Challenging the Notion Religions Hate Queer and Trans People

In an effort to counter the assumption that religions hate queer and trans people, a pair of religion professors is launching a new academic journal exploring the connections between religion, gender and sexuality.

“When we say a particular religion hates queer people, we’re erasing the queer people in that religion,” said Melissa M. Wilcox, a religious studies professor at the University of California at Riverside, who launching the journal. “We’re reducing it to one particular take or one particular branch and to a certain set of elites who have claimed the right to say what they want by silencing everyone else.”

“QTR: A Journal of Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion,” is set to publish in 2023 and will explore Christianity, Buddhism, Jewish communities and other faith groups through a queer and trans studies lens. It will feature queer and trans approaches to sacred texts as well as ways trans and queer people have created their own religious spaces.

A website is planned in conjunction with the journal and will include audio interviews, podcasts, poetry and fiction. Initial articles for the journal will be workshopped at UC Riverside in May. The university on Feb. 18-20 is also hosting the fourth annual UCR Conference on Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion.

Joseph Marchal, a religious studies professor at Ball State University in Indiana, said that while some people have used religious arguments to target queer and trans people, “many queer and trans people are religious and find community and affirmation in religions.”

“There’s an assumption that to be religious is to be hostile to thinking about gender and sexuality and specifically thinking about queer and trans people,” said Marchal, who is launching the journal.

“It’s just so clear that when we think about gender and sexuality and religion, the world needs better, more informed knowledge about those things,” he added.

While a 2017 Pew Research Center report showed most white evangelical Protestants (61%) say society has “gone too far” when it comes to accepting transgender people, 2015 data from the Public Religion Research Institute showed majorities of all major religious groups favored passing nondiscrimination laws for LGBTQ people, although the degree of support varied.

Claire Markham, associate director for the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, and the initiative’s research assistant Tracy Wolf, wrote in 2017 that “it would be a mistake to ascribe discriminatory opinions to all people of faith” when thinking about religion and transgender people. 

With this journal, the professors aim to make the scholarly work widely available to both academics and the public. 

“This is one of the areas in religious studies that is directly relevant to people’s lives,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox noted how early gay, lesbian and feminist activists had ties to religious organizations. “That tells us something really important about the really common things that people say about queer and trans people not being religious.”

“This work saves lives,” Wilcox said. “Anybody just Googling to find out who is out there like me or is there space for me in this religion will be able to find the work collected in this journal.”

2 thoughts on “Challenging the Notion Religions Hate Queer and Trans People

  1. Tom

    Ok. Alot to unpack here. First, I do not hate gays and queers and trannies. They need to be in church to learn how to escape their sexual sin. The power of Jesus Christ is all they need. What I do hate is LGBTQ trying to force me to believe that God is ok with what they are doing, and they are not hesitant to yell it to your face. Deuteronomy 22: 5 – 8 God says that men dressing like women and women dressing like men are an abomination to him!!! If that is not discriminatory than I do not know what is!!! Paul in 1 Cor 6: 9-11 says, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ” This is a very discriminatory set of verses warning us against sexual immorality – and God is the one who defines sexual immorality, not us. Now with regard to these “Woke” professors from CA as progressive think tanks, listen to what God says here: 1 Cor 3: 19, Paul writes: This is because God considers the wisdom of this world to be foolish. … wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. ” So God is being discriminatory here as well. It is about the sad condition of the human heart. And LGBTQ do not want to look at their sad condition, and, want the rest of us to accept their condition as ok – but it is not, to God, nor to Christians with a passion to follow God’s word, not men’s foolishness.


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