Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study explores LGB individuals' perceptions about how acceptance by their Christian families of origin has impacted their current religiosity and/or spirituality. A qualitative semi structured interview with a demographic survey was conducted with fifteen self-identified LGB individuals who were raised in a variety of Christian households in the Southern United States. The participants were selected through a snowball sampling method and were representative of the surrounding metropolitan area. The methodology allowed for the study to be flexible and inclusive of people from diverse religious, spiritual, sexual, and cultural backgrounds. The participants discussed receiving messages as children from their church and families, whether explicit or latent, which implied that homosexuality was sinful and wrong. As youth the participants reported often feeling that religiosity was something that was socially influenced and ladened with hypocrisies. Participants mentioned that when coming out to their families, their sexuality was associated with Christian ideology and was used as a wedge issue against their stated sexual preference. The majority of participants described separating themselves from their families' Christian beliefs and acceptance in order to find a personally self-fulfilling path to spirituality and religiosity that was not contingent upon remaining Christian. Parental acceptance or rejection was significant not in the outcome of the individuals' religious and spiritual affiliations, but in the narrative and personal meaning that individuals assigned to their journey. This research provides clinicians with considerations for practice and highlights further areas of research within this field.


iii, 77 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 65-68).