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Making space for young lesbians in church? Intersectional sites, scripts, and sticking points

Taylor, Yvette and Snowdon, Ria (2014) Making space for young lesbians in church? Intersectional sites, scripts, and sticking points. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 18 (4). pp. 393-414. ISSN 1540-3548

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Abstract

This article is a case-study exploration of Christianity and sexuality in the lives of young lesbians in the United Kingdom. Religion matters as a personal and political force, but secularizing trends arguably obscure its influence on the complex convergence and intersection of personal, political, familial, and institutional realms (Brierley, 2006; Heelas and Woodhead, 2005). While the question of homosexuality has been a central focus in much discussion, highlighting around the presumed discontinuity between sexual identity and Christian identity (O’Brien, 2004), there is still a gap in terms of locating first-hand narratives of self-identified young queer Christians. Rather than assuming that these are separate and divergent paths (Wilcox, 2000), this article explores intersectional convergences and divergences, illustrating how religious participation can convey (de)legitimation within family, community and society. Such (de)legitimation is revealed in unpacking scripts of inclusion and exclusion (Taylor and Snowdon, 2014), which are (re)circulated via hetero-homo normative ideals, and perpetuated and contested in the context of intersectional Equalities legislation (Monro and Richardson, 2010). Here, we examine the highly gendered and heteronormative “role models,” “mentors,” and (familial) mediations experienced by young lesbian Christians, as intersecting public–private domains in the production of queer religious subjectivity and dis-identification.