“Sex, Love, and an Old Brick Building: A United Church of Canada Congregation Transitions to LGBTQ Inclusion.”

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Abstract

While much literature focuses on ways that Christian discourses can perpetuate homophobia and transmisogyny, there is less scholarly attention focused on Christian groups that embrace people with diverse gender and sexual identities. As this article demonstrates, it is precisely because of their traditional marginalization that active inclusion of LGBTQ people may come to serve as a signifier of less institutionally oriented and more socially progressive forms of religiosity, especially for communities actively negotiating intersecting neo-liberal oppressions. Drawing on sustained fieldwork with a progressive Protestant congregation, this project analyzes two of the community’s foundational narratives, one of a minister coming out as lesbian and one of giving up their church building. As members connect these stories to their more recent embrace of the first known transwoman to be ordained in the denomination, they reveal tensions surrounding power, embodiment, and sexuality at the core of contemporary conversations about North American religion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113–1152
JournalThe Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Volume87
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2019

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