Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Sara Crawley, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maralee Mayberry, Ph.D.


Sexuality, place, religion, culture


Much of the research conducted on lesbians and place focuses on women who live in urban areas or highlights how participants wish to live in urban areas. Knowing that there are lesbians who live in rural and Appalachian areas that do not wish to leave to urban areas, this research examines participants’ experiences living in those places. Participants discuss how religion is a socially circulating meaning system in the places they live and it dictates much of social life. I argue that religion has a two-fold meaning for participants: one, it is a religious text that is used as a social control mechanism in the lives of the women and two, it is church as community, in which the participants use church spaces to both make community among themselves as well as be a part of the larger community in their towns. This research adds to the narratives of rural lesbian women and available ways of occupying spaces by breaking down a binary of common cultural ideas about place and sexuality.

Included in

Sociology Commons