It has long been established that research spaces are relational. This chapter explores the ways in which research was undertaken to investigate the everyday spatial experiences of those who oppose or are concerned about new gender and sexual landscapes, including those who see marriage as between a man/woman, who are pro-life, gender critical, and/or who contest trans inclusions. It argues that research that seeks to understand polarization and division and to work across difference may be transformative, but must also carefully negotiated. These negotiations and flexibilities are necessary to create respectful relationalities between the researcher and the researched that are open to hearing and understanding complexities, contradictions, and stories. Thus, we argue that respectful relationalities can be formed through forms of feminist engagements with narratives as well as queer methodological approaches that see binaries and ‘sides’ as incongruous, fluid and continually redefined.
This chapter cites evidence from Ireland to examine how heteroactivists try to challenge references to hate in accounts of their activities by casting it as supporting moral values and, indeed, a sign of their love. The chapter first sets out the key tenets of heteroactivist ideologies and practices. Then, drawing on a participant observations and newsletter emails, the chapter explores how heteroactivists frame objections to sexual and gender equalities while pushing against or working to avoid accusations of ‘hate speech’. The chapter shows how they frame their arguments as motivated by love and related representations of themselves and those who agree with them as innocent citizens subject to the dangers of both formal sanctions and the social and political consequences of being associated with and perpetuating hate speech. It finishes by suggesting considerations ‘beyond opposition’.