Intersectional and Transnational Coalitions during Times of Crisis: The European LGBTI Movement

Intersectional and Transnational Coalitions during Times of Crisis: The European LGBTI Movement Abstract This paper explores an overarching question that informs our understanding of political intersectionality in movement coalition building work: How do limited material resources affect the intersectional consciousness of social movements and the nature of their coalition building work? To answer this question, I conducted an expert survey to assess the intersectional consciousness of the European lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex movement during times of financial crisis. I argue, somewhat paradoxically, that intersectional consciousness is most present at the transnational level, where the potential for brokering cross-movement relationships is high, and that the financial crisis has heightened that consciousness. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help, and you all don’t do a goddamned thing for them. … I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment. … For gay liberation, and you all treat me this way? … I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights. That’s what I wanted to say to you people. … [C]ome and see the people … that are trying to do something for all of us and not men and women that belong to a white, middle-class, white club! And that’s what you all belong to! Revolution now! (Sylvia Rivera, 1973) Introduction The words of American activist Sylvia Rivera’s powerful speech at the 1973 Christopher Street Rally in New York reverberated throughout a crowd representing an integral part of a young movement. Spoken just three years after the first pride march on that same street—hailed by many to be the birth of an empowered and visible movement to liberate sexual and gender minorities from oppressive hetero- and cisnormative power structures—Rivera’s words poked holes in the new master narrative. As a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, Rivera shone light on new boundaries of power that had emerged within the international movement. A self-identified Latina half-sister, she pointed out quite clearly that the oppressed struggle not only against the power barriers that divide them from the privileged, but also against the boundaries of power “constituted by mixes of privilege and disprivilege within their ranks” (Rogers and Lott 1997, 497). Rivera’s vantage point enables us to tie movement dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) politics to what scholars have come to refer to as intersectionality (Collins 2008; Crenshaw 1991). The concept of intersectionality—“the ways in which different inequalities intersect[,] leading to unique forms of discrimination” and lived experience (Kantola and Nousiainen 2009, 460)—is only recently being applied to policy practices that deal with multiple inequalities in the European Union (EU) (Krizsan, Skejeie and Squires 2012; Mügge 2016; Verloo 2006; Siim 2014). The related and broader concept of political intersectionality has sought to explore how such differing inequalities interact in meso- and macrolevel institutional and noninstitutional settings (Grzanka 2014; Irvine, Lang, and Montoya 2015, 10; Weldon 2006; Wilson 2013; all drawing on Crenshaw 1991). This paper extends that line of thinking to examine coalition formation among advocacy groups, including both social movement organizations (SMOs) and interest groups, in Europe. Indeed, intersectionality in its political sense (political intersectionality) poses a series of interesting questions about the formation of coalitions, even if their stated or overarching goals previously differed. In particular, this paper attempts to chart the nature of the understudied European LGBTI movement’s alliances and its orientation toward political intersectionality. The movement’s rhetorical use and attempted implementation of intersectional approaches has been precipitously increasing since 2008, despite a political context fraught with populist resurgence, homonationalism, and financial crisis: one that might typically be a worst-case scenario for the feasibility of furthering political intersectionality.1 After surveying the inclusiveness of the European LGBTI movement (in its claims and its participants), I explore two overarching questions in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that has come to define much of European politics in recent years: When and how are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances facilitated? How has the financial crisis affected such coalition building work, as well as the broader intersectional consciousness of the movement? While some social movement literature argues that threat, such as the one posed by financial crisis, can lead to mobilization, critical scholars in minority politics have questioned its potential for cross-movement alliances. Indeed, there is an active debate about what financial crisis means for intersectional coalition building work. As Johanna Kantola and Emanuela Lombardo (2017, 6) put it: “different organizations and movements representing different groups can be pitted against one another in a seeming competition for scarcer resources, or, alternatively it can point to new alliances and solidarity in times of crisis”. The tug between these two disparate scenarios—threat or opportunity—has been increasingly explored in relation to activism by women broadly (Bassel and Emejulu 2010; Lombardo 2017). This article offers a much needed, yet often overlooked, exploration of these dynamics in LGBTI activism. Using the case of the LGBTI movement, I argue that intersectional consciousness and coalitions are expanded during times of financial crisis at a group level, and especially in the transnational sphere. I refer to intersectional consciousness as the awareness and responsiveness of movement organizers to differing inequalities and discrepancies of power and privilege in their surroundings. There remain important caveats to the extent these alliances work and are functional on the ground, and especially as it concerns individuals’ lived experiences. Nonetheless, the movement’s intersectional consciousness has grown in post-financial-crisis years in a way that may offer new potentialities to organizers and make more visible the serious shortcomings that exist in the mission of LGBTI groups to address the needs of many of their most vulnerable subjects. Furthermore, while cross-movement coalitions are frequent, they are context-specific and predominantly facilitated by international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and European institutions—that have been quick to develop an intersectional consciousness. I thus argue, somewhat paradoxically, that intersectional consciousness is most present at the more abstract transnational level, where the potential for brokering cross-movement relationships is high, and that the financial crisis has heightened that consciousness. Indeed, groups on the ground struggle with realizing the political potential of an intersectional approach to disrupt everyday power dynamics inherent in the movement; and times of scarcity heighten awareness by generating a sense of shared threat and challenging INGOs to think pragmatically about cooperating for access to limited resources. I proceed by grounding the above argument in theoretical debates on political intersectionality and movement coalitions before presenting the methodology and findings in relation to the research questions. My contribution is to shed light on when political intersectionality can emerge as a formidable approach for movement coalition work. Intersectional Consciousness and Movement Coalitions Political Intersectionality in Movement This paper applies Kimberle Crenshaw’s (1991) concept of political intersectionality to social movement concepts of alliances and coalitions formed by social justice groups, inside and outside of LGBTI advocacy groups. By coalitions, I refer to the means-oriented alliances that unite individuals and groups around shared goals (Gamson 1961). This is an admittedly broad definitional approach to political intersectionality, using it as a research paradigm for understanding “social groups, relations, and contexts” (Dhamoon 2011, 230; Hancock 2007), while acknowledging the importance of it as a social critique emerging out of the struggles of Black women in the United States (Collins 2008; Crenshaw 1991).2 This article is primarily concerned with the meso- and macrolevel foundations of the approach, as they concern group and institutional organizations, social structures, and power relations; and sees coalitions across social justice groups as one observable implication—however simplistic it may be—of the application of an intersectional framework. The theoretical framing outlined in this section should help guide the several hypotheses that will be defined and analyzed in later parts of the paper. In this regard, Elizabeth Cole’s (2008) work has been useful for bringing the social movement literature into dialogue with Crenshaw’s theorizing on political intersectionality, which focuses on individuals in relation to organizations and policy. As Cole (2008, 444) notes: Although institutions such as organizations, social movements and public policies sometimes recognize certain identity groups, often their analysis is framed to address the concerns of individuals who, but for one marginalized status, are otherwise privileged … [Thus] those who occupy multiple subordinate identities, particularly women of color, may find themselves caught between the sometimes conflicting agendas of two political constituencies to which they belong, or are overlooked by these movements entirely. The ubiquity of “one-size-fits-all” sameness or equivalence is thus precisely what political intersectionality seeks to challenge. Employing an intersectional approach that entails finding common interests while also acknowledging the limits of similarities, and demands the formation of alliances on grounds other than essential similarity, is a challenging but critical task for all great social justice movements. To realize such a goal, according to Cole (2008, 451), movement actors “must struggle to recognize social categories as specific, historically based, contextualized, intersecting and constructed through power while simultaneously remembering that [their] common heritage is that [they] share the experience of life within this web of intersections”. The potential impotence of “common heritage” and “sameness”, as well as the prevailing presence of “differentiated and uneven power” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 917), is a reality that social movement researchers and practitioners must seriously consider in their work. So it is useful to ask, as this paper does, when political intersectionality can emerge as a powerful theme in the coalition work of movements. Even groups that are commonly represented as uniform (e.g., “Black men” or “lesbian women”) are coalitions (Cole 2008, 446; Murib and Soss 2015). This is as true for a conglomerate umbrella identifier such as “LGBTI people”, which even in its name encompasses at least five separate identities, let alone the many subidentities that represent the diverse experiences (at the microlevel) lived by various individuals that identify as LGBTI (Murib 2015; Murib and Soss 2015). Indeed, the acronym itself embodies the exclusionary nature of the politics of the movement’s earlier classifying labels—such as the “homosexual”, “homophile”, “gay”, or “gay and lesbian”—and an evolution toward recognizing a vast array of experiences dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). While the LGBT acronym is now commonly employed in research and practice, much scholarship has also noted that intersex, questioning, queer, and asexual people (LGBTIQQA) remain excluded from even this overarching category. Even the contested terrain of terminology highlights the difficulty of uniformly representing the distinct needs of individuals in a diverse constituency, as well as the utility of a concept like intersectionality in movement work. As Rivera’s speech suggested at the outset of this paper, ignoring crosscutting differences in identity poses serious limits to the coalitional project of emancipatory politics at the group level. Threat and Opportunity in Movement Coalition Building Social movement scholars have theorized movement coalitions across borders, which can be brought into dialogue with scholarship on political intersectionality that recognizes the non-uniformity across groups. Joe Bandy and Jackie Smith’s (2005) volume offers a critical intervention on thinking about coalitions across borders, as well the political contexts that facilitate them. In line with theorizing in the political process school, a core claim in this work is that the political environment in which movements operate affects their coalitions (Staggenborg 1986). Indeed, coalitions are likely to form when social justice groups are faced with opportunities or threats—though some studies have privileged one factor over another. For example, Holly McCammon and Karen Campbell (2002) find threat to be the most important determining factor for coalition building (see also Zepeda-Millán 2017).3 Yet in terms of organizational capacity, a core finding has been that coalitions are less likely to form when competition among resources is high. For Suzanne Staggenborg (1986), whose work on coalition building called our attention to the interaction between political circumstances (in the form of opportunity and threat) and resources, common interests across groups are more salient when financial resources are plentiful. Yet even in terms of resource abundance or scarcity, findings remain complex. My theorization of the relationship between financial crises and the LGBTI movement follows a line of argumentation that suggests that enhancing efficiency by pooling limited resources can incentivize a certain type of organizing: namely coalitions. For example, Pauline Cullen (2005) has made such a case in her study of the European Social Platform. Indeed, resource mobilization theory—the idea that external resources strongly affect organizing (McCarthy and Zald 1977)—also suggests that the availability of funds for certain types of organizing generates that type of organizing. The theory thus interacts in a productive way with the political process school to suggest that the “crisis” of resource strain can open an opportunity for collaborative coalitions in some circumstances. While political process theorists often conceptualize external threats as policy threats, I operationalize threats as related to financial crisis here. Relatedly, an important point that Paul Waterman (2005, 157) makes in reference to the Chinese ideograph for “crisis” is that it entails both opportunity and threat: “a globalized capitalist threat also provides a social movement opportunity”. Crisis can thus offer an opportunity for applying an intersectional approach at the meso- and macrolevels of organizing, in the sense that it puts issues of multiple inequalities on the activist agenda; as it has in the case of minority women’s activism, making visible the intersections of race, gender, and poverty (Emejulu and Bassel 2017). I thus follow Dara Strolovitch (2013) to also complicate the popular understanding of crisis, a concept that is both political and ideological, and overwhelmingly constructed in favor of describing issues affecting dominant groups. If crisis is about dominant groups, we should not expect its effects to be universal, as they may then naturally differ for marginalized groups—many of whom live in “crisis” on a day-to-day basis anyways. I build on the above by exploring these ideas of threat and resource across borders (Bandy and Smith 2005) and across group coalitions; the latter being a most difficult case for sustained collaboration (Staggenborg 2015). It follows calls by scholars that more theorizing needs to be done if we focus on cross-movement coalitions (Beamish and Luebbers 2009), which naturally face heightened obstacles for coalition formation in most environments. For transnational LGBTI movements, there are exacerbated structural barriers—cultural, geographic, economic, and political—working to impede cooperation across borders (Young 1992), combined with the additional limits of doing so across social justice movements. Furthermore, while most of this research has been used to study the actual timing of coalition formation, I suggest that this line of thinking can also be extended to exploring a change in consciousness of movements. Looking at ties both within and across understudied LGBTI SMOs and NGOs, my intention is both to explore these theoretical ideas in a new transnational arena, as well as to argue that threat can be good at raising consciousness if organizations and institutions exist to channel it into a compelling intersectional narrative.4 When threat occurs in the form of an international crisis, transnational organizations are most able to peddle a narrative that defines that threat as shared. Thus, while we rightly expect an environment in which social groups are pitted against each other to potentially limit an intersectional consciousness—for example, homonationalist arguments claiming that migrant ethnic minorities are more threatening to white gay and lesbian people5—I argue instead that crisis can also paradoxically heighten the proclivity of intersectional coalitions to form at the meso- and