Queer Transnationalities: Towards a History of LGBTQ+ Rights in the Post-Soviet Space

Simone Attilio Discussion
Call for Publications
September 7, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Eastern Europe History / Studies, Human Rights, Russian or Soviet History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies

Queer Transnationalities: Notes for a History of LGBTQ+ Rights in the Post-Soviet Space

Editors: Elena Dundovich (University of Pisa) and Simone A. Bellezza (University of Naples Federico II).


The last few years have witnessed an expansion and diversification of approaches in the study of LGBTQ+ topics in Eastern Europe: after the approval of the Russian “gay propaganda” law in 2013, a new generation of scholars made constant efforts to understand what had determined such different evolutionary paths in the question of the rights of LGBTQ+ communities and individuals within the context of the former Soviet countries. In 2020 three collected-essays volumes have tried to bring together and systematize the new interpretative paths that had emerged in the fields of literary research (Zavr-Sosič 2020), sociology and political science (Buyantueva-Shevtsova 2020), and ethnography and anthropology (Channel-Justice 2020). These studies provided a deeper understanding of the (self-)perceptions of queerness in the area and the strategies implemented to address the issue of sexual and gender minorities in public discourse and politics.


In view of such a diversified body of studies, this book aims at adding the perspective of historical and transnational studies to the field of queer studies in Eastern Europe. The history of queer communities in the Soviet Union was pioneered by Dan Healey, who more recently sought to study the latest developments following the collapse of the communist regime (Healey 2001 and 2018). One of the most relevant innovations of the post-Soviet period is the new transnational character of queer issues: if Stalinism repressed LGBTQ+ communities out of the fear and hatred for any independent form of social and cultural elaboration, after 1991 the question of human and minorities (mainly sexual and gender but not only) rights has become one of the distinctive features of the national identity discourse of the successor states, as well as of the political and cultural relations with the West and the rest of the world. Queer communities and associations have greatly internationalized their sphere of collaborations, while a new contrast between the rhetoric of homonationalism and that of the defense of traditional relations emerged as one of the main divides of the post-Soviet transition.


We welcome chapter proposals for an edited volume on the transnational history of LGBTQ+ rights in the post-Soviet space. Chapters shall address the hybridity of queer issues, possibly including not only the point of view of gender studies, but also that of transnational studies. We aim to explore how state and non-state actors contributed to the evolution of the question of LGBTQ+ rights as one of the primary contact zones between the global and the local (glocality), greatly contributing to the reformulation of the asymmetrical relationship between the Euro-American and the non-Euro-American nations. Editors are seeking contributions that address (but are not limited to) the following topics:


  • LGBTQ+ activism in the post-Soviet space.
  • Anti-LGBTQ+ activism and propaganda of homophobic bias.
  • State initiatives to expand and defend or limit and hinder LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Transnational cooperation and initiatives of both LGBTQ+ and Anti-LGBTQ+ organizations.
  • LGBTQ+ persecutions in post-Soviet countries and international solidarity initiatives.
  • Art and cultural initiatives of the LGBTQ+ communities or individuals.
  • LGBTQ+ and queer issues in the international cooperation among post-Soviet countries and between them and other actors (Western countries, EU, etc.).
  • The construction of national belongings after 1991 and the definition of sexualities in the post-Soviet space.



Chapters shall not exceed 5,000 words including footnotes. Please send a 250-word chapter proposal to the editors at sabellezza@gmail.com by 30 September 2021. Proposals will be reviewed, the outcomes will be notified by 31 October 2021. Full Manuscripts are due by 1 January 2022.


Quoted bibliography

Buyantueva, Radzhana and Shevtsova, Maryna, eds. 2020. LGBTQ+ Activism in Central and Eastern Europe: Resistance, Representation and Identity. London. Palgrave Macmillan.

Channell-Justice, Emily, ed. 2020. Decolonizing Queer Experience: LGBT+ Narratives from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. London. Lexington Books.

Healey, Dan. 2001. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. Chicago and London. The University of Chicago Press.

Healey, Dan. 2018. Russian Homophobia from Stalin to Sochi. London. Bloomsbury Academic.

Zavrl, Andrey and Sosič, Alojzija Zupan, eds. 2020. Go East! LGBTQ+Literature in Eastern Europe. Ljubljana. Ljubljana University Press.

Contact Email: