Identifying as young, disabled and bisexual within evangelical Christianity: Abigail's story

Toft, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3734-2242 and Franklin, A., 2020. Identifying as young, disabled and bisexual within evangelical Christianity: Abigail's story. In: A.K.T. Yip and A. Toft ORCID: 0000-0003-3734-2242, eds., Bisexuality, spirituality and religion: critical perspectives. Routledge studies in the sociology of religion . London: Routledge. ISBN 9780367030209

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Historically, society has desexualised disabled people and has actively restricted their access to sex and relationship information, particularly in terms of LGBT+identities. Research has further suggested that when such information is presented, it is often heteronormative and exclusionary. There has been little research exploring young disabled LGBT+ experiences, and the voices of this population are not being heard. Research exploring the lives and identities of young disabled bisexual individuals with religious belief is even more limited. This chapter focuses upon the experiences of Abigail, a disabled 18-year-old bisexual transgender woman who was brought up in an Evangelical Christian Church in the UK. We suggest that although the Church accepted her disability, her gender transition and bisexuality were seen as being out of line with the Church's teachings, resulting in the priest and congregation working to physically expel or exorcise her sexuality through prayer. The chapter explores how Abigail negotiated her identity against such a backdrop and how she continued to live as what she called her 'authentic self'. Her story shows an individualisation of faith, rooted in traditional Christian practices and traditions. Abigail received little support and faced discrimination and misunderstanding in relation to both her disability and sexuality.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Description: Chapter 3
Creators: Toft, A. and Franklin, A.
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: London
Date: 14 February 2020
ISBN: 9780367030209
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 06 Sep 2019 14:20
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 11:44

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