• How did the LGBTQ lobby take over the EU?
  • 18.00 - 19.30
  • 16 November, 2023
  • Hotel NH Berlaymont, Bd Charlemagne 11/19, 1000 Bruxelles


How has a disagreement about a child protection law in Hungary become a key battlefield in the politics of the EU? The law, which limits the promotion of LGBTQ issues to minors, has been denounced by Member States and by Commissioners as a fundamental attack on EU values.

As is clear, the promotion of LGBTQ values has become a central part of the EU’s mission. Protecting sexual minorities and ‘mainstreaming’ different gender orientations is embedded in EU policymaking from education to transport, and informs a significant part of discussion around so-called “rule of law” issues. But how did LGBTQ issues become such a core part of the EU?

Some see this as a new phenomenon, mirroring the rapid rise of “wokeism” across the Western world. Others champion the EU’s commitment to values of tolerance and diversity, which are seen as core parts of the historical project of the Union. But, as a new report for MCC Brussels makes plain, the move of LGBTQ issues to the centre stage of EU policymaking is neither new, nor part of a disinterested commitment to liberal values.

Instead, the LGBTQ takeover of EU policy reflects the concerted effort of well-funded NGOs and the need of EU elites to discover a moral high ground from which to absorb and re-educate new members of the EU, especially those based on more traditional ideas about sex, gender and relationships. By funding NGOs and education campaigns, and tying EU funding to sex and gender issues, EU policymakers have sought to transform the supposedly ‘backward’ new members.

This discussion from MCC Brussels will explore the origins of the EU’s takeover by LGBTQ issues and will ask how radical ideas about sex and gender managed to make their way to the core of EU policymaking.


  • Carlton Brick, author, MCC Brussels' report, How did the LGBTQ lobby take over the EU?;  lecturer in sociology, University of the West of Scotland