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Title: Born Again Queer: Evangelical Gay Activism and the Construction of Antigay Christianity in the United States, 1968–1988
Authors: Stell, William
Advisors: Best, Wallace
Contributors: Religion Department
Keywords: culture wars
Subjects: Religious history
LGBTQ studies
American history
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines a network of authors, ministers, and professors in the 1970s and 1980s who, as veterans of institutions self-identified as evangelical, worked to persuade Christians in the United States that gay and lesbian Christians should be affirmed as equal members of their churches. Leaders in this network made characteristically evangelical appeals to “the Gospel,” the Bible, sexual ethics, gender norms, racial logics, and more. Prominent evangelical gay activists during this period included Troy Perry, founder of the largely LGBTQ Metropolitan Community Churches; Ralph Blair, founder of Evangelicals Concerned, a religious organization engaged in gay advocacy; and Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, leaders of the evangelical feminist movement and co-authors of the book Is the Homosexual My Neighbor? Another Christian View (1978). Though small in numbers, this network had an outsized impact. In the late 1970s, some journalists and scholars of religion wondered how “the so-called ‘gay evangelicals’” might shape the future of evangelicalism. Meanwhile, powerful antigay evangelicals labored to deny and distort the substantial resemblances they shared with this network. In time, their denials and distortions not only buried the history of evangelical gay activism but rendered the term itself illegible. This dissertation both recovers that history and analyzes the historical construction of that illegibility. Making interventions in scholarship on religion, sexuality, and politics in the twentieth-century United States, Born Again Queer demonstrates, against both scholarly and popular accounts, that evangelical discourse on homosexuality in this period was contested, variable, and vulnerable.
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Religion

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