Negotiating queer and religious identities in higher education : queering 'Progression' in the 'University Experience'

Falconer, Emily and Taylor, Yvette (2017) Negotiating queer and religious identities in higher education : queering 'Progression' in the 'University Experience'. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38 (6). pp. 782-797. ISSN 1465-3346 (

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This paper addresses the negotiation of ‘queer religious’ student identities in UK Higher Education. The ‘university experience’ has generally been characterised as a period of intense transformation and self-exploration, with complex and overlapping personal and social influences significantly shaping educational spaces, subjects and subjectivities. Engaging with ideas about progressive tolerance and becoming, often contrasted against ‘backwards’ religious-homophobia as a sentiment/space/subject ‘outside’ of education (Rasmussen, 2010), this paper follows the experiences and expectations of queer Christian students . In asking if notions of ‘queering higher education’ (Renn, 2010; Case et al., 2012; Rumens, 2014, Taylor, 2013a) ‘fit’ with queer identifying religious youth, it explores how educational experiences are narrated and made sense of as ‘progressive’. Educational transitions allow (some) sexual-religious subjects to negotiate identities more freely, albeit with ongoing constraints. Yet perceptions of what, where and who, is deemed ‘progressive’ and ‘backwards’ with regard to sexuality and religion need to be met with caution, where the ‘university experience’ can shape and shake sexual-religious identity.