Graduation Year


Publication Date

Spring 2022


The governments of Poland and Hungary, under the parties Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (Law and Justice) and Fidesz (Alliance of Young Democrats), respectively, have deliberately implemented policies and utilized rhetoric to marginalize the LGBT+ community, a dramatic reversal from years of social progress in the European Union. In investigating this shift, prior scholars have explored social factors and authoritarian, populist politics as causes, yet these cannot explain the extent and viciousness to which both parties attack sexual and gender minorities. In this paper, I demonstrate that both governments have utilized “national trauma” to construct a nationalist space that excludes LGBT+ people, upholstered by a justifying narrative. I argue that these parties have heavily invested in creating a social and cultural infrastructure endorsing their interpretation of past collective trauma. They then use appeals to this trauma to depict LGBT+ people as existential threats to the nation, before exonerating themselves from consequential blame through similar appeals to victimhood. These “politics of trauma” are instrumental in analyzing how states frame and organize intergroup identity aggressively, which is visible through a rise in anti-LGBT+ violence in both countries.


International and Area Studies