Queer religious youth in faith and community schools

Taylor, Yvette and Cuthbert, Karen (2019) Queer religious youth in faith and community schools. Educational Review, 71 (3). pp. 382-396. ISSN 0013-1911 (https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2017.1423279)

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Queer youth are positioned as 'at risk', and queer youth in religious settings and communities are seen as especially vulnerable due to the anti-LGBT sentiment assumed to inhere there. Governmental funding has recently been directed towards challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in English faith schools specifically, as the political discourse of 'British values' comes increasingly to include an ostensible commitment to LGBT rights. It is in this context that we present qualitative research with queer religious youth who attended both faith and community schools in England. The lived experience of queer religious youth in faith schools is much more multi-faceted than is commonly represented – this was also the case for pupils in (non-faith) community schools. Rather than locating the problem within religion, attention needs to be paid to the heteronormativity and gender binarism that structures the entire educational experience. Furthermore, in engaging with the experiences of queer youth who are also religious, we explore the ways in which religion can be mobilised as a form of support, and more broadly argue against the tendency to see queer youth exclusively in terms of their queerness.