About the Project

The purpose of this research is to better understand the experiences, choices and identities of queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) religious youth.

We would like to hear about the everyday experiences of queer-identifying religious young people.

Whilst the Christian stance on non-heterosexuality has been (and continues to be) vigorously debated,  it is our aim to reclaim the (so far) hidden voices and accounts of young LGBT people.

Recent UK debates on the Civil Partnership Act (2004) and The Equality Act (2006, 2010) have generated significant controversies, where Christian ‘backlash’ exists against more integrative calls for inclusion. However, young people are again absent from such issues. Representations of ‘sexual citizenship’ are still positioned as separate from and indeed negated by, religious rights.

This research is a case-study exploration of religion and sexuality in young people’s lives. Adopting an intersectional framework it asks how religious identity interplays with other forms and contexts of identity, specifically those related to sexual identity. It explores young people’s understanding of religion and the relationship of this to their everyday religious practices and sexual identities. It does this through a detailed investigation of the experiences, choices and identities of queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual) young people involved in the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in the UK.

In the context of a rapidly changing contemporary religious and sexual landscape, this project eagerly explores young people’s motivations for attending MCC, how this shapes their identities, how they manage marginalisation or discrimination associated with these practices, and the ways in which their religion might serve as a vehicle for various forms of belonging, identification and political expression. The reasons for Church attendance – and other engagements with religion – are investigated in relation to influences upon senses of belonging and everyday identities. Furthermore, non-heterosexuality is often associated with secularism, and so this study will problematise this dominant discourse by exploring the experiences of young people’s connections with religion and spirituality.

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