Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Additional Departmental Affiliation


Document Type



This article examines the negotiation of sexual and religious identities among Catholic members of the LGBTQ+ community. I explore context-specific identity negotiation to determine how and why, in a time of “cultural warfare” within the Catholic Church surrounding the acceptance of LGBTQ+ participants, LGBTQ+ members choose to convert to Catholicism. Through semi-structured interviews conducted with members of the LGBTQ+ community, I identify and discuss several themes based on the identity integration process of these individuals: (1) Experiencing “The Call” (the initial interest in Catholicism), (2) Encountering the Religious “Other” (association with a welcoming and enduring Catholic LGBTQ+ Community), (3) Immersion in Church Teaching (relationship with Church Teaching and social movements in the Church), (4) Reframing Identity in the Context of the Church (internal restructuring of identity importance). I demonstrate that LGBTQ+ individuals who choose to convert to Catholicism experience minimal levels of cognitive dissonance. I suggest that openness to sexuality during adolescence, a sense of control over one’s identity, and a strong community support system are key factors in the development and negotiation of sexual and religious identities. I conclude by discussing the implications of my research, including specific implications for LGBTQ+ Catholics, religious orders, and outreach ministries.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Amy Krull, Ph.D.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Religion | Sociology