Sexual Politics – Party Politics: The Rules of Engagement in the Case of Cyprus




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Cyprus’ partitocratic character complicates the ways in which civil society organizations (CSOs) and political parties interact and impact each other. Political parties’ willingness to interact with CSOs and CSOs’ success in convincing political parties to support their cause are limited, when the cause is considered to be threatening hegemonic understandings of how sexual and gender relations are supposed to be structured. Nonetheless, an examination of the modes of interaction between Accept Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transexuals Cyprus (Accept-LGBT)—the only Greek-Cypriot lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) CSO in the country—and Greek-Cypriot political parties suggests that although the former cannot evade the sphere of influence of the latter, it is able to invent strategies of (non)interaction with political parties and political party figures, which propel its aims and objectives.

This analysis argues that noninteraction with political parties per se and interaction with specific LGBTI-friendly political party figures appears to be a strategy that aids Accept-LGBT to politicize issues of concern to nonheterosexual Greek Cypriots. Through its lobbying of LGBTI-friendly political party figures, issues avoided by political parties as politically trivial or risky are incrementally introduced in their agendas. The argument is based on empirical research that includes interviews with LGBTI activists and political party figures and covers the last three decades. Though focused on the case of Cyprus, it answers a set of questions about the relationship between sexual and party politics in partitocratic contexts, which are pertinent toward unearthing and understanding what this chapter argues to be one of its most important—yet underestimated—parameters: noninteraction as a political strategy.



party politics, sexual politics, non-interaction, political strategies, LGBTI activism, civil society organizations, political parties, partitocracy, Cyprus


Kamenou, N. (2016) Sexual Politics – Party Politics: The Rules of Engagement in the Case of Cyprus. In: Party-Society Relations in the Republic of Cyprus: Political and Societal Strategies (Routledge Advances in Mediterranean Studies), edited by Giorgos Charalambous and Christophoros Christophorou (London and New York: Routledge), pp. 129-148


Research Institute

Media Discourse Centre (MDC)
Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice