making space for queer identifying religious n.
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  1. Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth Taylor and RiaSnowdon, Weeks Centre for Social and Policy @riasnowdon

  2. Participants • 38 participants (Newcastle, Manchester, London) • 17-34 years old (mean age 24) • 19 participants identified as female, male (15), gender-queer (2), gender-queer and transgender (1), and transsexual female-to-male(1). • 15 participants identified as gay, lesbian (13), bisexual (5), queer (4), and asexual (1).

  3. IntersectionalityA concern with sexuality is apparent within scholarly work on ‘intersectionality’ as a spoke on the ‘intersectional wheel’, but these intersections are often minimally gestured towards rather than empirically substantiated, demonstrated and ‘delivered’; the formalistic addition and repetition of ‘intersectionality’ leaves out the intimate interconnections, mutualconstitutions and messiness of everyday identifications and lived experiences (Taylor et al, 2010, Theorizing Intersectionality and Sexuality). ‘understanding complexities posed by intersections ofdifferent axes of differentiation is as pressing today as it has always been’(Brah and Phoenix, 2004: 75).

  4. Intersectional Methods Individual interviews and social identities mapping exercises–Key themes include: the location of religion in their lives; changes in religiosity over time; management of religious and sexual identities; religious identities and family life; participation in ‘community’ spaces; biographies, transitions and materialities. The interview process is supported through a social identities mapping exercise where participants construct A3 maps that represent important sites in their everyday lives and the ways in which their identities change across these spaces and times. This exercise is characteristic of the work within participatory research where participants are open to shape agendas (Kindon et al., 2008). Personal diaries–participants keep a diary over 1 month to reflect upon the multi-intersections of their religious and sexual identities, the ways that these are mediated by space and time and the strategies they adopt in the management of their identities (Taylor, 2007).

  5. Diaries Andrea, 24, Newcastle

  6. Diaries Rebecca, 22, Newcastle

  7. Mapping Exercise Tom, 20, Manchester

  8. PI and RA keep interview diaries. Research reflexivity? ‘… a matter of positioning and access to the means of telling. It is also about the ability to be heard’ (Skeggs, 2002: 352). ‘… a mobile relation to identity on the side of the knower in relation to the known’ (Adkins, 2002: 340) Weeks Centre Blogs: Intersecting Insider/Outsider Positions: Mapping Me?

  9. ‘Embodied’ positions ‘our bodies are never silent or invisible to the interactions that we are involved in’ V. Kannen (2012) ‘Pregnant, privileged and PhDing: Exploring embodiments in qualitative research’, in Journal of Gender Studies, p. 12 R. Snowdon (2012) ‘Making space for the straight talking/acting interviewer?’ Weeks Centre Blog,

  10. Initial Findings Negotiating Christian and Queer identities … I have often thought about thinking, ‘Well what would it be like if I attended a church that was completely inclusive?’ and I think I would really enjoy it and I think it would be a load off my mind, but at the same time, because I’m quite attached to my own church as it is and I have friends, a lot of support there, I find it really… It meets my needs in terms of sort of prayer and worship, so I’d much rather feel that, as part of that community… (Helen, 20)

  11. Making Space for Queer Identifying Religious Youth Taylor and Ria Snowdon, Weeks Centre for Social and Policy

  12. Initial Findings ‘Church Hopping’ ‘The reason I am MCC in some ways is because I have a friend who really wanted to go and he did want someone to go with him and he knew that I was a church-hopper, and he asked if I’d like to go with him and I said yes, and I do enjoy it…’ (Rebecca, 22). ‘…we went church hopping to find … church to fit in and it’s like, ‘Right, we’re going to go to the gay church but we can’t tell that it’s a gay church because if she tells her Dad he won’t let her go’ and so they just said, ‘Oh we’ll go to a church that’s near here, the City Hall’ and we were walking along and they’re like, ‘Oh go to the gay church!’ and I thought I’d misheard them and I was like…, Nicola, 21

  13. Initial Findings Negotiating Christian and Queer identities ‘Probably gay dominates Christian quite a bit but that’s just because it’s easier to be gay than it is to be Christian, on an outwards appearance. I can walk round with a cross round my neck and if anyone asks me I’ll say I’m a Christian, but you can kind of tell, people don’t really need to ask that, you can tell, especially if you’re holding hands with a girl, it’s not like I can walk round holding hands with Jesus’, Nicola, 21.

  14. Initial Findings Queering Religion? ‘…so that there wasn’t this insistence on God being ‘he’…’ (Claire, 24), ‘…really eclectic mix…’ (Nicola, 21) ‘…So I think sometimes there’s potentially, it’s unintentional but because the group is so close and they all know each other so well, I think sometimes for newcomers there’s kind of a sense of forced into action sometimes, and then the obvious problem with Communion the other day where I said ‘No’ and then someone did come up to me and ask why I didn’t take it and I found that uncomfortable.’ (Rebecca, 22).

  15. Research Questions 1) How do MCC youth perceive their religiosity? Do they see is as part of the rise of ‘progressive spirituality’ ? What motivates their involvement and commitment? Is this experienced as a ‘contradiction’ in terms of youthfulness and/or in terms of sexuality? When do such ‘contradictions’ – or intersections – become ir/relevant? 2) How is identity negotiated within different (religious and/or sexual) spaces? Do different spaces/sites generate various dis/identifications? What facilitates or impedes access to and comfort within ‘community’ spaces? 3) What material and subjective (im)possibilities are fostered or negated in occupying marked religious and sexual positions? How do these intersect with, for example, gender and class?

  16. Mapping Exercises

  17. Mapping Exercises

  18. Mapping Exercises

  19. Mapping Exercises