Complementarianism, Heteronormativity and the Future of the Anglican Church

Tensions in Lived Sydney Anglicanism


  • Rosie Clare Shorter Western Sydney University



Anglican, complementarian, homosexuality


Within the Anglican communion tensions surrounding different approaches to sexuality and orthodoxy are not new. Among evangelical Sydney Anglicans, maintaining heteronormativity appears necessary for Christian living, maintaining orthodoxy and doing evangelism. I suggest that orthodoxy, sexuality and evangelism are held together by complementarian discourse. I explore this by focusing on the Sydney Anglican Diocese, reading former Archbishop Davies’ 2019 presidential address as an example of complementarian discourse. My reading primarily follows Sara Ahmed’s work on use and wilfulness. Drawing on interview and survey data collected between July 2019 and December 2020, I listen to the responses of parishioners and staff to the presidential address and the diocesan call to complementarianism, evangelism and heteronormativity. I suggest that complementarian models of ministry, and a concomitant refusal to affirm non-heterosexual intimacies, may actually be a barrier to living and doing Christianity in contemporary Australia.

Author Biography

Rosie Clare Shorter, Western Sydney University

Rosie Clare Shorter is a feminist researcher interested in sociology of religion and genders and sexualities studies. She completed her PhD at Western Sydney University. She is a co-convenor for the Australian Sociological Association sociology of religion thematic group.


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How to Cite

Shorter, R. C. (2023). Complementarianism, Heteronormativity and the Future of the Anglican Church: Tensions in Lived Sydney Anglicanism. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 36(1), 118–144.