Reclaiming the Spirit: Gay Men and Lesbians Come to Terms with Religion


David Shallenberger interviewed gay men and women, many of whom grew up in families practicing traditional religions - Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant - that condemned homosexuality as an unacceptable life-style. When these children grew into adulthood and "came out", many rejected the religion of their childhood as they sought a more accepting gay community. But once they became comfortable with their new gay identity, they began to experience a spiritual hunger and a desire to be part of a religious community. Some sought to return to the traditions from which they came; others desired membership in new sacred communities. The quest for an integration of homosexuality and spirituality is the focus of Reclaiming the Spirit. Shallenberger asks how individuals can balance both a gay and a religious identity, whether coming out is a spiritual experience, and how coming out affects an individual's relationship to a traditional religious community.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 1998