Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Katharine Hill

Abstract

Involvement in religious communities is associated with many physical, social, mental and emotional benefits. Religious people report better health, more energy, and better relationships (Deaton, 2009). Religious people were also more likely to report that they are treated with respect. Religious involvement has also been found to lessen the impact of negative experiences such as poverty, depression, physical illness and even trauma (Bradshaw and Ellison, 2010; Farley, 2007; Jeongim Heo & Koeske, 2010). Frequently lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) people of faith are denied these benefits of religious involvement.

This study will focus on the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women who’ve grown up in non-affirming Christian environments. Through qualitative interviews, stories will be gathered about experiences within congregations, the experience of coming out, and how participants’ faith and spiritual practices have changed, adapted, and remained.

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