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Soc. Sci. 2015, 4(3), 859-878; doi:10.3390/socsci4030859

Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South

1
Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
2
Program in Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
3
Department of Sociology, University of New Orleans, 2000 Lakeshore Dr, New Orleans, LA 70148, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Melanie D. Otis
Received: 27 July 2015 / Revised: 10 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 21 September 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LGBTQ Lives in Context: The Role of Place)
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Abstract

Drawing on in-depth interviews with rural Christians living in the South who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB), this study analyzes how they negotiate their religious, geographic, and sexual identities. We find that most interviewees employed two strategies to reconcile their Christian and gay identities: emphasizing a personal connection to an accepting God and finding a local church in their rural community in which they felt accepted. We argue that rural contexts influenced interviewees’ reliance on these strategies and show how individuals can construct multiple interpretations about themselves, which do not always align with existing cultural assumptions. In addition, we argue that gender differences exist with regard to participants’ residential choices and the importance they place on “community”. We find that, in general, women value the privacy and freedom afforded to them in rural areas, a sentiment that is echoed in their religious choices while many of the men value the close knit community they find in their small towns. View Full-Text
Keywords: identities; LGB; queer; rural; country; Christian identities; LGB; queer; rural; country; Christian
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Woodell, B.; Kazyak, E.; Compton, D. Reconciling LGB and Christian Identities in the Rural South. Soc. Sci. 2015, 4, 859-878.

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