By David Shallenberger

This article explores the search for an integration of homosexuality and spirituality. the writer interviewed homosexual women and men who grew up in households belonging to conventional religions that confounded homosexuality as unacceptable. They show the stability among their homosexual and non secular identities.

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Additional resources for Reclaiming the Spirit: Gay Men and Lesbians Come to Terms With Religion

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The men and women I interviewed for this book grew up, as did I, during a time of powerful change. When they were young children, there were no positive role models, no gay rights movement, and no affirming messages about growing up to be gay or lesbian. However, lesbian and gay identity began to come into its own following the Stonewall riots of 1969. Now, in this highly politicized historical moment, it goes without saying that homosexuality is controversial, especially within the context of spiritual and religious dialogue.

How do you sustain a belief in something that says you're not? . " Finding themselves at odds with the childhood religions they may have been associated with at younger ages, they had no choice but to look elsewhere for a belief system that made sense to them. It was clear to many that they could not merely adopt the tradition that had been handed down to them, for in most cases it rejected a core aspect of who they were: their homosexuality and, for women, their gender, as we'll see in several of the stories.

Ever since that time I have self-identified that wayas a gay person. And there has been, and continues to be, a process. For several years I struggled with conflicts between my sense of myself as gay and what I thought the Bible said. , that I would go into the city and not get back to my sister's until four or six o'clock in the morning. And I remember sitting on her porch feeling very, very guilty, feeling dissatisfied. Why can't I put this together? There was a lot of self-bashing in that coming-out process.

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