How homophobic propaganda produces vernacular prejudice in authoritarian states

Jeremy Morris*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


An understanding of gendered homophobia in authoritarian states like Russia provides insights into intolerance as a function of propaganda. What is the effect on ordinary attitudes of “political homophobia” (Boellstorf, 2009) disseminated at fever pitch by state-controlled media intent on dividing the world geopolitically into debauched gay-friendly states, and those willing to defend “traditional Christian” values? Despite authoritarian societies appearing very different from pluralist ones, attitudes are plastic, diverse views possible, and survey polling unreliable. The ethnographic materials presented here show the need to meaningfully engage with vernacular prejudice and differentiate it from regime and media messaging. Everyday forms of homophobia and heterosexism have their origins in complex social phenomena and historical legacies beyond geopolitically-motivated hatred.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2023


  • authoritarianism
  • conservatism
  • heterosexism
  • Homophobia
  • vernacular prejudice


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