by Heinrich Boell Foundation office in Kyiv in October 2013.
Regardless of regional differences, the common tendencies for all six countries have recently become the rise of religion and nationalism that have threatened the achievements of feminist and LGBT-movements and have been pulling the societies backwards. These two tendencies are interwoven and strengthen each other – religion is almost the strongest constituent of the revived mythologized national identities, and in turn, the rhetoric of ‘tradition’ gives religious practices more stable and eternal ground. In the light of economic crisis the states readily support and often use these arguments attempting to divert people’s attention with the help of ‘moral panic’ and offering to search for a ‘scapegoat’.
The latter role is traditionally offered to LGBT people and women, that are also the primary targets of bringing sexual and gender relations in the society to a certain ‘norm’, easy to manipulate. Thus, the participants of the workshop attempted to describe the connection between religion, nationalism and gender in their countries by uncovering the reasons for the backlash and analyze the influence of these tendencies on shaping the ‘norm’ through regulation of sexual and gender behavior.