macrolevels. Social movement theory provides pathways for understanding these relationships. Hypotheses Drawing on this theoretical background, three sets of related hypotheses form the core arguments that I outline below, to which I will further elaborate on the mechanisms and processes behind the general assumptions I make here. These assumptions are all in relation to social justice movements. H1: Crisis H1(a): Financial crisis leads to resource scarcity, which alters donor requirements at the international level and incentivizes cross-movement coalitions. H1(b): Financial crisis leads to a more xenophobic political climate, which makes discrimination and a shared sense of threat more visible, generating an intersectional consciousness. H2: Coalitions H2(a): The international organizations represented at the European level are more conducive to facilitating cross-movement coalitions because of two distinctive characteristics: their ability to broker relationships and supply resources. H2(b): Domestic and regional dynamics are at play, with high levels of homo- and transphobia in some European countries and regions hindering external cross-movement alliances at the domestic level, but sponsoring intra-LGBTI alliances instead. H3: Intersectional Consciousness H3(a): Acknowledging intersectionality as a political framework for social justice work is clearly desired, but not fully developed in practice. H3(b): Applying an intersectional framework is context specific: international LGBTI organizations tend to be more successful at applying an intersectional lens to their campaigns (compared to domestic LGBTI organizations).There are qualifications to any such hypotheses on political intersectionality, which is an undoubtedly complex concept in the case of the LGBTI movement. The sections below also address this complexity, emphasizing that the implementation of a politics that recognizes an intersectional approach can be arduous, even when consciousness is high. Furthermore, alliances across movements and across borders may also be strategic, short-lived, and sometimes they can reify group differences. In what follows, the paper’s three subsequent sections are structured around each set of hypotheses as it relates to the European LGBTI movement. The analysis proceeds by describing the movement’s inclusiveness and consciousness around intersectionality, before analyzing the propensity of such a consciousness to result in alliances across social justice movements. It addresses both elements, however, by first speaking to the effect of material crises—in this case the financial crisis—on political intersectionality. These dimensions thus elaborate on intersectional consciousness and coalitions, as well as how these two dynamics interact with resource scarcity. Methods Case Selection Social justice around European LGBTI rights is an interesting issue for the study of political intersectionality and coalition building. The movements that represent LGBTI people have a long history of transnational ties, but function in vastly different domestic contexts; for example, European states vary greatly in terms of the resources available to LGBTI populations, the cultural receptiveness they enjoy, and the oppositions they face (Ayoub and Paternotte 2014). Even within similar country contexts, the LGBTI movement represents individuals and groups with highly varied lived experiences and access to social justice. Not only do LGBTI people represent a group with many crosscutting identities, but also some have argued that they embody—when compared to the representation of other social categories such as class, race/ethnicity, and gender—the group with the fewest institutional mechanisms for applying pressure at the European level (Verloo 2006). This is said in the sense that LGBTI groups are rarely institutionalized as deserving of protection. Such an understanding, which captured the sentiment of many scholarly onlookers a decade ago, reifies the popular notion of a group both “invisible” and “weak” politically. Somewhat surprisingly, however, this portrayal of a weak and powerless group, while correct some time ago, also mischaracterizes the new paths and institutional mechanisms LGBTI organizations have paved. LGBTI groups are now key players in the landscape of European human rights work. The EU case not only allows for variation in LGBTI recognition and movement across states, it also features strong international institutions supportive of LGBTI rights—a most likely case for transnational cooperation and human rights promotion—and is a region greatly affected by the financial crisis. For these reasons, the study here seeks to explore the concept of political intersectionality through the lens of the European LGBTI movement. Method To gain leverage on this project’s questions, I combined insights from a larger project that explores the effect of transnational LGBTI activism on socio-legal change with an expert survey on political intersectionality. The larger study (Ayoub 2015, 2016) included twenty-five months of fieldwork in Europe, concluding with over eighty interviews and focus groups, alongside participant observation at dozens of activist meetings and campaigns across the continent. While familiarity with the European LGBTI movement led to a set of theoretical expectations, I collected follow-up data that specifically addressed intersectionality and transnational alliances. The data come from fourteen online survey interviews conducted in February and March of 2015, which centered upon six questions related to this project (overview of questions below in table 1). Each question was followed by an open-ended text-field (which produced responses that I then coded). I also included two components that asked respondents to rank inclusivity and diversity on a scale.6 Respondents were selected strategically to elicit a wide range of insights at different levels, including both national and international advocacy organizations. The fourteen respondents represent an array of southern, northern, eastern, and western European states, as well as countries that experienced the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis quite differently. The survey included experts representing national LGBTI SMOs from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, as well as LGBTI-focused INGOs based in Brussels and Budapest (see table A1 in the Appendix). Finally, I attended the 2016 annual conference for the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)—the largest umbrella gathering of LGBTI organizations—in Nicosia, Cyprus to observe the six panels and workshops centered on intersectionality and conduct additional face-to-face interviews with activists and funders on the questions used in the survey. In summary, the results of the analysis offer data that chart the voice of activists and practitioners in response to the guiding questions that motivate the study of intersectional consciousness in the contemporary transnational politics of Europe. Table 1 LGBTI movement: intersectional and transnational coalitions in times of financial crisis, average responses   Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)    Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)  Source: Author’s survey (2015). Table 1 LGBTI movement: intersectional and transnational coalitions in times of financial crisis, average responses   Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)    Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)  Source: Author’s survey (2015). Findings The results of the survey provide preliminary answers to the overarching questions, which correspond to the three sections in table 1. Specifically: (1) financial crisis has paradoxically benefited the transnational movement’s intersectional consciousness and coalitions by generating a sense of shared threat and encouraging cooperation for access to limited resources; (2) on coalitions, cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances are frequent, but they are context-specific and, surprisingly, they are predominantly facilitated by international organizations and European institutions instead of at the grassroots level; and (3) on consciousness, the movement seeks to be more inclusive and aware of intersectionality than it actually is on the ground, where middle-/upper-class gay men still dominate decision-making procedures. I expand on these arguments in detail below, using descriptive data from the 2015 expert survey. Table 1 displays simple averages of the survey responses coded on scales of 1 to 3, and its scores are only intended to guide the reader with general descriptive trends and to foreshadow the three arguments that I will make. To make sense of these often surprising trends, I use the survey and interview responses of the aforementioned experts below alongside other contextual data gleaned from primary organizational documents and an earlier organizational survey to substantiate the three sets of claims. I. Financial Crisis (and Its Benefits?) This section reflects on the financial crisis and how it affects both of the dimensions of political intersectionality: coalitions and consciousness. One of the more surprising findings was the common observation that the financial crisis—which has so negatively impacted the lived experiences of marginalized individuals at the microlevel—does not rank highly in the factors that LGBTI activists say negatively affect the intersectional work of the movement at the meso- and macrolevels. LGBTI activists rarely brought up the issue of the financial crisis during my previous fieldwork (which began formally in 2008). On the contrary, most interviewees highlighted the benefits of the threat triggered by the crisis for intersectional consciousness and coalition building. To be clear, this is not to say that the financial crisis does not affect the people these groups represent. According to the ILGA-Europe report on Poverty and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex (2014), LGBTI people are at a particularly high risk of poverty based on their high rates of societal isolation; discrimination in access to services, education, housing, and health; decreased likelihood of having access to familial support networks; higher rates of unemployment and pay gaps; and the limited recognition of same-sex unions (i.e., unequal access to rights and benefits linked to such unions). Yet, with the exception of one respondent, the general consensus was that the financial crisis had little negative effect on the coalition work of LGBTI activists. The situation concerning organizational resources only minimally changed, if at all, for many of the organizations in question. It is worth bearing in mind that the LGBTI movement is so accustomed to being underfunded, even in Western Europe, that the crisis had little to no material impact: “Our specific movement was not funded well enough before the crisis to be hit now that overall funding is less available” (161).7 As table 2 shows, over half of European movement organizations have one or fewer paid employees. It is also a movement that has gained unparalleled international attention in recent years, especially in the post-crisis years. While the financial crisis seemed for many to have little measurable impact on resources, several said it has had a strong and indirect effect on both intersectional consciousness and coalition formation. Table 2 Resources of the European LGBTI organizations (n = 197 organizations) Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Source: Author’s LGBTI Organizations Survey (2011). Table 2 Resources of the European LGBTI organizations (n = 197 organizations) Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Source: Author’s LGBTI Organizations Survey (2011). Indeed, most respondents noted that having access to fewer resources for social justice organizations in general has a positive effect on coalition formation, in that organizations are more inclined to cooperate to complete projects (166). The quotes under H1(a) demonstrate this dynamic. While the competition for funding might be greater during times of crisis, it benefited cross-movement alliances because funders reacted to lesser resources by calling for increased cooperation, to which groups had to adapt (165). H1(a): Increased cross-movement coalitions [O]rganisations have considered doing more cross-movement work to appeal to funders, whose resources have become scarcer—especially funders working across different issues, of course. Interestingly, I didn’t see the same interest develop [before the financial crisis] when multiple-discrimination was more frequently discussed, roughly in the years 2006–2009 (167). Competition for resources places tension as groups apply for funding from a shrinking pot of money. However, funders are placing an emphasis on intersectionality and multiple-discrimination, so organizations have incorporated this approach into their work (165). Donor organizations have reduced funding as a result of the crisis. Certainly forming coalitions and alliances requires funding in order to advocate for a particular cause, but I don’t see it as a major obstacle. On the opposite side, availability of sufficient funds can be a determinant for triggering this kind of cooperation both within the LGBT movement and with other groups (166). There are several examples of this effect in practice. For example, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth and Student Organization (IGLYO) made intersectionality a primary focus since 2008—which is easily observable by looking at the proliferation of the term in their mission statements across time—and they received funding from both the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the post-crisis period, with organizations from other movements listed as primary partners (165). Table 3 charts the current key partners of two prominent LGBTI umbrella INGOs. Below, I will show European-level membership-based organizations like these can play a role in facilitating both cross-organization and cross-movement alliances at the national level. Table 3 Collaboration among INGOs in Europe ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  Source: Author’s Survey (2015). Table 3 Collaboration among INGOs in Europe ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  Source: Author’s Survey (2015). H1(b): Heightened intersectional consciousness We see a related dynamic around the relationship between crisis and intersectional consciousness. The political shift to the far right and the threat that this has posed has reverberated in activist networks and has made the LGBTI movement more aware of its most marginalized members by further illuminating the struggle that they share with other social justice movements. These two interpretations were surprisingly prevalent in the survey results. Only one activist argued that the movement itself had taken a conservative turn in response to the crisis. In terms of theoretical novelty, both of these arguments complicate simplistic accounts of resource mobilization and political process theorists, if we shift the dependent variable from mobilization to consciousness and cross-movement cooperation. I don’t think the economic crisis had a relevant impact. It’s more the European democratic crises and the rise of far-right and populist movements that posed a threat to the development of LGBTI/human rights, pushing many organizations within and across the LGBTI movement towards some cooperation (168). The crisis has led to a rise in xenophobic and intolerant speech on the part of political leaders in Europe. They have targeted minority groups more frequently, especially people of migrant origin, asylum-seekers, and/or Muslims. I’m under the impression this led … the LGBTI movement to become aware of this discrimination, and occasionally stand against it (167). [T]he lack of financial resources has made partnerships even more important even for organizational purposes and this has helped promote intersectional consciousness as well; moreover, the increased vulnerability caused by the economic crisis—and by the political responses to the crisis—generated … more solidarity with respect to the dangers of discrimination (156). It has not impacted our resources or the ones of our partners. The only thing is that we’re [now] more inclined to seek alliances with social NGOs. I think internally, we are more aware to better reflect LGBTI people’s needs in their daily life: housing, social protection, employment, health, etc., rather than speaking in abstract terms of discrimination. We need to give more flesh to the concepts of social and economic rights. Due to the crisis, our members need to do more service provision than only advocacy work (163). The discussion within the movements and actors in various organizations has shown how the broader movement’s awareness of “threat to equality for all minority groups” emerged as a result of populist and nationalist backlash to the economic crisis, like the rise of the far-right parties (165). This notion of ‘we’re in this together’, heightened with the feeling that “any difference in society became a threat to those on [the] far right”, and one that various movements representing difference in society had to respond to together (165, emphasis added). I continue by describing further how coalitions and heightened intersectional consciousness are facilitated in times of crisis. II. Coalitions H2(a): Europe over the nation-state Whether an intersectional consciousness spurred by threat is reflected in the coalition building