The RESIST Project Press Release: Findings from the Work Package 1 Released
Headline: Europe-wide research reveals how transgender rights, feminism, and LGBTIQ+ advocacy are systematically attacked in politics and media.

Lead: A project researching so-called ‘anti-gender’ politics across Europe has shown how undermining our understanding of gender as socially constructed norms has taken root internationally.

Date posted

10 April 2024

The RESIST project ( has released research results demonstrating how transgender rights, feminism, and LGBTIQ+ advocacy have become key targets for ‘anti-gender’ politics.

Researchers analysed hundreds of parliamentary debates and newspaper articles in the United Kingdom, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, and the European Parliament from 2015-2022, and found evidence of several unsettling trends in how cis- and trans- women’s, and LGBTIQ+ rights are currently being undermined.

People’s bodies and identities are being questioned and many are deprived of ability to decide on own’s own health and choices. Moreover, children and young adults are denied access to the informed and affirmative sex & relationships education, and LGBTIQ+ minorities are scapegoated and brutally attacked across media, politics, and everyday life.

The RESIST project is co-ordinated by University College Dublin in collaboration with Edinburgh Napier University, European University Viadrina, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Université de Lausanne, Université de Fribourg, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Feminist Autonomous Centre for research Athens, Maynooth University.

Prof Gavan Titley (Maynooth University, IE), who was leading on this mapping exercise in the RESIST project, said: “Our research demonstrates that an intensive attack on LGTBIQ+ people across Europe is advanced through attacking the very idea of ‘gender’. “While so-called ‘anti-gender’ politics have been attacking feminism and reproductive rights for decades, these politics are not static, and ‘anti-gender’ actors are always on the lookout for new targets.
“A notable addition right now is to try to marginalise any form of LGBTIQ+ visibility and advocacy as ‘aggressive activism’, accused of wanting to impose ‘minority’ ideas and values on ‘majority populations’.
“Once you do this, you can declare that you are defending children’s rights, parent’s rights, freedom of speech, and even democracy from them”.

Dr Roberto Kulpa (Edinburgh Napier University), responsible for the Polish case study, said: “Anti-gender politics in Poland is very flexible in choosing its targets; topics and keywords are very permeable and interchangeable. This allows ‘anti-gender’ politics to constantly expand and produce new ‘controversies’ as it thrives and grows on media attention.
“The EU, the ‘West’, and the broader international dimension are firmly embedded in the Polish context, often seen by ‘anti-gender’ actors as ‘threats’, or conversely, as the aspirational refence for the pro-feminist/LGBTIQ+ advocacy.
“It may be tempting to relegate ‘anti-gender’ politics to one country or region, but this obscures its power; ‘anti-gender’ politics is truly a global phenomenon that needs to be understood across, and in relation to diverse contexts.”

RESIST is a four-year study supported by the research councils and funding bodies of the European Union, UK and Switzerland. More information about the project on its website: