Sexuality, Gender, and Religious Attendance


  • Melissa M. Wilcox Whitman College



gender, identity, religion, sexual orientation, spirituality, women


Existing research on religious organizations serving lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people has noted a dearth of women in such congregations but has offered little explanation for this phenomenon. Working from a study conducted with 29 lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered women in the greater Los Angeles area, this paper demonstrates that race and ethnicity, feminism, a concern for LGBT rights, and interaction between the life-course patterns of religion and sexual identity influenced participants’ decisions about religious involvement. These results, while not generalizable, indicate the need for a nuanced understanding of both religious practice and identity in larger studies of gender, sexuality, and religious attendance.


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Author Biography

Melissa M. Wilcox, Whitman College

Melissa M. Wilcox is Associate Professor of Religion and Director of Gender Studies at Whitman College. In addition to writing articles and editing journal issues on LGBT studies in religion, she is the author of Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community (Indiana, 2003) and Queer Women and Religious Individualism (Indiana, 2009), and co-editor (with David W. Machacek) of Sexuality and the World's Religions (ABC-CLIO, 2003). She is currently working on a study of religion and spirituality in the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.


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How to Cite

Wilcox, M. (2013). Sexuality, Gender, and Religious Attendance. Fieldwork in Religion, 7(2), 102–116.