of movements is an important but complex question. In this regard, survey responses suggested that cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances are most pronounced in Brussels and often facilitated by umbrella organizations like ILGA-Europe, IGLYO, Transgender Europe (TGEU), Organization Intersex International (OII), and their counterparts in other social justice domains (as shown in table 3). There are several reasons why INGOs are more adept at embarking on the cross-organizational/cross-movement relationships that tap into a framework of political intersectionality. To explain this, my argument isolates two such primary advantages that the European macrolevel has that support its strong role in the LGBTI movement’s intersectional politics: brokerage and facilitating resources. a. Brokerage First, international LGBTI rights organizations have oversight in terms of brokering partnerships around projects that multiple member organizations might be working on in various European regions. Natural constellations of partnerships can emerge from the bird’s eye view that these umbrella groups hold. By contrast, national and local groups are generally more entrenched in the specifics of their immediate environment (though not always, depending on the group) and can overlook the potential of convenient alliances in other contexts or with other groups. There are many ways that international (governmental and non-governmental) organizations, like the EU and INGOs, can foster cooperation. ILGA-Europe’s annual meeting brings together hundreds of LGBTI organizations from across Council of Europe states (with scholarships to groups requiring funding). The opening thematic panel of the 2016 ILGA-Europe conference, hosted in the ballroom at a time when no other conference events took place, was called Putting Intersectionality at the Core of Our Thinking and dealt with a variety of pertinent issues related to the contemporary movement, addressing race, islamophobia, as well as issues facing Roma, intersex, and trans people within the movement. I should note that despite those impressive efforts, it was clear at the 2016 meeting that the understanding of the concept of intersectionality—especially how it relates to power—remained muddled among many of the participants from local organizations across the continent, and ILGA-Europe’s panelists took on a substantial teaching role. The panel’s abstract from the program states: So how do we make sure that thinking intersectionally is at the core of all our work? This panel aims at unpacking the very concept of intersectionality and at reflecting on what it means for the European LGBTI movement. This panel will be a place for critical self-reflection, looking at who has power and privilege within the movement and whose voices we are still not hearing loudly enough. Indeed, the concept “intersectionality” appeared in the conference delegate packet thirty-two times in 2016, compared to just once in 2008. Using Nvivo software, figure 1 visualizes the upward trend in the crude measure of key terms in the delegate packets that accompanied the annual ILGA-Europe meetings between 2005 and 2016: intersectional/ity, age, disability, race, and migrant/refugee status. Another INGO, IGLYO, has published and maintained an “intersectionality toolkit” with guidelines for activists since 2013.8 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Intersectionality in ILGA-Europe delegate packets, 2005–2016 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Intersectionality in ILGA-Europe delegate packets, 2005–2016 Furthermore, the proposal of legislative bills that affect multiple social groups can structurally bring movements together. For example, pieces of legislation concerning anti-discrimination, hate crimes, and hate speech can become EU imperatives that incentivize INGOs representing various social justice groups—all of which are implicated in such legislation—to work together. At the EU level, ILGA-Europe forms part of the Social Platform and has worked with European INGOs on issues of age, disability, religion, and race. ILGA-Europe’s recent collaboration with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is one such example. It involved a campaign monitoring hate speech and discourse by Member of European Parliament (MEP) candidates on grounds of race and SOGI leading up to the 2014 MEP election (160). According to activists, the European campaign was an “intersectional, cross-grounds campaign in the course of the elections to the European Parliament” (160). ILGA-Europe and ENAR produced a joint campaign, promoting MEP candidates who stood for both the rights of LGBTI people and individuals with a migrant/minority ethnic background. The campaign comprised online infographics and a video, advocating for the respect of both constituencies’ rights.9 It also included a monitoring mechanism to identify and “call-out” candidates who attacked either minority or pitted one against the other (e.g., those stating that Muslims are homophobic). Another example is the High Ground Platform, which gathers European organizations working on LGBTI rights and centrally addresses issues of sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights. Second, international organizations, by their very nature, generally encompass more differences and have practice at building consensus around them among their member organizations. Since they are more detached from local and domestic single-issue politics, they may be able to more effectively campaign for projects that have intersectional dimensions. This type of agenda-setting can trickle down, with “member organizations often incorporat[ing] the same or similar strategic priorities as the European-level umbrella organization” (165). A factor that tends to facilitate alliance building is this international aspect. Transnational movements or organizations working internationally are [more likely] to be aware of the intersectionality of certain issues or types of oppression (167). At the European level, the notion that LGBT rights are often at the core of the discussion on human rights has also helped build alliances and coalitions with human rights organizations. For instance, the campaign towards a horizontal anti-discrimination directive has not only brought together organizations working on different discrimination grounds but it has also allowed us to focus on multiple-discrimination as well (157). I think ILGA-Europe, at the European level, and ILGA, at the international level, have been useful in focusing the attention of member organizations on diversity within the movement and on the need to take positive steps to be more inclusive and representative of the broader diversity. This has also included capacity building events where the sharing of good practices is facilitated (160). Many LGBTI events held at the European level have improved in terms of gender, age and nationality being widely represented. I think there is an increasing focus to strive to enhance diversity practices within the movement (160). b. Resources during resource scarcity European institutions and advocacy groups also increasingly play an important material role by funding projects that highlight multiple-discrimination. Many organizations have incorporated such themes into their work and often prioritize programs and organizations that apply an intersectional framework. Take for example a recent public call by an ILGA-Europe board member: “EU Action Grants to support transnational projects to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance.”10 Seeing these struggles as shared, the grants also stipulated transnational collaboration across groups representing organizations from at least five countries. At the national level, alliances are less likely to emerge in the structured fashion of European institutions and INGOs. Instead, domestic activists claimed that these national alliances are most likely to crystalize around current happenings that affect more than one social group, and interviewees noted that these alliances rarely endure beyond the specific campaign. For example, in the Netherlands, LGBTI groups have worked on an HIV-awareness campaign with other affected marginalized groups, such as those representing sex workers and intravenous drug users. Respondents stressed that, while intersectional projects can be facilitated by European INGOs and institutions, they must bring national organizations together to have any effective output. A central figure at the European level noted that “this alliance building also needs to happen at [the] national level, otherwise, it’s useless; and we are not very good at ensuring that our members at [the] national level do work together” (163). I haven’t seen much [nationally]. Most of it I’ve seen in Brussels between high-level networks like ILGA-Europe and other BXL[Brussels]-based advocacy organizations. In most countries I’ve seen coalitions formed around current events (the necessity to pass an anti-discrimination bill, for example) but little really grassroots level organizing which would effectively bring together the community members. I initiated [a local] effort to bring together the LGBT and Jewish communities. It was short-lived and didn’t result in a long-term collaboration (169). H2(b): Domestic and transnational variation  The second central argument on cross-movement alliances is related to domestic and regional contexts, which mediate more inclusive transnational efforts to support intersectional coalitions. For example, while there is a natural LGBTI affinity toward collaboration with women’s groups in many contexts (though the issues of surrogacy and sex work have come between the movements in some cases), coalitions with other groups are highly context specific. Survey respondents noted heightened hierarchies within the acceptance of various marginalized groups at the societal level, which has hindered alliances. In countries where homo- and transphobia remain comparatively high, groups representing other minorities have taken caution against aligning themselves with the LGBTI movement (159 and 166). On this dimension, there was a strong regional difference between respondents, which respondents working in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries noted repeatedly. To them, external alliances (beyond LGBTI issues) may be more challenging for CEE organizations. Activists noted that they felt that they “needed” the others more than they were needed themselves. Several natural partners in CEE, such as groups working on issues of disability, have mixed or conservative positions toward LGBTI people, which makes collaboration less likely, and subsequently imbalances power away from LGBTI groups when they do cooperate (169). However, in contexts in which LGBTI people are more stigmatized, the LGBTI movement has an advantage for internal alliances (within LGBTI communities), both in terms of the types of alliances and in their political goals. This “united front” sentiment was captured explicitly in this response: “CEE LGBT movements are usually less divided (politically) than other equality movements” (159). This expression of internal unity, which many LGBTI activists say is relatively high compared to other social justice groups, is apparent despite the relatively resource-poor standing of LGBTI organizations in this region. Finally, in terms of power structures within these alliances, the most common factor for a privileged position and voice in the movement was the financial strength of certain organizations. Wealthier organizations play a disproportionate role in setting the movement’s agenda (Lang 2013), especially in interaction with opportunities offered at the European level. One prominent example in CEE is the rise of Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), founded in 2001. Its strategies of transnational networking set it apart from those of many other Polish organizations, and its success at wielding funding and recognition from external contexts has created an omnipresent role for KPH and its goals in the national field of Polish LGBTI activism (164; see also Chetaille 2013). While the organization’s success has been welcomed by many in the movement, especially at this early stage of successful gains for LGBTI people in Poland, its agenda-setting role naturally engenders criticism for mainstreaming radical elements of the movement. Relatedly, despite the many benefits international organizations have, the EU’s involvement was negatively viewed by one respondent, who noted that the EU can encourage cross-movement networking “at any price” (158), even if that clearly privileges certain advocacy groups and certain types of actors (e.g., large organizations endowed with activists who speak English well). In summary, the results of a survey show some potential, and ample will, for making headway on an “intersectionally-linked-fate” (Dawson 1994; Strolovitch 2012) in the European polity—especially in light of a crisis that makes vulnerable LGBTI people more visible and enhances a sense of shared threat with members of other social justice groups. Furthermore, transnational organizing sets much of the intersectional tone in this regard. Indeed, institutional mechanisms provided by the European polity often encourage cross-movement and cross-border alliances at the transnational level. While still limited on the ground, some practitioners see an intersectional approach as the only sustainable way forward for continued engagement with institutions. The puzzling pattern of the European policy machinery paving a way forward on institutionalizing intersectionality, rather than a bottom-up movement, relates to similar dynamics we see in other gendered mobilizations (Irvine, Lang, and Montoya 2015, 10; von Wahl 2017). III. Intersectional Consciousness H3(a): A will in search of a way Two themes emerged around the status of the movement’s postcrisis inclusiveness and diversity. The first was that the movement was increasingly articulate on the issue of intersectionality. In practice, however, the implementation of intersectional lenses varied greatly, with many activists pointing out that the movement was in fact not as inclusive or diverse as it would like to be on the ground. One activist articulated the general sentiment quite clearly: “I might think that the movement is open and tries to be inclusive, but it’s not diverse in the end. It’s heavily white and middle-upper class” (169). For the most part, white gay men with middle-/upper-class status are overrepresented in the movement’s leadership and decision-making bodies. Within the LGBTI categories, trans, intersex, and bisexual people (and their claims) are especially underrepresented. There is awareness of this as a problem and a clear impetus to change it, but it remains a persistent problem nonetheless. Trans advocacy, for example, held an awkward place within many mainstream LGBTI organizations in Europe, which were primarily lesbian and gay organizations that wanted to be inclusive (including in their names), while actually having few competencies on the issues affecting the trans community. TGEU is a transnational organization that was born in response to the oversight of trans issues in other LGBTI organizations (Balzer and Hutta 2014); the same is true for OII, a group focusing on intersex rights. Incorporating organizations that deal specifically with trans and intersex issues was welcomed by leading umbrella organizations like ILGA, which collaborate actively with them and also seek out their competencies as trans- and intersex-specific organizations. Similarly, lesbian women, despite their central history in a movement with close ties to the women’s movement, “are not equal within the [LGBTI] movement in regard to decision-making, leadership, and governance” (158). At the 2016 ILGA-Europe conference, two panels were devoted to increasing the visibility of lesbian issues in the movement, which resulted in organizing the European Lesbian* Conference in October 2017. Activists also suggested that such lack of representation is apparent even in groups that actively seek to increase diversity. The reason for this (i.e., having the “will” but still in search of a way), they argue, is that being an activist within highly stigmatized organizations requires privilege in and of itself (Emejulu 2015; Newman 2013). This rationale is also well charted in work explaining social movement participation, which has typically found participants to score high on individual resources and biographical availability (Snow and Soule 2009, 109–148). As demonstrated in the survey responses, such privileges are not readily available to individuals whose LGBTI identity intersects with multiple marginalized identities: I sense a desire to be inclusive and diverse as a movement. Politically we do express the desire, and people on an individual level surely have the intention to work inclusively. There is however still a lot of bias given where we come from as a movement and [the privileges required to] be active in the movement: higher education, to be able to question heteronormative society, and a level of economical independence to take the risk of working for a group that was so stigmatized (161). It strives to be inclusive, this appears in the internal policies of several organizations and is supported via scholarships. But it is still very hard for ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, people from rural areas and people with lower educational backgrounds to participate in the movement. In some countries, gender, trans