Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Mennonite Church USA, Gays-Identity, Lesbians-Identity, Bisexuals, Gays-Religious life, Lesbians-Religious life, Bisexuals-Religious life, Mennonite, Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual


The purpose of this study is to explore the life experiences of persons who were raised in the U.S.A Mennonite Church and came to identify as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual. The research was a qualitative study with a sample of 10 self-identified GLB people, who were raised in the Mennonite Church. Through face-to-face interviews, participants were asked to reflect on their life experiences as it pertained to being raised Mennonite and identifying as GLB. They were asked specifically to think about the intersections of their Mennonite identity with their GLB identity development. The findings of this study highlight the complex interplay between two pervasive identifying factors. All of the participants told experiences of pain around the U.S.A. Mennonite Church's stance on the non-inclusion of GLB people. Many participants cited the pain of exclusion being tied to the strong identifying factor of being a Mennonite, insofar as being Mennonite includes culture, family, and a way of living in the world. Through the telling of these participant's stories, this researcher hopes to increase the awareness around the complexities of two identifying factors that may be in conflict. This researcher also hopes to incite energy around advocacy for GLB people in both the social work field as well as the Mennonite Church structure.




iii, 80 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 71-72)