Using an intersectional framework, this paper analyzes the behavioral and interactional responses to anti-gay religious teachings among young Black gay men. Drawing on 26 semi-structured interviews and 18 months of ethnographic observation data, I highlight the role non-religious youth development organizations play in the negotiation of contradictory religious and sexual identities among young Black gay men. My findings illuminate new patterns in the understanding of personal narrative reconciliation while simultaneously highlighting new directions for research in the roles that youth-led spaces play in socialization practices. While previous research on religion and sexuality has relied primarily on interview data, this study uses ethnographic data to supplement interviews with youth to further elucidate the community building and collective negotiations of religious teachings. Ultimately, I argue that these young Black gay men work collaboratively to repurpose religious messaging in order to justify their sexualities; to reinforce positive behaviors and explain everyday occurrences with religious exclamations (e.g., call and response, shouting); and to create new religious communities.
- Identity development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science