Liminal Landscapes: Exhibiting Sexual-Religious (Dis)Identification

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 13 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Yvette TAYLOR, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
This paper draws upon the ESRC ‘Making Space for Queer identifying Religious Youth project’, focussing on the visual and textual data produced in participants’ – and researchers’ – mind-maps and diaries. I hope to chart some of the mutual and complex constructions, in mapping and ‘making space’ for sexuality and religion, and attend to what it means to ‘exhibit’ these intersections in public space and be ‘out’ in public. Across the course of the project, a mix of qualitative techniques (interviews, maps and diary exercises) allowed for rich insights into the everyday lives, practices and identities of queer religious youth: these techniques ‘make space’ to account for young people’s experiences of being in – or absent from – religious and sexualised spaces. Yet methodological difficulties were encountered throughout, including in initially locating a sample, where some religious gatekeepers positioned potential participants as absent due to their identities not having been claimed, performed, or displayed. Visibly and publically making space for sexuality and religion through the project was also important for many respondents, seeking acknowledgement of identity rather than anonymity, and often disrupting research considerations of confidentiality and consent. This paper considers the space, ethics and aestehtics of research-researcher-researched identities as in process, and both enabled and constrained by religious-sexual fields. It complicates the legitimacy of being public, with ‘queer’, ‘religious’ and ‘youth’ adding other complications on the path to being ‘public’.