status and age are also barriers (159). To be an LGBT activist, one must be in the position to handle a double-life with a job and voluntary work. So many with disabilities, chronic disease, or living in poverty are excluded from activism. Because they are not activists, they are not in contact with “traditional” activists and are made invisible (163). Alongside the systemic reasons for why this might be, activists also noted practical and conceptual concerns for implementation. An activist gave the example of the financial costs of organizing events that took intersectionality seriously. For example, to include deaf queer people, you need to supply sign language interpreters. Aside from the financial costs, in their context (Moldova, outside the EU) interpreters are often not out, and face risks working in a queer space in an official capacity. There are also debates about whether to remove gender quotas, which increase lesbian representation, while reifying gender binaries exclusionary to trans and intersex people. In sum, “the movement is far less diverse than the community itself [, and it remains] hard to reach out to people with different backgrounds” (169). H3(b): Intersectionality as a European priority Another trend that conforms to the findings above is that intersectional consciousness has been addressed more clearly at the European level, which has been more successful than states or sub-European regions at inspiring and implementing intersectional strategies (though three activists [162, 168 and 169] singled out Scandinavian SMOs as being experienced in applying an intersectional lens). Transnational umbrella organizations in Brussels, such as ILGA-Europe, are recognized for effectively going beyond rhetoric to implement strategies that lead to diversity and inclusiveness: [Intersectionality is] more of an imperative at the EU level, but rarely happens in practice on the grassroots level. Although there are a number of LGBTI groups, such as LGBTI Christian, Muslim, lesbian, trans specific or intersex groups, the inclusion at the grassroots level of activists from diverse backgrounds is limited. Many LGBTI events held at the European level have improved in terms of gender, age and nationality being widely represented. I think there is an increasing [top-down] focus to strive to enhance diversity practices within the movement (160). At the European level, there have been efforts to call attention to the need for diversity within organizations although it is often the case that diversity is lacking in representation and in decision-making bodies of LGBT organizations (157). My impression is that the movement in Scandinavian countries shows inclusiveness and diversity, and a great awareness of intersectionality too. […] Overall, I have the impression the European movement tends to be mostly white, middle-class, and of home nationalities. [At the EU level,] I have the impression sexualities and gender identities tend to be rather diverse however, with LGB and T people represented, and intersex people beginning to be represented (167). There has been an increased discussion within European organizations over the last five-plus years about intersectionality and about becoming more inclusive. ILGA-Europe has played an important role. An example of this is looking at material from [the organization RFSL] in Sweden. Fifteen years ago the material would have photos of typically white, able-bodied people between twenty-five and forty years old. Now material is much more diverse, and there is a consciousness about who is selected to create inclusion (162). All of the findings above tap into a crucial challenge that scholars have highlighted in taking an intersectional approach to movement politics. The issue of underrepresentation in the leadership of transnational organizations is also present and even greater at the domestic level. This is at least partly a result of a lack of opportunities for especially marginalized individuals to attain leadership positions, even if it is precisely the experience of people “at the intersections of sexism, racism, class oppression, nativism, and language discrimination [that] equip[s] them with evidence, ideas, insights, and ambitions that can help solve serious social problems” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 919). Activists acknowledge this and tap into an issue well established in the literature, which is the concern that marginalized groups who depend on welfare and public services have limited time and resources for the work of political activism, which is exacerbated in times when cuts to such service programs persist (Emejulu 2015; Newman 2013). However, it remains imperative to improve representation of people targeted by multiple systems of oppression in leadership positions because they are endowed with the understanding of complex dynamics of power necessary “to combat [that power’s] intersectional reach and scope” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 918). When given a voice, they can serve as the interlocutors that lead to addressing multiple marginalizations on the ground (Lyshaug 2006). An important way forward, noted on a panel at ILGA-Europe, is to generate positive visibility by further encouraging funders to move away from single-issue campaigns and by diversifying the staff and board of LGBTI organizations—supporting those activists that give new voice to the organization. That latter effort to improve representation can also be achieved in part by “making space”: Inclusion can involve people who occupy power relinquishing some of that power to make room for those at the margins. Conclusion This paper has analyzed political intersectionality in relation to the European LGBTI movement, as well as the consciousness surrounding it in movement coalition work. The overarching sentiment, shared by activists and practitioners in various spheres of the movement, is that the movement seeks to be more inclusive than it actually is, suggesting movements must think critically to develop strategies of representation that give particularly marginalized members of LGBTI communities more voice. This connects both to practical concerns—for example, the limited ability of marginalized people to devote additional time to largely unpaid work—and conceptual ones—for example, the ILGA-Europe Board now faces debates surrounding how to implement intersectionality within its gender-quota system. A once cherished quota rule, assuring gender balance between two co-chairs, is rightly criticized by many members for being too gender-binary for an institution that prides itself on trans and intersex inclusion. Yet despite these challenges, there remain important insights to where, and under what conditions, the movement is making headway on applying an intersectional lens. The initial analysis explored the relationship between financial crisis and the two dimensions of political intersectionality (intersectional consciousness and coalition formation). Somewhat paradoxically, there are benefits in crisis on these two dimensions. Indeed, collaborative projects that foster alliances have increased in response to financial crisis. Furthermore, a shared sense of threat provoked by the proliferation of far-right politics and movements has to some degree enhanced consciousness surrounding an intersectionally-linked-fate. The findings suggest that the movement seeks to be more inclusive in response to crisis at the meso- and macrolevel; an argument I put forth while noting the severe obstacles crises bring in the lives of many individual LGBTI people at the microlevel. Theoretically, this finding is in line with recent work that challenges our thinking around the political construction of crisis (Emejulu and Bassel 2017; Strolovitch 2013). Acknowledging the socially constructed nature of crisis complicates how we measure its effects, which are far from homogenous. The findings also build on the work in social movement theory that delineates how opportunity and threat interact for coalition building. They bring political process and resource mobilization schools together to argue that financial crisis provides an opportunity for coalitions across difference. The results were complex in terms of how much an intersectional consciousness matters for actual alliances across social justice movements and organizations. INGOs and intergovernmental organizations, like the EU, have clear advantages in terms of facilitating such cooperation. This, I argued, is mainly due to how brokerage and resource allocation at the transnational level are structured. This macrolevel helps to overcome various identity boundaries (not in the least national ones) by playing a role in encouraging legislation and funding projects allowing for cross-movement cooperation that “might not happen otherwise” (162). There are pitfalls to such alliance building, however, including poor or unsustainable implementation, the privileging of large and transnational LGBTI organizations, and occasionally reifying group differences. The findings thus also conform to Staggenborg’s (2015, 1) expectation that coalitions “can be hierarchical and exclusionary, imposing strategies and goals on their members and only allowing official representatives to participate”. A change in intersectional consciousness, however, may draw new people into movement mobilizations, and it may generate visibility for new narratives of how to understand the broader dimensions to any particular struggle. My hope is that the hypotheses articulated and substantiated here will spur interest and continued exploration between LGBTI and other social justice movements. Indeed, the results surrounding this multifaceted movement, in contemporary times, remain preliminary and provoke questions that can be tested further. Future research can continue to explore several of the claims; for example, with a content analysis of the development of intersectional frames in organizational policies. It should also look at the effects of cross-movement coalitions on policy, as Louise Davidson-Schmich and her collaborators (2017) have carefully explained in the case of Germany. We have more to learn on political intersectionality, and LGBTI movements, with all their complexity, provide a fruitful case for analysis. In closing, I wish to emphasize that for the study of social movements, we must remember that while umbrella labels serve their purposes in making strategic claims, many members of the marginalized groups do not neatly fit the categories purported by their movement communities (Beltran 2010). It is through this recognition that we can come closer to a more just, and ultimately more inclusive, form of mobilization. Indeed, it is people like Sylvia Rivera—crucial members of movements they represent, though not fully at home among them—that have much to offer for our understanding of movement politics, which groups are left behind among them, and how to move forward in collaboration: People now want to call me a lesbian because I’m with Julia, and I say, “No. I’m just me.” […] I am Sylvia Rivera. […] I’m not living in the straight world; I’m not living in the gay world; I’m just living in my own world with Julia and my friends. Phillip M. Ayoub is an Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College and of Politics at Drexel University. He is the author of When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility (Cambridge, 2016) and co-editor, with David Paternotte, of LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe (Palgrave, 2014). In 2014, he was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights and Politics & Sexuality section awards for Best Dissertation. The following year, he received the European Union Studies Association's biennial award for Best Dissertation. He also received the Janice N. and Milton J. Esman Prize for distinguished scholarship (from Cornell University) and the 2017 Best Article of the Year Award from the Council of European Studies’ Gender and Sexuality Research Network. Please visit www.phillipmayoub.com for further information. Acknowledgments For insightful comments on various drafts, I am deeply indebted to the participants of the 2015 Gendered Mobilizations Workshop at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as Jill Irvine, Sabine Lang, Celeste Montoya, David Paternotte, the anonymous reviewers, and participants at the 2016 annual meetings of the Council for European Studies in Philadelphia, PA and the European Consortium for Political Research in Prague, Czech Republic. Finally, I am grateful to Lauren Bauman and Zack Levy-Dyer for able research assistance. Appendix Table A1 Country/region information for surveyed LGBTI organizations Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  View Large Table A1 Country/region information for surveyed LGBTI organizations Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  View Large References Ayoub Phillip M. 2015. 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Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Footnotes 1 Homonationalism is a concept that critically theorizes the incorporation of gay rights into the nation, including projects that reproduce and justify nationalism, imperialism, white supremacy, war, and consumerism (Puar 2007). 2 For Crenshaw (1989) “political intersectionality” describes the ways in which activist groups elevate concerns along a single axis of identity that tends to erase people whose identities are located at the intersections of multiple identities, the paradigmatic example being the erasure of Black women from both mainstream women’s organizing (which elevates the experiences and interests of white women) and anti-racist activism (which elevates the experiences and interests of Black men). These dynamics have implications for how we understand identity politics because the very meanings that are attached to these categories are in fact the products of elevating certain aspects of identity over others in narratives told about the group. For the intellectual history of the concept of intersectionality, see Hancock’s (2016) important work on that subject. 3 McCammon and Campbell (2002), in their study of coalitions among suffragist groups, showed that cooperation among two women’s organizations declined as opportunities rose. This logic is also theoretically fruitful for a study of LGBTI coalitions. When the political climate is favorable for some, groups may be less likely to overcome differences and strategize around common platforms. 4 I use the terms SMO and NGO while acknowledging the important but blurred differences between them. Typically, NGOs are more formalized with a higher degree of institutionalization and professionalization and often focus on lobby work (Lang 2013, 67–9). Making a clear distinction in the sample of organizations surveyed for this article is difficult, but the Brussels-based umbrella groups generally exhibit more features of NGOs than the national SMOs. That said, several of these SMOs have also undergone processes of NGOization since their initial formation (Paternotte 2016). 5 For example, contemporary right-wing anti-immigrant parties in Europe use gay and lesbian issues as a way to argue against the inclusion of “homophobic” ethnic minorities. Alice Weidel, the lesbian co-leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AFD) party is an example of this dynamic. 6 The participants were contacted in February 2015 and were offered a $20 Amazon Gift Card for their time. I originally selected 20 expert interviewees from a pool of activists and politicians drawn from the larger project. The survey yielded a 70 percent response rate. 7 Refers to the survey/interview number. 8 http://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Inter-Toolkit1.pdf. 9 http://www.enar-eu.org/NoHateEP2014-campaign-final-hate. 10 http://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants1/calls/2015_action_grants/just_2015_rrac_ag_en.htm. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Politics Oxford University Press

Intersectional and Transnational Coalitions during Times of Crisis: The European LGBTI Movement

Social Politics , Volume Advance Article – Mar 26, 2018

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Abstract

