Through queer magazines, media reports, and art works, this exhibition reveals the understanding of homosexuality and the treatment of sexual minorities in Romania that commonly shared two different political goals at two different periods: the establishment of a new communist society starting in the mid-1940s and the transition towards a democratic society in the nineties.
As such, the exhibition offers insights into the history of the social and cultural forms of understanding nonheteronormative identity in Romania, as being shaped by two political projects: the furthering of the communist revolution and the democratization of this society.
The exhibition presents the specificities of understanding homosexuality, the treatment of sexual minorities, and gay and lesbian self-organization in communist and post-communist Romania.
In Central and Southeastern Europe, rising populist governments have repeatedly reinforced the idea that LGBTQAI+ movements are 'foreign imports' to the region and depict it to be a threat to the political, social and cultural traditions of each respective countries. This exhibition seeks to consciously inform and oppose the view that nonheteronormative sexuality appeared after the fall of Communism in 1989 in Romania. The formulation of an exclusive national, religious, and heterosexual majority has legitimized itself to such an extent that nonconforming bodies have increasingly seen their rights curtailed. This type of justification has roots in the communist formulation of identity, which excluded all 'alien' bodies from the citizenry. Nevertheless, the LGBTQAI+ community managed both in times of repressive Communism and chaotic decade of the 1990s, when Romania still criminalized homosexuality, to carve a space for themselves and to foster the root of a queer identity.
This exhibit seeks to move away from the trend to dehistoricize homosexuality in Central and Eastern Europe. This latter issue in the field has led to the potrayal of queer experience in the region as homogenous, largely homophobic, and in need of transition and 'catching up' since 1989.