The Denial of Desire: Obstacles to the Development of Affirming Theologies for Queer Women in Modern Western Christianity

Nicole Mortland Taylor University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Kevin Johnson Taylor University
This presentation seeks to engage with historical conversations and evidences of affirming and accepting views on female homosexuality and female homoeroticism within the broader church. This paper will first examine several early and historical cases of female homosexuality and will identify the responses that emerge from them. This will not include examples of homoeroticism perpetuated for the benefit of a heterosexual audience, i.e., pornography. As far as it is possible, these examples will come from Christian faith-based environments, however at times it will be necessary for outside perspectives to be brought in. The study will also bring in responses to male homosexuality and homoeroticism as it is needed to provide more context or information where records of women’s activities are lost or have gone unrecorded. After examining these cases, it will seek to produce a brief but connected timeline to trace the growth of Lesbian-affirming theologies and examine how current church conversations of this topic might be supported or challenged by previous histories. This study will be done mainly by synthesizing smaller studies, however many primary sources will also be used, ranging from the poetry of Sappho to guides for gay Christians written in the late 1980's. Many conversations within current church denominations on the necessity of presenting affirming views are stifled due to assumptions that the lesbian identity is a new and unnecessary identity, as well as misconceptions that this identity has never before been present in church communities and doctrines. Providing a history of lesbian-affirming theologies is necessary for the continued liberation of lesbian women within faith-based contexts and institutions. Therefore, an important goal of this research is to question the common assertion that Christianity and female homosexual have never previously coexisted.

Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Jordan Hall 301