Abstract This paper explores an overarching question that informs our understanding of political intersectionality in movement coalition building work: How do limited material resources affect the intersectional consciousness of social movements and the nature of their coalition building work? To answer this question, I conducted an expert survey to assess the intersectional consciousness of the European lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex movement during times of financial crisis. I argue, somewhat paradoxically, that intersectional consciousness is most present at the transnational level, where the potential for brokering cross-movement relationships is high, and that the financial crisis has heightened that consciousness. I’ve been trying to get up here all day for your gay brothers and your gay sisters in jail that write me every motherfucking week and ask for your help, and you all don’t do a goddamned thing for them. … I have been beaten. I have had my nose broken. I have been thrown in jail. I have lost my job. I have lost my apartment. … For gay liberation, and you all treat me this way? … I believe in us getting our rights, or else I would not be out there fighting for our rights. That’s what I wanted to say to you people. … [C]ome and see the people … that are trying to do something for all of us and not men and women that belong to a white, middle-class, white club! And that’s what you all belong to! Revolution now! (Sylvia Rivera, 1973) Introduction The words of American activist Sylvia Rivera’s powerful speech at the 1973 Christopher Street Rally in New York reverberated throughout a crowd representing an integral part of a young movement. Spoken just three years after the first pride march on that same street—hailed by many to be the birth of an empowered and visible movement to liberate sexual and gender minorities from oppressive hetero- and cisnormative power structures—Rivera’s words poked holes in the new master narrative. As a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, Rivera shone light on new boundaries of power that had emerged within the international movement. A self-identified Latina half-sister, she pointed out quite clearly that the oppressed struggle not only against the power barriers that divide them from the privileged, but also against the boundaries of power “constituted by mixes of privilege and disprivilege within their ranks” (Rogers and Lott 1997, 497). Rivera’s vantage point enables us to tie movement dynamics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) politics to what scholars have come to refer to as intersectionality (Collins 2008; Crenshaw 1991). The concept of intersectionality—“the ways in which different inequalities intersect[,] leading to unique forms of discrimination” and lived experience (Kantola and Nousiainen 2009, 460)—is only recently being applied to policy practices that deal with multiple inequalities in the European Union (EU) (Krizsan, Skejeie and Squires 2012; Mügge 2016; Verloo 2006; Siim 2014). The related and broader concept of political intersectionality has sought to explore how such differing inequalities interact in meso- and macrolevel institutional and noninstitutional settings (Grzanka 2014; Irvine, Lang, and Montoya 2015, 10; Weldon 2006; Wilson 2013; all drawing on Crenshaw 1991). This paper extends that line of thinking to examine coalition formation among advocacy groups, including both social movement organizations (SMOs) and interest groups, in Europe. Indeed, intersectionality in its political sense (political intersectionality) poses a series of interesting questions about the formation of coalitions, even if their stated or overarching goals previously differed. In particular, this paper attempts to chart the nature of the understudied European LGBTI movement’s alliances and its orientation toward political intersectionality. The movement’s rhetorical use and attempted implementation of intersectional approaches has been precipitously increasing since 2008, despite a political context fraught with populist resurgence, homonationalism, and financial crisis: one that might typically be a worst-case scenario for the feasibility of furthering political intersectionality.1 After surveying the inclusiveness of the European LGBTI movement (in its claims and its participants), I explore two overarching questions in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis that has come to define much of European politics in recent years: When and how are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances facilitated? How has the financial crisis affected such coalition building work, as well as the broader intersectional consciousness of the movement? While some social movement literature argues that threat, such as the one posed by financial crisis, can lead to mobilization, critical scholars in minority politics have questioned its potential for cross-movement alliances. Indeed, there is an active debate about what financial crisis means for intersectional coalition building work. As Johanna Kantola and Emanuela Lombardo (2017, 6) put it: “different organizations and movements representing different groups can be pitted against one another in a seeming competition for scarcer resources, or, alternatively it can point to new alliances and solidarity in times of crisis”. The tug between these two disparate scenarios—threat or opportunity—has been increasingly explored in relation to activism by women broadly (Bassel and Emejulu 2010; Lombardo 2017). This article offers a much needed, yet often overlooked, exploration of these dynamics in LGBTI activism. Using the case of the LGBTI movement, I argue that intersectional consciousness and coalitions are expanded during times of financial crisis at a group level, and especially in the transnational sphere. I refer to intersectional consciousness as the awareness and responsiveness of movement organizers to differing inequalities and discrepancies of power and privilege in their surroundings. There remain important caveats to the extent these alliances work and are functional on the ground, and especially as it concerns individuals’ lived experiences. Nonetheless, the movement’s intersectional consciousness has grown in post-financial-crisis years in a way that may offer new potentialities to organizers and make more visible the serious shortcomings that exist in the mission of LGBTI groups to address the needs of many of their most vulnerable subjects. Furthermore, while cross-movement coalitions are frequent, they are context-specific and predominantly facilitated by international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and European institutions—that have been quick to develop an intersectional consciousness. I thus argue, somewhat paradoxically, that intersectional consciousness is most present at the more abstract transnational level, where the potential for brokering cross-movement relationships is high, and that the financial crisis has heightened that consciousness. Indeed, groups on the ground struggle with realizing the political potential of an intersectional approach to disrupt everyday power dynamics inherent in the movement; and times of scarcity heighten awareness by generating a sense of shared threat and challenging INGOs to think pragmatically about cooperating for access to limited resources. I proceed by grounding the above argument in theoretical debates on political intersectionality and movement coalitions before presenting the methodology and findings in relation to the research questions. My contribution is to shed light on when political intersectionality can emerge as a formidable approach for movement coalition work. Intersectional Consciousness and Movement Coalitions Political Intersectionality in Movement This paper applies Kimberle Crenshaw’s (1991) concept of political intersectionality to social movement concepts of alliances and coalitions formed by social justice groups, inside and outside of LGBTI advocacy groups. By coalitions, I refer to the means-oriented alliances that unite individuals and groups around shared goals (Gamson 1961). This is an admittedly broad definitional approach to political intersectionality, using it as a research paradigm for understanding “social groups, relations, and contexts” (Dhamoon 2011, 230; Hancock 2007), while acknowledging the importance of it as a social critique emerging out of the struggles of Black women in the United States (Collins 2008; Crenshaw 1991).2 This article is primarily concerned with the meso- and macrolevel foundations of the approach, as they concern group and institutional organizations, social structures, and power relations; and sees coalitions across social justice groups as one observable implication—however simplistic it may be—of the application of an intersectional framework. The theoretical framing outlined in this section should help guide the several hypotheses that will be defined and analyzed in later parts of the paper. In this regard, Elizabeth Cole’s (2008) work has been useful for bringing the social movement literature into dialogue with Crenshaw’s theorizing on political intersectionality, which focuses on individuals in relation to organizations and policy. As Cole (2008, 444) notes: Although institutions such as organizations, social movements and public policies sometimes recognize certain identity groups, often their analysis is framed to address the concerns of individuals who, but for one marginalized status, are otherwise privileged … [Thus] those who occupy multiple subordinate identities, particularly women of color, may find themselves caught between the sometimes conflicting agendas of two political constituencies to which they belong, or are overlooked by these movements entirely. The ubiquity of “one-size-fits-all” sameness or equivalence is thus precisely what political intersectionality seeks to challenge. Employing an intersectional approach that entails finding common interests while also acknowledging the limits of similarities, and demands the formation of alliances on grounds other than essential similarity, is a challenging but critical task for all great social justice movements. To realize such a goal, according to Cole (2008, 451), movement actors “must struggle to recognize social categories as specific, historically based, contextualized, intersecting and constructed through power while simultaneously remembering that [their] common heritage is that [they] share the experience of life within this web of intersections”. The potential impotence of “common heritage” and “sameness”, as well as the prevailing presence of “differentiated and uneven power” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 917), is a reality that social movement researchers and practitioners must seriously consider in their work. So it is useful to ask, as this paper does, when political intersectionality can emerge as a powerful theme in the coalition work of movements. Even groups that are commonly represented as uniform (e.g., “Black men” or “lesbian women”) are coalitions (Cole 2008, 446; Murib and Soss 2015). This is as true for a conglomerate umbrella identifier such as “LGBTI people”, which even in its name encompasses at least five separate identities, let alone the many subidentities that represent the diverse experiences (at the microlevel) lived by various individuals that identify as LGBTI (Murib 2015; Murib and Soss 2015). Indeed, the acronym itself embodies the exclusionary nature of the politics of the movement’s earlier classifying labels—such as the “homosexual”, “homophile”, “gay”, or “gay and lesbian”—and an evolution toward recognizing a vast array of experiences dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). While the LGBT acronym is now commonly employed in research and practice, much scholarship has also noted that intersex, questioning, queer, and asexual people (LGBTIQQA) remain excluded from even this overarching category. Even the contested terrain of terminology highlights the difficulty of uniformly representing the distinct needs of individuals in a diverse constituency, as well as the utility of a concept like intersectionality in movement work. As Rivera’s speech suggested at the outset of this paper, ignoring crosscutting differences in identity poses serious limits to the coalitional project of emancipatory politics at the group level. Threat and Opportunity in Movement Coalition Building Social movement scholars have theorized movement coalitions across borders, which can be brought into dialogue with scholarship on political intersectionality that recognizes the non-uniformity across groups. Joe Bandy and Jackie Smith’s (2005) volume offers a critical intervention on thinking about coalitions across borders, as well the political contexts that facilitate them. In line with theorizing in the political process school, a core claim in this work is that the political environment in which movements operate affects their coalitions (Staggenborg 1986). Indeed, coalitions are likely to form when social justice groups are faced with opportunities or threats—though some studies have privileged one factor over another. For example, Holly McCammon and Karen Campbell (2002) find threat to be the most important determining factor for coalition building (see also Zepeda-Millán 2017).3 Yet in terms of organizational capacity, a core finding has been that coalitions are less likely to form when competition among resources is high. For Suzanne Staggenborg (1986), whose work on coalition building called our attention to the interaction between political circumstances (in the form of opportunity and threat) and resources, common interests across groups are more salient when financial resources are plentiful. Yet even in terms of resource abundance or scarcity, findings remain complex. My theorization of the relationship between financial crises and the LGBTI movement follows a line of argumentation that suggests that enhancing efficiency by pooling limited resources can incentivize a certain type of organizing: namely coalitions. For example, Pauline Cullen (2005) has made such a case in her study of the European Social Platform. Indeed, resource mobilization theory—the idea that external resources strongly affect organizing (McCarthy and Zald 1977)—also suggests that the availability of funds for certain types of organizing generates that type of organizing. The theory thus interacts in a productive way with the political process school to suggest that the “crisis” of resource strain can open an opportunity for collaborative coalitions in some circumstances. While political process theorists often conceptualize external threats as policy threats, I operationalize threats as related to financial crisis here. Relatedly, an important point that Paul Waterman (2005, 157) makes in reference to the Chinese ideograph for “crisis” is that it entails both opportunity and threat: “a globalized capitalist threat also provides a social movement opportunity”. Crisis can thus offer an opportunity for applying an intersectional approach at the meso- and macrolevels of organizing, in the sense that it puts issues of multiple inequalities on the activist agenda; as it has in the case of minority women’s activism, making visible the intersections of race, gender, and poverty (Emejulu and Bassel 2017). I thus follow Dara Strolovitch (2013) to also complicate the popular understanding of crisis, a concept that is both political and ideological, and overwhelmingly constructed in favor of describing issues affecting dominant groups. If crisis is about dominant groups, we should not expect its effects to be universal, as they may then naturally differ for marginalized groups—many of whom live in “crisis” on a day-to-day basis anyways. I build on the above by exploring these ideas of threat and resource across borders (Bandy and Smith 2005) and across group coalitions; the latter being a most difficult case for sustained collaboration (Staggenborg 2015). It follows calls by scholars that more theorizing needs to be done if we focus on cross-movement coalitions (Beamish and Luebbers 2009), which naturally face heightened obstacles for coalition formation in most environments. For transnational LGBTI movements, there are exacerbated structural barriers—cultural, geographic, economic, and political—working to impede cooperation across borders (Young 1992), combined with the additional limits of doing so across social justice movements. Furthermore, while most of this research has been used to study the actual timing of coalition formation, I suggest that this line of thinking can also be extended to exploring a change in consciousness of movements. Looking at ties both within and across understudied LGBTI SMOs and NGOs, my intention is both to explore these theoretical ideas in a new transnational arena, as well as to argue that threat can be good at raising consciousness if organizations and institutions exist to channel it into a compelling intersectional narrative.4 When threat occurs in the form of an international crisis, transnational organizations are most able to peddle a narrative that defines that threat as shared. Thus, while we rightly expect an environment in which social groups are pitted against each other to potentially limit an intersectional consciousness—for example, homonationalist arguments claiming that migrant ethnic minorities are more threatening to white gay and lesbian people5—I argue instead that crisis can also paradoxically heighten the proclivity of intersectional coalitions to form at the meso- and macrolevels. Social movement theory provides pathways for understanding these relationships. Hypotheses Drawing on this theoretical background, three sets of related hypotheses form the core arguments that I outline below, to which I will further elaborate on the mechanisms and processes behind the general assumptions I make here. These assumptions are all in relation to social justice movements. H1: Crisis H1(a): Financial crisis leads to resource scarcity, which alters donor requirements at the international level and incentivizes cross-movement coalitions. H1(b): Financial crisis leads to a more xenophobic political climate, which makes discrimination and a shared sense of threat more visible, generating an intersectional consciousness. H2: Coalitions H2(a): The international organizations represented at the European level are more conducive to facilitating cross-movement coalitions because of two distinctive characteristics: their ability to broker relationships and supply resources. H2(b): Domestic and regional dynamics are at play, with high levels of homo- and transphobia in some European countries and regions hindering external cross-movement alliances at the domestic level, but sponsoring intra-LGBTI alliances instead. H3: Intersectional Consciousness H3(a): Acknowledging intersectionality