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Gay Men and Lived Religion: What is the Distance between Theory and Practice?
1. The religious experience of non-Christian gay men, inclusive of liberation efforts, oppression, and strategies for survival.
2. Gay men’s identities in an era of queer theology. The rationales for retaining a gay male identity, not as a rejection of people claiming queer identity, but as a meaningful religiously grounded subjectivity.
3. Gay men’s apologetics and liberation in contemporary religious thought and practice, with reference to foundational and formative works of gay men’s religious studies, ongoing efforts in academia and religious communities, and the identification of what issues and questions still need addressing. We are also seeking how the academic study of gay male religious identity is being used in faith/social communities.

Ally-ship, Analogies, and Gay Men in Religion
1. Exploring the risk of drawing analogies between gay men and ethnic/racial/minority religious groups.
2. Exploring the ethics of risk within a gay male context, with analogies to viral infections like COVID-19; HIV, etc., attending to religious thought and practice. We are also seeking applications, representations, or portrayals of the religious aspects of gay male experience with the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a typology to the broader COVID-19 pandemic.
3. Analyzing self-described allies within or from contexts that may seem (or be) antithetical to historical or traditional gay male liberationist projects (and LGBTQ equality broadly); for example, white nationalism, authoritarian political parties, religious platforms, etc.

Mission Statement:

The Gay Men and Religion Unit:

Provides scholarly reflection and writing on the intersections of gay male experience, including sexual experiences, with religious traditions and spiritual practices.

Fosters ongoing contributions by (or about) gay men—or men who have sex with men—to religious scholarship in all its forms; we are especially interested in gay men’s experiences across a range of religious traditions and in a wide variety of geographical contexts.

Critically challenges homophobic scholarship and religious teaching, on the one hand, and aspects of the LGBTQI equality movement that promote assimilation and normalization of hegemonic patriarchy and heterosexism, on the other.

Engages a variety of theoretical and political discourses, which fosters vigorous dialogue between essentialist and constructionist notions of gay male identity; this includes recognizing the insights and limitations of any theoretical and methodological approach to the study of religion and sexuality.

Method of Submission:




Richard McCarty, rmccarty@mercyhurst.edu

Michael Pettinger, mfpettinger@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Brian Blackmore, brian.blackmore@westtown.edu

Terrance Dean, deant@denison.edu

Lynne Gerber, l.gerber999@gmail.com

Or Porath, oriporath@gmail.com

William Stell, wstell@princeton.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2025