“Coming out of two closets: Can the dichotomy of queer Christianity exist?”

Presentation Type: Panel
Conference Stream: Mental health and suicide prevention
Presenter: Riki Owens-Bennett
Presentation Title: “Coming out of two closets: Can the dichotomy of queer Christianity exist?”
Room: Murray
Program schedule: Friday 14 August 2015 at 16:50
Duration: 25 mins


It is well known that coming out as a LGBTIQ person within a faith-based community is often stressful and sometimes traumatic for the individual involved. Less widely known however, is the difficulty faced by these same people when coming out as Christian within the LGBTIQ community.

For those identifying as a Christian, belonging to a faith-based community can provide numerous benefits especially if they are part of it for a long time. To lose this connection can be devastating and long-lasting for the LGBTIQ person, with many people leaving their church or some abandon their faith completely due to this painful experience. In contrast, others hold on to their faith and seek out others with similar experiences to form their own faith community.

In the early 1980s the issue of homosexuality was first debated openly within the Uniting Church of Australia, and paved the way for openly gay and lesbian ministers to be ordained. With some congregations now openly identifying themselves as not just welcoming but also affirming of their LGBTIQ members, it has provided them with a new home for their faith, and made the Uniting Church one of the most progressive Christian churches in Australia.
This journey has now seen several faith-based LGBTIQ communities in Adelaide find new homes, openly serving LGBTIQ ministers, and a small network of LGBTIQ friendly congregations. All of these comprising rich and diverse experiences of LGBTIQ Christians who have reconciled the idea they can definitely be an LGBTIQ person AND Christian.

Presentation slides (PDF)