as a political framework for social justice work is clearly desired, but not fully developed in practice. H3(b): Applying an intersectional framework is context specific: international LGBTI organizations tend to be more successful at applying an intersectional lens to their campaigns (compared to domestic LGBTI organizations).There are qualifications to any such hypotheses on political intersectionality, which is an undoubtedly complex concept in the case of the LGBTI movement. The sections below also address this complexity, emphasizing that the implementation of a politics that recognizes an intersectional approach can be arduous, even when consciousness is high. Furthermore, alliances across movements and across borders may also be strategic, short-lived, and sometimes they can reify group differences. In what follows, the paper’s three subsequent sections are structured around each set of hypotheses as it relates to the European LGBTI movement. The analysis proceeds by describing the movement’s inclusiveness and consciousness around intersectionality, before analyzing the propensity of such a consciousness to result in alliances across social justice movements. It addresses both elements, however, by first speaking to the effect of material crises—in this case the financial crisis—on political intersectionality. These dimensions thus elaborate on intersectional consciousness and coalitions, as well as how these two dynamics interact with resource scarcity. Methods Case Selection Social justice around European LGBTI rights is an interesting issue for the study of political intersectionality and coalition building. The movements that represent LGBTI people have a long history of transnational ties, but function in vastly different domestic contexts; for example, European states vary greatly in terms of the resources available to LGBTI populations, the cultural receptiveness they enjoy, and the oppositions they face (Ayoub and Paternotte 2014). Even within similar country contexts, the LGBTI movement represents individuals and groups with highly varied lived experiences and access to social justice. Not only do LGBTI people represent a group with many crosscutting identities, but also some have argued that they embody—when compared to the representation of other social categories such as class, race/ethnicity, and gender—the group with the fewest institutional mechanisms for applying pressure at the European level (Verloo 2006). This is said in the sense that LGBTI groups are rarely institutionalized as deserving of protection. Such an understanding, which captured the sentiment of many scholarly onlookers a decade ago, reifies the popular notion of a group both “invisible” and “weak” politically. Somewhat surprisingly, however, this portrayal of a weak and powerless group, while correct some time ago, also mischaracterizes the new paths and institutional mechanisms LGBTI organizations have paved. LGBTI groups are now key players in the landscape of European human rights work. The EU case not only allows for variation in LGBTI recognition and movement across states, it also features strong international institutions supportive of LGBTI rights—a most likely case for transnational cooperation and human rights promotion—and is a region greatly affected by the financial crisis. For these reasons, the study here seeks to explore the concept of political intersectionality through the lens of the European LGBTI movement. Method To gain leverage on this project’s questions, I combined insights from a larger project that explores the effect of transnational LGBTI activism on socio-legal change with an expert survey on political intersectionality. The larger study (Ayoub 2015, 2016) included twenty-five months of fieldwork in Europe, concluding with over eighty interviews and focus groups, alongside participant observation at dozens of activist meetings and campaigns across the continent. While familiarity with the European LGBTI movement led to a set of theoretical expectations, I collected follow-up data that specifically addressed intersectionality and transnational alliances. The data come from fourteen online survey interviews conducted in February and March of 2015, which centered upon six questions related to this project (overview of questions below in table 1). Each question was followed by an open-ended text-field (which produced responses that I then coded). I also included two components that asked respondents to rank inclusivity and diversity on a scale.6 Respondents were selected strategically to elicit a wide range of insights at different levels, including both national and international advocacy organizations. The fourteen respondents represent an array of southern, northern, eastern, and western European states, as well as countries that experienced the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis quite differently. The survey included experts representing national LGBTI SMOs from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden, as well as LGBTI-focused INGOs based in Brussels and Budapest (see table A1 in the Appendix). Finally, I attended the 2016 annual conference for the European chapter of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA-Europe)—the largest umbrella gathering of LGBTI organizations—in Nicosia, Cyprus to observe the six panels and workshops centered on intersectionality and conduct additional face-to-face interviews with activists and funders on the questions used in the survey. In summary, the results of the analysis offer data that chart the voice of activists and practitioners in response to the guiding questions that motivate the study of intersectional consciousness in the contemporary transnational politics of Europe. Table 1 LGBTI movement: intersectional and transnational coalitions in times of financial crisis, average responses   Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)    Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)  Source: Author’s survey (2015). Table 1 LGBTI movement: intersectional and transnational coalitions in times of financial crisis, average responses   Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)    Score  Scale  I. Financial Crisis      How has the financial crisis impacted the intersectional consciousness or actions of the movement?  1.33  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  How has the financial crisis changed coalitional or alliance building work (both within the LGBTI movement and with other groups)?  1.25  1 (no negative impact)  2 (some negative impact)  3 (substantial negative impact)  II. Coalitions  How prevalent are cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances (with social justice groups representing different minorities)?  2.75  1 (not prevalent)  2 (somewhat prevalent)  3 (very prevalent)  What is the role of transnational organizations in facilitating these alliances?  2.83  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  What is the role of European institutions in facilitating these alliances?  2.61  1 (no role)  2 (some role)  3 (substantial role)  III. Intersectionality      How inclusive is the movement (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  1.92  1 (not inclusive)  2 (somewhat inclusive)  3 (very inclusive)  How diverse are its participants  1.85  1 (not diverse)  2 (somewhat diverse)  (in terms of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, nationality, and ability)?  3 (very diverse)  Source: Author’s survey (2015). Findings The results of the survey provide preliminary answers to the overarching questions, which correspond to the three sections in table 1. Specifically: (1) financial crisis has paradoxically benefited the transnational movement’s intersectional consciousness and coalitions by generating a sense of shared threat and encouraging cooperation for access to limited resources; (2) on coalitions, cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances are frequent, but they are context-specific and, surprisingly, they are predominantly facilitated by international organizations and European institutions instead of at the grassroots level; and (3) on consciousness, the movement seeks to be more inclusive and aware of intersectionality than it actually is on the ground, where middle-/upper-class gay men still dominate decision-making procedures. I expand on these arguments in detail below, using descriptive data from the 2015 expert survey. Table 1 displays simple averages of the survey responses coded on scales of 1 to 3, and its scores are only intended to guide the reader with general descriptive trends and to foreshadow the three arguments that I will make. To make sense of these often surprising trends, I use the survey and interview responses of the aforementioned experts below alongside other contextual data gleaned from primary organizational documents and an earlier organizational survey to substantiate the three sets of claims. I. Financial Crisis (and Its Benefits?) This section reflects on the financial crisis and how it affects both of the dimensions of political intersectionality: coalitions and consciousness. One of the more surprising findings was the common observation that the financial crisis—which has so negatively impacted the lived experiences of marginalized individuals at the microlevel—does not rank highly in the factors that LGBTI activists say negatively affect the intersectional work of the movement at the meso- and macrolevels. LGBTI activists rarely brought up the issue of the financial crisis during my previous fieldwork (which began formally in 2008). On the contrary, most interviewees highlighted the benefits of the threat triggered by the crisis for intersectional consciousness and coalition building. To be clear, this is not to say that the financial crisis does not affect the people these groups represent. According to the ILGA-Europe report on Poverty and discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex (2014), LGBTI people are at a particularly high risk of poverty based on their high rates of societal isolation; discrimination in access to services, education, housing, and health; decreased likelihood of having access to familial support networks; higher rates of unemployment and pay gaps; and the limited recognition of same-sex unions (i.e., unequal access to rights and benefits linked to such unions). Yet, with the exception of one respondent, the general consensus was that the financial crisis had little negative effect on the coalition work of LGBTI activists. The situation concerning organizational resources only minimally changed, if at all, for many of the organizations in question. It is worth bearing in mind that the LGBTI movement is so accustomed to being underfunded, even in Western Europe, that the crisis had little to no material impact: “Our specific movement was not funded well enough before the crisis to be hit now that overall funding is less available” (161).7 As table 2 shows, over half of European movement organizations have one or fewer paid employees. It is also a movement that has gained unparalleled international attention in recent years, especially in the post-crisis years. While the financial crisis seemed for many to have little measurable impact on resources, several said it has had a strong and indirect effect on both intersectional consciousness and coalition formation. Table 2 Resources of the European LGBTI organizations (n = 197 organizations) Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Source: Author’s LGBTI Organizations Survey (2011). Table 2 Resources of the European LGBTI organizations (n = 197 organizations) Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Number of paid employees  Percent of organizations  0  40  1  11  2  13  3  9  4-5  11  6-10  12  11+  4  Source: Author’s LGBTI Organizations Survey (2011). Indeed, most respondents noted that having access to fewer resources for social justice organizations in general has a positive effect on coalition formation, in that organizations are more inclined to cooperate to complete projects (166). The quotes under H1(a) demonstrate this dynamic. While the competition for funding might be greater during times of crisis, it benefited cross-movement alliances because funders reacted to lesser resources by calling for increased cooperation, to which groups had to adapt (165). H1(a): Increased cross-movement coalitions [O]rganisations have considered doing more cross-movement work to appeal to funders, whose resources have become scarcer—especially funders working across different issues, of course. Interestingly, I didn’t see the same interest develop [before the financial crisis] when multiple-discrimination was more frequently discussed, roughly in the years 2006–2009 (167). Competition for resources places tension as groups apply for funding from a shrinking pot of money. However, funders are placing an emphasis on intersectionality and multiple-discrimination, so organizations have incorporated this approach into their work (165). Donor organizations have reduced funding as a result of the crisis. Certainly forming coalitions and alliances requires funding in order to advocate for a particular cause, but I don’t see it as a major obstacle. On the opposite side, availability of sufficient funds can be a determinant for triggering this kind of cooperation both within the LGBT movement and with other groups (166). There are several examples of this effect in practice. For example, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth and Student Organization (IGLYO) made intersectionality a primary focus since 2008—which is easily observable by looking at the proliferation of the term in their mission statements across time—and they received funding from both the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the post-crisis period, with organizations from other movements listed as primary partners (165). Table 3 charts the current key partners of two prominent LGBTI umbrella INGOs. Below, I will show European-level membership-based organizations like these can play a role in facilitating both cross-organization and cross-movement alliances at the national level. Table 3 Collaboration among INGOs in Europe ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  Source: Author’s Survey (2015). Table 3 Collaboration among INGOs in Europe ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  ILGA-Europe  IGLYO  European Disability Forum  European Disability Forum  European Women’s Lobby  European Women’s Lobby  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  ENAR (European Network Against Racism)  European Youth Forum  European Youth Forum  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  TGEU (Transgender Europe)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  OII (Organisation Intersex International)  European Anti-Poverty Network  European Network for Independent Living  AGE Platform Europe  World Organization of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts  European Network on Religion and Belief  FEANTSA (European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless)  Source: Author’s Survey (2015). H1(b): Heightened intersectional consciousness We see a related dynamic around the relationship between crisis and intersectional consciousness. The political shift to the far right and the threat that this has posed has reverberated in activist networks and has made the LGBTI movement more aware of its most marginalized members by further illuminating the struggle that they share with other social justice movements. These two interpretations were surprisingly prevalent in the survey results. Only one activist argued that the movement itself had taken a conservative turn in response to the crisis. In terms of theoretical novelty, both of these arguments complicate simplistic accounts of resource mobilization and political process theorists, if we shift the dependent variable from mobilization to consciousness and cross-movement cooperation. I don’t think the economic crisis had a relevant impact. It’s more the European democratic crises and the rise of far-right and populist movements that posed a threat to the development of LGBTI/human rights, pushing many organizations within and across the LGBTI movement towards some cooperation (168). The crisis has led to a rise in xenophobic and intolerant speech on the part of political leaders in Europe. They have targeted minority groups more frequently, especially people of migrant origin, asylum-seekers, and/or Muslims. I’m under the impression this led … the LGBTI movement to become aware of this discrimination, and occasionally stand against it (167). [T]he lack of financial resources has made partnerships even more important even for organizational purposes and this has helped promote intersectional consciousness as well; moreover, the increased vulnerability caused by the economic crisis—and by the political responses to the crisis—generated … more solidarity with respect to the dangers of discrimination (156). It has not impacted our resources or the ones of our partners. The only thing is that we’re [now] more inclined to seek alliances with social NGOs. I think internally, we are more aware to better reflect LGBTI people’s needs in their daily life: housing, social protection, employment, health, etc., rather than speaking in abstract terms of discrimination. We need to give more flesh to the concepts of social and economic rights. Due to the crisis, our members need to do more service provision than only advocacy work (163). The discussion within the movements