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PiS’s Biopolitical Sovereignty vis-à-vis Brussels’ ‘Gender Ideology’: The LGBTIQ Issue on the Eve of the 2023 Polish General Election


On the eve of the 2023 Polish general election, the conflict between the incumbent PiS (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – Law and Justice) party and the European Union on the LGBTIQ issue can be framed as a clash of two biopolitical projects – the EU’s (which follows democratic principles and refers to LGBTIQ rights as human rights) and Poland’s (which accepts the EU’s paradigm of human rights but tries to establish its own biopolitical vision of the LGBTIQ community) – that went through four stages. At each stage, PiS created new zones of biopolitical exclusion: normative, in a kind of ‘biopolitical conservatism’; spatial, as in the case of the establishment of ‘LGBT-free zones’; and legislative, such as issuing the Charters of Family Rights and opening court cases against the LGBTIQ community. The ‘battle’ between Brussels and Warsaw, which resulted in the adoption of the European Commission-Poland Partnership Agreement 2021-27, can be a demonstration of the power of the EU against illiberal backlashes. Yet this ‘war’ is hardly close to an end. Brussels’ criticism of PiS’s anti-LGBTIQ policy has not led the incumbent party to abandon its anti-LGBTIQ agenda during the election campaign but has rather brought nuance to it.
Keywords: biopopulism; Poland; LGBTIQ; biopolitical sovereignty; spaces of exception