Resisting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Rights and Equalities

Catherine Jean Nash and Kath Browne


A critical look at the rise of ‘heteroactivism’, and how today’s anti-LGBT activism is becoming more transnational and sophisticated.

Around the world, LGBTQ+ activists have won an unprecedented series of political victories, from marriage equality to increased representation in government. But this success has sparked a backlash. While there has been much scrutiny of the role of the Christian right in opposing LGBTQ+  equality in the US, the backlash goes far beyond these traditional elements, and also extends beyond the US to countries including the UK, Ireland and Canada.

In this book, Nash and Browne consider the rise of the new ‘heteroactivism’, showing how social media and new sources of funding have reinvigorated the opponents of LGBTQ+ rights. They also show how the rhetoric and tactics of this new generation of heteroactivists differ from that of their predecessors, exploiting notions of ‘parental rights’ and freedom of speech to assert heteronormative values in spaces ranging from schools to workplaces. They also reveal the increasingly transnational nature of anti- LGBTQ+ activism, with growing links between heteroactivists in the US, UK and beyond.

Author Bio

Catherine Jean Nash is a Professor, in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Brock University. Her research interests include geographies of sexuality/queer/feminist and trans geographies, mobilities and digital sexualities. She is currently working with Kath Browne (and Andrew Gorman-Murray) tracing transnational oppositions to LGBTQ rights in Canada, the UK and Ireland, and with Andrew Gorman-Murray on new mobilities and digital life and the transformations in LGBT and queer neighbourhoods in Sydney, Australia and Toronto, Canada. Her previous books include Queer Methods and Methodologies (with Kath Browne, 2016), The Geographies of Digital Sexualities (with Andrew Gorman-Murray, 2019), and the Canadian edition of Human Geography: People, Place and Culture (with Erin Fouberg et al, 2015).

Kath Browne is a Professor of Geography University College, Dublin. Her research interests lie in sexualities, genders and spatialities. She has worked on LGBT equalities, lesbian geographies, gender transgressions and women’s spaces. She has authored over 100 publications including journal articles and co-wrote (with Leela Bakshi) Ordinary in Brighton: LGBT, activisms and the City (2013), and Queer Spiritual Spaces(2010), and co-edited The Routledge Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities (2016) and Lesbian Geographies (2015).

Table of Contents

  • Heteroactivism: An Introduction
  • 1. Same-Sex Marriage: Supporting ‘Heterosexual Families’
  • 2. Schools: Challenging the Inclusion of LGBT Lives and Families
  • 3. Trans: Resisting Gender Ideologies and Trans Equalities
  • 4. Freedom of Speech: Creating Space to Contest LGBT Equalities
  • 5. Public Inclusions: Claiming the Place of Heteroactivism
  • Conclusion


'Rather than follow the scholarship path of non-normative, queer and LGBTIQ+ lives, identities and communities, this book puts organised heteroactivist people, groups, spaces and places at the centre of enquiry. An original and crucial intervention for scholars and activists interested in the shifting and highly charged debates about equality, freedoms, and human rights, that provides new understandings of the way in which societies, space, place and activism are reworked through resistances to LGBTIQ+ legislative, political and social equalities.'
Lynda Johnston, University of Waikato

'Emphasizing transnational networks and activisms, Catherine Jean Nash and Kath Browne provide a fascinating guide to the new heteroactivism in countries where many students of anti-LGBTQ backlash assume we have won. '
Cynthia Burack, The Ohio State University

'What an excellent read this is! The authors provide a wealth of insight into heteroactivism in localised contexts, avoiding simplistic religion-related explanations. Critically aware of epistemological geopolitics, this is the book we all should reward ourselves to read.'
Dr Roberto Kulpa, Co-editor of De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspectives.

'This chilling and original study offers a timely analysis of contemporary resistances to LGBT equalities across three national English-speaking settings. Attentive to nuance and geopolitical specificity, it shows how growing opposition to LGBT equalities cannot simply be understood as homo or transphobia. Instead, heteroactivists claim that state-sponsored LGBT inclusion in the 21st is a threat to democracy, free speech and Christian heteronormativity. A welcome contribution to the urgently needed and growing field of research on contemporary anti-gender movements, this book provides concepts, methods and questions of relevance beyond the English-speaking global North.'
Ulrika Dahl, Uppsala University

‘Nash and Browne’s pioneering analysis exposes the existence and expansion of resistances against gender and sexual equalities in 'progressive nations'. As an analytical category, Heteroactivism investigates the desire to establish heteronormativities as the bedrock of the Occident. The book is an essential contribution to debates about sexual politics.’
Stefanie Boulila, Lucerne University


Publication Date: 29 October 2020
248 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781786996459
Hardback: 9781786996466
eBook ePub: 9781786996480
eBook Kindle: 9781786996497

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