and actors in various organizations has shown how the broader movement’s awareness of “threat to equality for all minority groups” emerged as a result of populist and nationalist backlash to the economic crisis, like the rise of the far-right parties (165). This notion of ‘we’re in this together’, heightened with the feeling that “any difference in society became a threat to those on [the] far right”, and one that various movements representing difference in society had to respond to together (165, emphasis added). I continue by describing further how coalitions and heightened intersectional consciousness are facilitated in times of crisis. II. Coalitions H2(a): Europe over the nation-state Whether an intersectional consciousness spurred by threat is reflected in the coalition building of movements is an important but complex question. In this regard, survey responses suggested that cross-organizational and cross-movement alliances are most pronounced in Brussels and often facilitated by umbrella organizations like ILGA-Europe, IGLYO, Transgender Europe (TGEU), Organization Intersex International (OII), and their counterparts in other social justice domains (as shown in table 3). There are several reasons why INGOs are more adept at embarking on the cross-organizational/cross-movement relationships that tap into a framework of political intersectionality. To explain this, my argument isolates two such primary advantages that the European macrolevel has that support its strong role in the LGBTI movement’s intersectional politics: brokerage and facilitating resources. a. Brokerage First, international LGBTI rights organizations have oversight in terms of brokering partnerships around projects that multiple member organizations might be working on in various European regions. Natural constellations of partnerships can emerge from the bird’s eye view that these umbrella groups hold. By contrast, national and local groups are generally more entrenched in the specifics of their immediate environment (though not always, depending on the group) and can overlook the potential of convenient alliances in other contexts or with other groups. There are many ways that international (governmental and non-governmental) organizations, like the EU and INGOs, can foster cooperation. ILGA-Europe’s annual meeting brings together hundreds of LGBTI organizations from across Council of Europe states (with scholarships to groups requiring funding). The opening thematic panel of the 2016 ILGA-Europe conference, hosted in the ballroom at a time when no other conference events took place, was called Putting Intersectionality at the Core of Our Thinking and dealt with a variety of pertinent issues related to the contemporary movement, addressing race, islamophobia, as well as issues facing Roma, intersex, and trans people within the movement. I should note that despite those impressive efforts, it was clear at the 2016 meeting that the understanding of the concept of intersectionality—especially how it relates to power—remained muddled among many of the participants from local organizations across the continent, and ILGA-Europe’s panelists took on a substantial teaching role. The panel’s abstract from the program states: So how do we make sure that thinking intersectionally is at the core of all our work? This panel aims at unpacking the very concept of intersectionality and at reflecting on what it means for the European LGBTI movement. This panel will be a place for critical self-reflection, looking at who has power and privilege within the movement and whose voices we are still not hearing loudly enough. Indeed, the concept “intersectionality” appeared in the conference delegate packet thirty-two times in 2016, compared to just once in 2008. Using Nvivo software, figure 1 visualizes the upward trend in the crude measure of key terms in the delegate packets that accompanied the annual ILGA-Europe meetings between 2005 and 2016: intersectional/ity, age, disability, race, and migrant/refugee status. Another INGO, IGLYO, has published and maintained an “intersectionality toolkit” with guidelines for activists since 2013.8 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Intersectionality in ILGA-Europe delegate packets, 2005–2016 Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Intersectionality in ILGA-Europe delegate packets, 2005–2016 Furthermore, the proposal of legislative bills that affect multiple social groups can structurally bring movements together. For example, pieces of legislation concerning anti-discrimination, hate crimes, and hate speech can become EU imperatives that incentivize INGOs representing various social justice groups—all of which are implicated in such legislation—to work together. At the EU level, ILGA-Europe forms part of the Social Platform and has worked with European INGOs on issues of age, disability, religion, and race. ILGA-Europe’s recent collaboration with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is one such example. It involved a campaign monitoring hate speech and discourse by Member of European Parliament (MEP) candidates on grounds of race and SOGI leading up to the 2014 MEP election (160). According to activists, the European campaign was an “intersectional, cross-grounds campaign in the course of the elections to the European Parliament” (160). ILGA-Europe and ENAR produced a joint campaign, promoting MEP candidates who stood for both the rights of LGBTI people and individuals with a migrant/minority ethnic background. The campaign comprised online infographics and a video, advocating for the respect of both constituencies’ rights.9 It also included a monitoring mechanism to identify and “call-out” candidates who attacked either minority or pitted one against the other (e.g., those stating that Muslims are homophobic). Another example is the High Ground Platform, which gathers European organizations working on LGBTI rights and centrally addresses issues of sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights. Second, international organizations, by their very nature, generally encompass more differences and have practice at building consensus around them among their member organizations. Since they are more detached from local and domestic single-issue politics, they may be able to more effectively campaign for projects that have intersectional dimensions. This type of agenda-setting can trickle down, with “member organizations often incorporat[ing] the same or similar strategic priorities as the European-level umbrella organization” (165). A factor that tends to facilitate alliance building is this international aspect. Transnational movements or organizations working internationally are [more likely] to be aware of the intersectionality of certain issues or types of oppression (167). At the European level, the notion that LGBT rights are often at the core of the discussion on human rights has also helped build alliances and coalitions with human rights organizations. For instance, the campaign towards a horizontal anti-discrimination directive has not only brought together organizations working on different discrimination grounds but it has also allowed us to focus on multiple-discrimination as well (157). I think ILGA-Europe, at the European level, and ILGA, at the international level, have been useful in focusing the attention of member organizations on diversity within the movement and on the need to take positive steps to be more inclusive and representative of the broader diversity. This has also included capacity building events where the sharing of good practices is facilitated (160). Many LGBTI events held at the European level have improved in terms of gender, age and nationality being widely represented. I think there is an increasing focus to strive to enhance diversity practices within the movement (160). b. Resources during resource scarcity European institutions and advocacy groups also increasingly play an important material role by funding projects that highlight multiple-discrimination. Many organizations have incorporated such themes into their work and often prioritize programs and organizations that apply an intersectional framework. Take for example a recent public call by an ILGA-Europe board member: “EU Action Grants to support transnational projects to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance.”10 Seeing these struggles as shared, the grants also stipulated transnational collaboration across groups representing organizations from at least five countries. At the national level, alliances are less likely to emerge in the structured fashion of European institutions and INGOs. Instead, domestic activists claimed that these national alliances are most likely to crystalize around current happenings that affect more than one social group, and interviewees noted that these alliances rarely endure beyond the specific campaign. For example, in the Netherlands, LGBTI groups have worked on an HIV-awareness campaign with other affected marginalized groups, such as those representing sex workers and intravenous drug users. Respondents stressed that, while intersectional projects can be facilitated by European INGOs and institutions, they must bring national organizations together to have any effective output. A central figure at the European level noted that “this alliance building also needs to happen at [the] national level, otherwise, it’s useless; and we are not very good at ensuring that our members at [the] national level do work together” (163). I haven’t seen much [nationally]. Most of it I’ve seen in Brussels between high-level networks like ILGA-Europe and other BXL[Brussels]-based advocacy organizations. In most countries I’ve seen coalitions formed around current events (the necessity to pass an anti-discrimination bill, for example) but little really grassroots level organizing which would effectively bring together the community members. I initiated [a local] effort to bring together the LGBT and Jewish communities. It was short-lived and didn’t result in a long-term collaboration (169). H2(b): Domestic and transnational variation  The second central argument on cross-movement alliances is related to domestic and regional contexts, which mediate more inclusive transnational efforts to support intersectional coalitions. For example, while there is a natural LGBTI affinity toward collaboration with women’s groups in many contexts (though the issues of surrogacy and sex work have come between the movements in some cases), coalitions with other groups are highly context specific. Survey respondents noted heightened hierarchies within the acceptance of various marginalized groups at the societal level, which has hindered alliances. In countries where homo- and transphobia remain comparatively high, groups representing other minorities have taken caution against aligning themselves with the LGBTI movement (159 and 166). On this dimension, there was a strong regional difference between respondents, which respondents working in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries noted repeatedly. To them, external alliances (beyond LGBTI issues) may be more challenging for CEE organizations. Activists noted that they felt that they “needed” the others more than they were needed themselves. Several natural partners in CEE, such as groups working on issues of disability, have mixed or conservative positions toward LGBTI people, which makes collaboration less likely, and subsequently imbalances power away from LGBTI groups when they do cooperate (169). However, in contexts in which LGBTI people are more stigmatized, the LGBTI movement has an advantage for internal alliances (within LGBTI communities), both in terms of the types of alliances and in their political goals. This “united front” sentiment was captured explicitly in this response: “CEE LGBT movements are usually less divided (politically) than other equality movements” (159). This expression of internal unity, which many LGBTI activists say is relatively high compared to other social justice groups, is apparent despite the relatively resource-poor standing of LGBTI organizations in this region. Finally, in terms of power structures within these alliances, the most common factor for a privileged position and voice in the movement was the financial strength of certain organizations. Wealthier organizations play a disproportionate role in setting the movement’s agenda (Lang 2013), especially in interaction with opportunities offered at the European level. One prominent example in CEE is the rise of Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH), founded in 2001. Its strategies of transnational networking set it apart from those of many other Polish organizations, and its success at wielding funding and recognition from external contexts has created an omnipresent role for KPH and its goals in the national field of Polish LGBTI activism (164; see also Chetaille 2013). While the organization’s success has been welcomed by many in the movement, especially at this early stage of successful gains for LGBTI people in Poland, its agenda-setting role naturally engenders criticism for mainstreaming radical elements of the movement. Relatedly, despite the many benefits international organizations have, the EU’s involvement was negatively viewed by one respondent, who noted that the EU can encourage cross-movement networking “at any price” (158), even if that clearly privileges certain advocacy groups and certain types of actors (e.g., large organizations endowed with activists who speak English well). In summary, the results of a survey show some potential, and ample will, for making headway on an “intersectionally-linked-fate” (Dawson 1994; Strolovitch 2012) in the European polity—especially in light of a crisis that makes vulnerable LGBTI people more visible and enhances a sense of shared threat with members of other social justice groups. Furthermore, transnational organizing sets much of the intersectional tone in this regard. Indeed, institutional mechanisms provided by the European polity often encourage cross-movement and cross-border alliances at the transnational level. While still limited on the ground, some practitioners see an intersectional approach as the only sustainable way forward for continued engagement with institutions. The puzzling pattern of the European policy machinery paving a way forward on institutionalizing intersectionality, rather than a bottom-up movement, relates to similar dynamics we see in other gendered mobilizations (Irvine, Lang, and Montoya 2015, 10; von Wahl 2017). III. Intersectional Consciousness H3(a): A will in search of a way Two themes emerged around the status of the movement’s postcrisis inclusiveness and diversity. The first was that the movement was increasingly articulate on the issue of intersectionality. In practice, however, the implementation of intersectional lenses varied greatly, with many activists pointing out that the movement was in fact not as inclusive or diverse as it would like to be on the ground. One activist articulated the general sentiment quite clearly: “I might think that the movement is open and tries to be inclusive, but it’s not diverse in the end. It’s heavily white and middle-upper class” (169). For the most part, white gay men with middle-/upper-class status are overrepresented in the movement’s leadership and decision-making bodies. Within the LGBTI categories, trans, intersex, and bisexual people (and their claims) are especially underrepresented. There is awareness of this as a problem and a clear impetus to change it, but it remains a persistent problem nonetheless. Trans advocacy, for example, held an awkward place within many mainstream LGBTI organizations in Europe, which were primarily lesbian and gay organizations that wanted to be inclusive (including in their names), while actually having few competencies on the issues affecting the trans community. TGEU is a transnational organization that was born in response to the oversight of trans issues in other LGBTI organizations (Balzer and Hutta 2014); the same is true for OII, a group focusing on intersex rights. Incorporating organizations that deal specifically with trans and intersex issues was welcomed by leading umbrella organizations like ILGA, which collaborate actively with them and also seek out their competencies as trans- and intersex-specific organizations. Similarly, lesbian women, despite their central history in a movement with close ties to the women’s movement, “are not equal within the [LGBTI] movement in regard to decision-making, leadership, and governance” (158). At the 2016 ILGA-Europe conference, two panels were devoted to increasing the visibility of lesbian issues in the movement, which resulted in organizing the European Lesbian* Conference in October 2017. Activists also suggested that such lack of representation is apparent even in groups that actively seek to increase diversity. The reason for this (i.e., having the “will” but still in search of a way), they argue, is that being an activist within highly stigmatized organizations requires privilege in and of itself (Emejulu 2015; Newman 2013). This rationale is also well charted in work explaining social movement participation, which has typically found participants to score high on individual resources and biographical availability (Snow and Soule 2009, 109–148). As demonstrated in the survey responses, such privileges are not readily available to individuals whose LGBTI identity intersects with multiple marginalized identities: I sense a desire to be inclusive and