highlighting debates over the place of gays and lesbian believers
in American religious life fill our lives: discussion over the
viability of homosexuality as a Christian “lifestyle,” a
denomination’s acceptance of gays and lesbians as clergy or
bishops, or the protests of a gay rights group at a major
denominational gathering, are only some of the frequently
repeating stories that enter our lives.
reports give us some indication of the varieties of religious
phenomena experienced by lesbians and gay men in diverse religious
traditions. Many hold a deep alliance to these traditions. Others
follow a more sectarian impulse. Still others pursue new forms of
spiritual practice outside easily recognized religious structures
in popular culture.
course will give students an appreciation of the variety of
religious life among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender
persons of faith.
gain a better understanding of the diversity of “gay” or
“queer” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender [LGBT]) religious
life in the U.S.
understand how LGBT religious expressions and organizations relate to
contemporary culture and society
become expert on at least one LGBT religious group through direct
course is conducted through an online learning community
requiring regular and dedicated commitment to self and community
learning goals. The course is facilitated through Blackboard.
However, there is an important “live” component: your
ethnographic (participant/observation) research of a LGBT
religious organization or expression.
weekly class format:
of the “Lecture/presentation” introducing topic of the week along with
discussion questions each Monday by 5pm.
of responses to readings each Wednesday by 12 noon.
Scott Thumma and Edward Gray eds., AltaMira Press 2004
supplemental reading from bibliography
informed engagement in our learning community as evidenced by:
of weekly reading assignments including online introductory
response to those materials
response to at least one student’s posting
review (chosen from the bibliography)
research on local LGBT religious group presented in class
and in a 10 page paper.
of Readings & Assignments
1 (Sept 12): What do we mean by gay religion? How will we be
a learning community?
Introduction; Part I, Introduction, Part II, Introduction, Part
III Introduction; Conclusion: Gay Religion as a Cultural
2 (Sept 19) A
look at Scripture and Theology
Martin, Arsenokoités and Malakos: Meanings and
in the Biblical World: Biblical Texts in Historical Contexts,
by Mary Ann Tolbert, November 20, 2002
3 (Sept 26) A glance at gender
“Queering the Dragonfest: Changing Sexualities in a Post-
Patriarchal Religion,” Mary
Jo Neitz; “A
Religion of One's Own: Gender and LGBT Religiosities,” Melissa
4 (Oct 3) Making room: Find acceptance in traditions
Longer an Oxymoron: Integrating Gay and Lesbian Seventh-day
Adventist Identities,” René
Drumm; “Negotiating a Religious Identity: The Case of the Gay Evangelical,” Scott
Thumma; “Why Join A
Gay Synagogue?” Moshe Shokeid
5 (Oct 10) Family
Feuds: Conflict, debate, and tension
(Oct 17) More traditions
“Latter-Day Saint Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered
Crapo; “Sexuality and Gender in Santería: LGBT Identities at the Crossroads of
Santería Religious Practices and Beliefs,” Salvador
Gay, and Bisexual Buddhist Practitioners,” Wendy Cadge
7 (Oct 24) Metropolitan Community Church movement
and Diversity: Music as Discourse and Information in a Gay and
Lesbian Congregation,” Bernard
8 (Oct 31) Sectarian
Gerard Teaches Him That Love Cancels That Out" Devotion to
St. Gerard Maiella Among Italian American Catholic Gay Men in
Newark, New Jersey,” Peter Savastano; “Liberation in Truth:
African American Lesbians Reflect on Religion, Spirituality, and
Their Church,” Aryana Bates; “Utopian Imaginaries and Faerie
Practice: Mapping Routes of Relational Agency,” Jay Hasbrouck
religious forms of religion in popular culture
9 (Nov 7) A Sect of One’s Own
“The Gospel Hour: Liminality, Identity, & Religion in a
Edward R. Gray and Scott Thumma; “Intermediaries:
Spirit and Transcendence in a Sample of "Third
Gendered" North Americans,” Ingrid Sell; “The
Harvey Milk Show: Violence, Desire, and Gay Popular Culture,” Edward
10 (Nov 14) Exploring the Queer Religious Fringe
“The Spirit Within: Gay Male Culture as a Spiritual Venue,”
Donald Boisvert; “Rite
to Party: Circuit Parties and Religious Experience,” Paul
Gorrell; “Gay Men's Spiritual Experience in the Leather
Community,” Thomas Peterson
11 (Nov 21) READING WEEK.
specific class assignments.
12 (Nov 28) Implications
of Queer spirituality for the future of religion
13 (Dec 5) Implications of Queer spirituality for the future