When States Come Out: Transnational Movements and the Diffusion of LGBT Rights in Europe

Event summary by our intern Sarah Gambrall:

Dr Phillip Ayoub, author of the book When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility, was the guest lecturer for the CGC this month and his topic addressed transnational movements in relation to the diffusion of LGBT rights in Europe. Dr Ayoub began his talk by posing intriguing questions related to his extensive research, such as Why Europe? And why do certain states adopt international norms related to LGBT rights and not others? Further leading to his main research question posed regarding the reasons why the movement of LGBT recognition varies across state lines. Dr Ayoub argued that states within the European community care about their image, but in order for states to comply with norms they need to be able to see them. Therefore, theorizing the notion of ‘visibility channels’ is central in supporting his argument and he accomplished this through extensive data analysis that he accumulated from 25 months of fieldwork. Dr Ayoub was then able to adopt ground-breaking conclusions surrounding trends in the adoption of LGBT laws and transnational movements, using Poland specifically as a case study throughout parts of his research. This talk concluded with an emphasis on the contestation, adaptation, and resiliency that comes with politically based discussions surrounding LGBT rights internationally, as well as domestically. Dr Ayoub and his topic successfully drew in an excellent audience who subsequently posed engaging questions related to his politically relevant research.