diverse as a movement. Politically we do express the desire, and people on an individual level surely have the intention to work inclusively. There is however still a lot of bias given where we come from as a movement and [the privileges required to] be active in the movement: higher education, to be able to question heteronormative society, and a level of economical independence to take the risk of working for a group that was so stigmatized (161). It strives to be inclusive, this appears in the internal policies of several organizations and is supported via scholarships. But it is still very hard for ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, people from rural areas and people with lower educational backgrounds to participate in the movement. In some countries, gender, trans status and age are also barriers (159). To be an LGBT activist, one must be in the position to handle a double-life with a job and voluntary work. So many with disabilities, chronic disease, or living in poverty are excluded from activism. Because they are not activists, they are not in contact with “traditional” activists and are made invisible (163). Alongside the systemic reasons for why this might be, activists also noted practical and conceptual concerns for implementation. An activist gave the example of the financial costs of organizing events that took intersectionality seriously. For example, to include deaf queer people, you need to supply sign language interpreters. Aside from the financial costs, in their context (Moldova, outside the EU) interpreters are often not out, and face risks working in a queer space in an official capacity. There are also debates about whether to remove gender quotas, which increase lesbian representation, while reifying gender binaries exclusionary to trans and intersex people. In sum, “the movement is far less diverse than the community itself [, and it remains] hard to reach out to people with different backgrounds” (169). H3(b): Intersectionality as a European priority Another trend that conforms to the findings above is that intersectional consciousness has been addressed more clearly at the European level, which has been more successful than states or sub-European regions at inspiring and implementing intersectional strategies (though three activists [162, 168 and 169] singled out Scandinavian SMOs as being experienced in applying an intersectional lens). Transnational umbrella organizations in Brussels, such as ILGA-Europe, are recognized for effectively going beyond rhetoric to implement strategies that lead to diversity and inclusiveness: [Intersectionality is] more of an imperative at the EU level, but rarely happens in practice on the grassroots level. Although there are a number of LGBTI groups, such as LGBTI Christian, Muslim, lesbian, trans specific or intersex groups, the inclusion at the grassroots level of activists from diverse backgrounds is limited. Many LGBTI events held at the European level have improved in terms of gender, age and nationality being widely represented. I think there is an increasing [top-down] focus to strive to enhance diversity practices within the movement (160). At the European level, there have been efforts to call attention to the need for diversity within organizations although it is often the case that diversity is lacking in representation and in decision-making bodies of LGBT organizations (157). My impression is that the movement in Scandinavian countries shows inclusiveness and diversity, and a great awareness of intersectionality too. […] Overall, I have the impression the European movement tends to be mostly white, middle-class, and of home nationalities. [At the EU level,] I have the impression sexualities and gender identities tend to be rather diverse however, with LGB and T people represented, and intersex people beginning to be represented (167). There has been an increased discussion within European organizations over the last five-plus years about intersectionality and about becoming more inclusive. ILGA-Europe has played an important role. An example of this is looking at material from [the organization RFSL] in Sweden. Fifteen years ago the material would have photos of typically white, able-bodied people between twenty-five and forty years old. Now material is much more diverse, and there is a consciousness about who is selected to create inclusion (162). All of the findings above tap into a crucial challenge that scholars have highlighted in taking an intersectional approach to movement politics. The issue of underrepresentation in the leadership of transnational organizations is also present and even greater at the domestic level. This is at least partly a result of a lack of opportunities for especially marginalized individuals to attain leadership positions, even if it is precisely the experience of people “at the intersections of sexism, racism, class oppression, nativism, and language discrimination [that] equip[s] them with evidence, ideas, insights, and ambitions that can help solve serious social problems” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 919). Activists acknowledge this and tap into an issue well established in the literature, which is the concern that marginalized groups who depend on welfare and public services have limited time and resources for the work of political activism, which is exacerbated in times when cuts to such service programs persist (Emejulu 2015; Newman 2013). However, it remains imperative to improve representation of people targeted by multiple systems of oppression in leadership positions because they are endowed with the understanding of complex dynamics of power necessary “to combat [that power’s] intersectional reach and scope” (Chun, Lipsitz, and Shin 2013, 918). When given a voice, they can serve as the interlocutors that lead to addressing multiple marginalizations on the ground (Lyshaug 2006). An important way forward, noted on a panel at ILGA-Europe, is to generate positive visibility by further encouraging funders to move away from single-issue campaigns and by diversifying the staff and board of LGBTI organizations—supporting those activists that give new voice to the organization. That latter effort to improve representation can also be achieved in part by “making space”: Inclusion can involve people who occupy power relinquishing some of that power to make room for those at the margins. Conclusion This paper has analyzed political intersectionality in relation to the European LGBTI movement, as well as the consciousness surrounding it in movement coalition work. The overarching sentiment, shared by activists and practitioners in various spheres of the movement, is that the movement seeks to be more inclusive than it actually is, suggesting movements must think critically to develop strategies of representation that give particularly marginalized members of LGBTI communities more voice. This connects both to practical concerns—for example, the limited ability of marginalized people to devote additional time to largely unpaid work—and conceptual ones—for example, the ILGA-Europe Board now faces debates surrounding how to implement intersectionality within its gender-quota system. A once cherished quota rule, assuring gender balance between two co-chairs, is rightly criticized by many members for being too gender-binary for an institution that prides itself on trans and intersex inclusion. Yet despite these challenges, there remain important insights to where, and under what conditions, the movement is making headway on applying an intersectional lens. The initial analysis explored the relationship between financial crisis and the two dimensions of political intersectionality (intersectional consciousness and coalition formation). Somewhat paradoxically, there are benefits in crisis on these two dimensions. Indeed, collaborative projects that foster alliances have increased in response to financial crisis. Furthermore, a shared sense of threat provoked by the proliferation of far-right politics and movements has to some degree enhanced consciousness surrounding an intersectionally-linked-fate. The findings suggest that the movement seeks to be more inclusive in response to crisis at the meso- and macrolevel; an argument I put forth while noting the severe obstacles crises bring in the lives of many individual LGBTI people at the microlevel. Theoretically, this finding is in line with recent work that challenges our thinking around the political construction of crisis (Emejulu and Bassel 2017; Strolovitch 2013). Acknowledging the socially constructed nature of crisis complicates how we measure its effects, which are far from homogenous. The findings also build on the work in social movement theory that delineates how opportunity and threat interact for coalition building. They bring political process and resource mobilization schools together to argue that financial crisis provides an opportunity for coalitions across difference. The results were complex in terms of how much an intersectional consciousness matters for actual alliances across social justice movements and organizations. INGOs and intergovernmental organizations, like the EU, have clear advantages in terms of facilitating such cooperation. This, I argued, is mainly due to how brokerage and resource allocation at the transnational level are structured. This macrolevel helps to overcome various identity boundaries (not in the least national ones) by playing a role in encouraging legislation and funding projects allowing for cross-movement cooperation that “might not happen otherwise” (162). There are pitfalls to such alliance building, however, including poor or unsustainable implementation, the privileging of large and transnational LGBTI organizations, and occasionally reifying group differences. The findings thus also conform to Staggenborg’s (2015, 1) expectation that coalitions “can be hierarchical and exclusionary, imposing strategies and goals on their members and only allowing official representatives to participate”. A change in intersectional consciousness, however, may draw new people into movement mobilizations, and it may generate visibility for new narratives of how to understand the broader dimensions to any particular struggle. My hope is that the hypotheses articulated and substantiated here will spur interest and continued exploration between LGBTI and other social justice movements. Indeed, the results surrounding this multifaceted movement, in contemporary times, remain preliminary and provoke questions that can be tested further. Future research can continue to explore several of the claims; for example, with a content analysis of the development of intersectional frames in organizational policies. It should also look at the effects of cross-movement coalitions on policy, as Louise Davidson-Schmich and her collaborators (2017) have carefully explained in the case of Germany. We have more to learn on political intersectionality, and LGBTI movements, with all their complexity, provide a fruitful case for analysis. In closing, I wish to emphasize that for the study of social movements, we must remember that while umbrella labels serve their purposes in making strategic claims, many members of the marginalized groups do not neatly fit the categories purported by their movement communities (Beltran 2010). It is through this recognition that we can come closer to a more just, and ultimately more inclusive, form of mobilization. Indeed, it is people like Sylvia Rivera—crucial members of movements they represent, though not fully at home among them—that have much to offer for our understanding of movement politics, which groups are left behind among them, and how to move forward in collaboration: People now want to call me a lesbian because I’m with Julia, and I say, “No. I’m just me.” […] I am Sylvia Rivera. […] I’m not living in the straight world; I’m not living in the gay world; I’m just living in my own world with Julia and my friends. Phillip M. Ayoub is an Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College and of Politics at Drexel University. He is the author of When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility (Cambridge, 2016) and co-editor, with David Paternotte, of LGBT Activism and the Making of Europe (Palgrave, 2014). In 2014, he was the recipient of the American Political Science Association’s Human Rights and Politics & Sexuality section awards for Best Dissertation. The following year, he received the European Union Studies Association's biennial award for Best Dissertation. He also received the Janice N. and Milton J. Esman Prize for distinguished scholarship (from Cornell University) and the 2017 Best Article of the Year Award from the Council of European Studies’ Gender and Sexuality Research Network. Please visit www.phillipmayoub.com for further information. Acknowledgments For insightful comments on various drafts, I am deeply indebted to the participants of the 2015 Gendered Mobilizations Workshop at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as Jill Irvine, Sabine Lang, Celeste Montoya, David Paternotte, the anonymous reviewers, and participants at the 2016 annual meetings of the Council for European Studies in Philadelphia, PA and the European Consortium for Political Research in Prague, Czech Republic. Finally, I am grateful to Lauren Bauman and Zack Levy-Dyer for able research assistance. Appendix Table A1 Country/region information for surveyed LGBTI organizations Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  View Large Table A1 Country/region information for surveyed LGBTI organizations Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  Survey number  Organization  Country/region  156  Domestic LGBT and Workers Group  Spain  157  Domestic LGBTI Group  Portugal  158  Domestic Lesbian Group  Slovenia  159  Domestic LGBT Group  Hungary  160  Domestic LGBT Group  Malta  161  Domestic LGBT Group  Netherlands  162  Domestic LGBTQ Group; International LGBT Group  Sweden/International  163  International LGBTI Group  Europe  164  Domestic Trans Group  Poland  165  International LGBTIQ Group  Europe  166  Domestic LGBT Group  Poland  167  International LGBTI Group  European Union  168  Domestic LGBT Group  Italy  169  International LGBTI Funder  International  View Large References Ayoub Phillip M. 2015. 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Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS   Footnotes 1 Homonationalism is a concept that critically theorizes the incorporation of gay rights into the nation, including projects that reproduce and justify nationalism, imperialism, white supremacy, war, and consumerism (Puar 2007). 2 For Crenshaw (1989) “political intersectionality” describes the ways in which activist groups elevate concerns along a single axis of identity that tends to erase people whose identities are located at the intersections of multiple identities, the paradigmatic example being the erasure of Black women from both mainstream women’s organizing (which elevates the experiences and interests of white women) and anti-racist activism (which elevates the experiences and interests of Black men). These dynamics have implications for how we understand identity politics because the very meanings that are attached to these categories are in fact the products of elevating certain aspects of identity over others in narratives told about the group. For the intellectual history of the concept of intersectionality, see Hancock’s (2016) important work on that subject. 3 McCammon and Campbell (2002), in their study of coalitions among suffragist groups, showed that cooperation among two women’s organizations declined as opportunities rose. This logic is also theoretically fruitful for a study of LGBTI coalitions. When the political climate is favorable for some, groups may be less likely to overcome differences and strategize around common platforms. 4 I use the terms SMO and NGO while acknowledging the important but blurred differences between them. Typically, NGOs are more formalized with a higher degree of institutionalization and professionalization and often focus on lobby work (Lang 2013, 67–9). Making a clear distinction in the sample of organizations surveyed for this article is difficult, but the Brussels-based umbrella groups generally exhibit more features of NGOs than the national SMOs. That said, several of these SMOs have also undergone processes of NGOization since their initial formation (Paternotte 2016). 5 For example, contemporary right-wing anti-immigrant parties in Europe use gay and lesbian issues as a way to argue against the inclusion of “homophobic” ethnic minorities. Alice Weidel, the lesbian co-leader of Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AFD) party is an example of this dynamic. 6 The participants were contacted in February 2015 and were offered a $20 Amazon Gift Card for their time. I originally selected 20 expert interviewees from a pool of activists and politicians drawn from the larger project. The survey yielded a 70 percent response rate. 7 Refers to the survey/interview number. 8 http://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Inter-Toolkit1.pdf. 9 http://www.enar-eu.org/NoHateEP2014-campaign-final-hate. 10 http://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants1/calls/2015_action_grants/just_2015_rrac_ag_en.htm. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

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Social PoliticsOxford University Press

Published: Mar 26, 2018

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