Religion and the Politics of Spirituality/Sexuality
Reflections on Researching British Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Christians and Muslims
Keywords:gay spirituality, homophobic religion
Drawing upon my research on British LGB Christians and Muslims, and theoretical literature on ?identity?, ?identity politics?, and ?sexual citizenship?, I begin by discussing some advantages and disadvantages of merging the personal and the professional in research. I then argue that in order to understand why some LGB people stay in seemingly homophobic institutional religion, we need to understand the connection between spirituality and sexuality that not only offers ontological security, but also underpins the politics of spirituality/sexuality. This politics is personally and socially transformative. The merger of the counter religious discourse, that this politics underpins, with the secular discourse of human rights and sexual citizenship offers LGB believers cause for optimism. Nonetheless, I also contest the ideological and cultural specificity of contemporary religious and secular LGB identity politics. Highlighting the political, religious, social-cultural, and ethnic issues with which LGB Muslims need to engage, I argue for the broadening of current discourse of identity in general, and LGB identity in particular.
Althaus-Reid, M., and L. Isherwood, 2005, The Sexual Theologian: A Primer in Radical and Sex Queer Theology. London: Continuum.
Bates, S., 2005, A Church at War: Anglicans and Homosexuality. London: I.B. Tauris.
Bauman, Z., 2001, The Individualised Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.
—2004, Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
—2005, Liquid Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Beck, U., 1992, Risk Society. London: Sage.
Bell, D., and J. Binnie, 2000, The Sexual Citizen: Queer Politics and Beyond. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Boisvert, D., 2000, Out on Holy Ground: Meditations on Gay Men’s Spirituality. Cleveland: Pilgrim Press.
Brannen, J., and A. Nilsen, 2005, ‘Individualisation, Choice and Structure: A Discussion of Current Trends in Sociological Analysis’. Sociological Review 53(3): 412-28.
Brekhus, W., 2003, Peacocks, Chameleons, Centaurs: Gay Suburbia and the Grammar of Social Identity. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Calhoun, C., 1994, Social Theory and the Politics of Identity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Castells, M., 2004, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture. II. The Power of Identities. 2nd edn; Oxford: Blackwell.
Chua, H.K., 2005, Gay Malaysia in Retrospect. Paper presented at the 1st Asian Queer Studies International Conference, Bangkok 7–9 July.
Church of England, 2005, Civil Partnerships: A Pastoral Statement from the House of Bishops of the Church of England. London: Church House Publishing.
Crockett, A., and D. Voas, 2003, ‘A Divergence of Views: Attitude Change and the Religious Crisis over Homosexuality’. Sociological Research Online 8(4). http://www.socresonline. org.uk/8/4/crockett.html (accessed 20 June, 2005)
Empereur, J.L., 1998, Spiritual Dimension and the Gay Person. London: Geoffrey Chapman.
Fetzer, J., and J.C. Soper, 2003, ‘The Roots of Public Attitudes toward State Accommodation of European Muslims’ Religious Practices before and after September 11’. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42(2): 247-58.
Giddens, A., 1991, Modernity and Self-identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
—1999, Runaway World: How Globalisation Is Shaping our Lives. London: Profile Books.
Heaphy, B., C. Donovan and J. Weeks, 2004, ‘A Different Affair? Openness and Non-monogamy in Same-sex Relationships’. In J. Duncombe, K. Harrison, G. Allen and D. Marsden (eds.), The State of Affairs: Explorations in Infidelity and Commitment. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 143-61.
Heelas, P., S. Lash and P. Morris, 1996, Detraditionalisation: Critical Reflections on Authority and Identity. Oxford: Blackwell.
Hetherington, K., 1998, Expressions of Identity: Space, Performance, Politics. London: Sage.
Horn, M. J., R.L. Piedmont, G.M. Fialkowski, R.J. Wicks and M.E. Hunt, 2005, ‘Sexuality and Spirituality: The Embodied Spirituality Scale’. Theology and Sexuality 12(1): 81-102.
Jamal, A., 2001, ‘The Story of Lot and the Qur’an’s Perception of the Morality of Same-sex Sexuality’. Journal of Homosexuality 41(1): 1-88.
Johnson, T., 2000, Gay Spirituality: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness. Los Angeles: Alyson Books.
Kenny, M., 2004, The Politics of Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Krieger, S., 1991, Social Science and the Self. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Lazar, J., 1995, Outpouring of the Spirit. New York: Carlton Press.
Letherby, G., and S. Jackson, 2003, Feminist Research in Theory and Practice. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Long, R., 2004, Men, Homosexuality and the Gods. New York: Haworth Press.
McMahon, B., 2005, ‘Vatican to Toughen Rules on Homosexuals with Ban on Gay Men Joining Priesthood’. The Guardian, 23 September.
Malik, F., 2003, Queer Sexuality and Identity in the Qur’an and Hadith. http://www.well.com/ user/aquarius/Qurannotes.htm (accessed 23 June, 2005).
Manji, I., 2004, The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change. London: Mainstream Publishing.
Mills, C.W., 1959, The Sociological Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moon, D., 2004, God, Sex and Politics: Homosexuality and Everyday Theologies. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Nahas, O., 2004, ‘Yoesuf: An Islamic Idea with Dutch Quality’. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services 16(1): 53-64.
