Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Donileen R. Loseke, Ph.D.


Religion, Sexuality, Reconciliation, Ethnography, Social movements


Much of the research done on religious gays and lesbians has focused upon the cognitive strategies they employ in order to negotiate conflicts experienced between their religious and sexual identities. In contrast to taking a psychological approach, this study focuses upon the role of social context in helping gay and lesbian Catholics to successfully negotiate their religious and sexual identities. Using participant-observation data of a small gay and lesbian Catholic community, the Holy Cross Community (HCC), as well as from interviews with ten of its members, I examine the role of the interpersonal context in identity processes. I outline the way that members create a community of inclusion, a community of affection, and a community of shared responsibility, which helps HCC's members in successfully enacting both their religious and sexual identities within a social context. In the discussion, I explain how HCC provides a place where members experience a sense of normalcy and where they worship in an environment that does not challenge their identities. From a social movements perspective, this in turn has a diminishing effect on the impetus for HCC's members to effect change on their behalf.