Queer Love in a “Christian Nation”: Zambian Gay Men Negotiating Sexual and Religious Identities

On the basis of a study of a group of Zambian men identifying both as gay and as Christian, this article explores the negotiation of sexual and religious identity and critically addresses the “surprise” some scholars have expressed about the general religiosity of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, tran...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Subtitles:Roundtable on LGBTIQ people in Africa
Main Author: Klinken, Adriaan S. van 1982-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2015]
In:Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Year: 2015, Volume: 83, Issue: 4, Pages: 947-964
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:On the basis of a study of a group of Zambian men identifying both as gay and as Christian, this article explores the negotiation of sexual and religious identity and critically addresses the “surprise” some scholars have expressed about the general religiosity of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) people in Africa. The study demonstrates that participants are not just victims subjected to homophobic religious and political discourses but have agency: resisting discourses of demonization, they humanize themselves by making claims toward the universal category of love—both their own inclination to loving relationships and their share in God's love. Hence, they claim space for themselves as full citizens of Zambia as a “Christian nation.” This article particularly highlights how some aspects of Pentecostalism appear to contribute to “queer empowerment,” and argues that the religiosity of African LGBTIs critically interrogates Euro-American secular models of LGBTI liberation.
ISSN:1477-4585
Contains:Enthalten in: American Academy of Religion, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/jaarel/lfv073