O’Brien, J., 2004, ‘Wrestling the Angel of Contradiction: Queer Christian Identities’. Culture and Religion 5(2): 179-202.
Ramazanoglu, C., and J. Holland, 2002, Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices. London: Sage.
Reinhartz, S., 1985, On Becoming a Social Scientist. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
Plummer, K., 1995, Telling Sexual Stories. London: Routledge.
—2003, Intimate Citizenship: Private Decisions and Public Dialogues. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Rich, A., 1980, ‘Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence’. Signs 5(4): 631-60.
Richardson, D., 1998, ‘Sexuality and Citizenship’. Sociology 32(1): 83-100.
Roald, A., 2001, Women in Islam. London: Routledge.
Runzo, J., and N. Martin, 2000, Love, Sex and Gender in World Religions. Oxford: Oneworld.
Safra Project, 2002, Identifying the Difficulties Experienced by Muslim Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women in Accessing Social and Legal Services. London: Safra Project.
Simpson, M., 1999, Anti-Gay. London: Continuum.
Simpson, R.H., 2005, ‘How to Be Fashionably Queer: Reminding the Church of the Importance of Sexual Stories’. Theology and Sexuality 11(2): 97-108
Sinfield, A., 1998, Gay and After. London: Serpent’s Tail.
Siraf, A., 2006, ‘On Being Homosexual and Muslim: Conflicts and Challenges’. In L. Ouzgane (ed.) Islamic Masculinities, London: Zed Books.
Smart, C., and B. Shipman, 2004, ‘Visions in Monochrome: Families, Marriage and the Individualisation Thesis’. British Journal of Sociology 55(4): 491-509.
Smith, R., 2005, ‘Wrong, Said Fred’. Gay Times September: 31.
Stuart, E., 2003, Gay and Lesbian Theologies. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.
Sweasey, P., 1997, From Queer to Eternity: Spirituality in the Lives of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People. London: Cassell.
Sweetman, P., 2003, ‘Twenty-?rst Century Dis-ease? Habitual Reflexivity or the Reflexive Habitus’. Sociological Review 51(4): 528-49.
Swidler, A., 1993, Homosexuality and World Religions. Valley Forge, PA: Trinity.
Teh, Y.K., 2005, The Mak Nyahs: Male to Female Transsexuals in Malaysia. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
Thumma, S., and E. Gray, 2005, Gay Religion. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.
Walliss, J., 2002, The Brahma Kumaris as a Reflexive Tradition: Responding to Late Modernity. Oxon: Ashgate.
Wilcox, M., 2003, Coming Out in Christianity: Religion, Identity, and Community. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
— 2005, ‘A Religion of One’s Own: Gender and LGBT Religiosity’. In S. Thumma and E. Gray (eds.), Gay Religion, Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press: 203-20.
Woodward, K., 2002, Questioning Identity. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Yip, A.K.T., 1997a, Gay Male Christian Couples: Life Stories. Westport, CT: Praeger.
—1997b, ‘Dare to Differ: Lesbian and Gay Catholics’ Assessment of Official Catholic Positions on Sexuality’. Sociology of Religion 58: 165-80.
—1997c, ‘Gay Male Christian Couples and Sexual Exclusivity’. Sociology 31(2): 289-306.
—1997d, ‘Attacking the Attacker: Gay Christians Talk Back’. British Journal of Sociology 48(1): 113-27.
—1998a, ‘Education as CSCS’ Primary Function: A Membership Survey Report’. Centre for the Study of Christianity and Sexuality News 16: 7-11.
—1998b, ‘Gay Christians and their Perceptions of the Christian Community in Relation to their Sexuality’. Theology and Sexuality 8: 240-51.
—2000, ‘Leaving the Church to Keep my Faith: The Lived Experiences of Non-heterosexual Christians’. In L.J. Francis and Y.J. Katz (eds.) Joining and Leaving Religion, Leominster: Gracewing: 129-45.
—2002, ‘The Persistence of Faith among Nonheterosexual Christians: Evidence for the Neosecularisation Thesis of Religious Transformation’. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 41(2): 199-212.
—2003a, ‘Spirituality and Sexuality: An Exploration of the Religious Beliefs of Non-heterosexual Christians in Great Britain’. Theology and Sexuality 9(2): 137-54.
—2003b, A Minority within a Minority: British Non-heterosexual Muslims. London: Economic and Social Research Council. http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk (accessed 24 June 2005).
—2004a, ‘Embracing Allah and Sexuality?: South Asian Non-heterosexual Muslims in Britain’. In P. Kumar and K. Jacobsen (eds.), South Asians in the Diaspora. Leiden: E.J. Brill: 294-310.
—2004b, ‘Negotiating Space with Family and Kin in Identity Construction: The Narratives of British Non-heterosexual Muslims’. Sociological Review 52(3): 336-49.
—2005, ‘Queering Religious Texts: An Exploration of British Non-heterosexual Christians’ and Muslims’ Strategy of Constructing Sexuality-affirming Hermeneutics’. Sociology 39(1): 47-65.
—2006, ‘Sexual Orientation Discrimination in Religious Communities’. In J. Frank and L. Badgett (eds.), Sexual Orientation Discrimination. Forthcoming; London: Routledge.
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.