Christian and Gay: A Dialogical Narrative Analysis of Negotiating Identity.

Prof Doc Thesis

Hutin, T. 2017. Christian and Gay: A Dialogical Narrative Analysis of Negotiating Identity. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Psychology
AuthorsHutin, T.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

A sea change occurred in the nineteenth century regarding how homosexuality was viewed. Same sex acts were pathologised, criminalised and essentialised. These negative discourses were assimilated by Christian doctrine, mapping these essences back into Scriptural texts and condemning those who call themselves gay and lesbian Christians. This has had profound effects on individuals within the Evangelical tradition with its emphasis on biblicalism, who then have to negotiate their religious and homosexual identities.

The present study examines the processes involved in negotiating Christian and homosexual identities through the use of Dialogical Narrative Analysis. This is a narrative constructionist approach which looks beyond stories themselves, to examine how stories act in the lives of protagonists and the narrative resources protagonists utilise in their stories. Eleven lesbian and gay Evangelical Christians were interviewed about their stories of identity negotiation in Christian settings opposed to homosexuality. These were analysed to identify the underlying typologies of process which lead to a variety of outcomes for gay and lesbian Christians.

Analysis revealed that there are two essentialist narratives at work in a protagonist's story: an assertive monological faith narrative which threatens foreclosure; and same sex attractions which become necessary to story through a gay/lesbian narrative. The proximity of relationship between these narratives determines five typologies of process: Same sex attraction invisibility; inchoate recognition of same sex attraction; narrative identity battles; dormant faith or sexuality; and 'I am what I am'. These narrative types of process function to help sustain a protagonist's identity, and shed light on the work the protagonist's story does in identity construction.

The study suggests that the loosening of monological faith narratives by opening up narrative space, allows protagonists to remake their identities with authentic fabrications and thereby hold their own, countering the threat of finalisation.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintAug 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited12 Jun 2018
Publisher's version
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