A Year of Conflict - The “War on Gender Ideology” discourse of the Polish Catholic Church, and the Liberal Backlash


  • Marcin Sroczynski Università di Varsavia




“Gender” was chosen as “Word of the Year 2013” by a committee of renowned linguists affiliated with six Polish universities. Indeed, the word dominated the Polish public discourse in 2013, largely because of Poland gradually implementing the EU gender mainstreaming policies. When the government signed the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence at the end of 2012, the Polish Catholic Church authorities launched a war on “gender ideology”. Its climax occurred at the end of 2013 when Polish bishops issued an official letter entitled Threats to family resulting from gender ideology. The aim of this article is to confront the multiplicity of discourses which flooded Polish media within this one-year period: the conservative journalists and priests demonising gender, the liberal backlash and counter-attack on the Church, and the few progressive Catholic columnists trying to find a way out from the deadlock. The analysis identifies the ideological components of the respective stances to arrive at the paradoxical conclusion that the opponents discredit each other with the same set of arguments.


Keywords: “gender ideology”, Polish Catholic Church, conservative, liberal, conflict


Author Biography

Marcin Sroczynski, Università di Varsavia

Marcin Sroczy?ski graduated from the Institute of Applied Linguistics (UW) in 2005, postgraduate Culture Studies (PAN) in 2010, and in 2012 completed his second MA at the Institute of English Studies (UW). Currently a PhD candidate in British Literature and Culture, his research project focuses on the dynamics of individual and collective gay identities in Alan Hollinghurst's prose. His academic interests include gender and queer studies, psychoanalytical criticism and post-Foucauldian critique of ideologies. He has authored articles on the works of A. Hollinghurst, A. Holleran, J. Winterson and T. Pynchon, and participated in several conferences on literature, culture, and gender studies in Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Germany.