The positive aspects of intersecting religious/spiritual and LGBTQ identities.

Dani E. Rosenkrantz, Sharon S. Rostosky, Ellen D.B. Riggle, Jennifer R. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Religion and spirituality are positive resources in the lives of many individuals (Pargament, Mahoney, Shafranske, Exline, & Jones, 2013). Although much of the existing research on the intersection of religious/spiritual and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ) identities has focused on conflicts in these identities (Fontenot, 2013), a growing number of studies suggests that religious/spiritual LGBTQ people experience positive aspects similar to those emphasized in the general literature. We sought to extend previous findings by asking LGBTQ participants (N = 314) to describe the positive aspects of identifying as both religious/spiritual and LGBTQ. Qualitative analysis revealed that the positive aspects were characterized by 5 themes: (a) Love and Acceptance for one's LGBTQ identity; (b) Deeper Meaning and Purpose due to having an LGBTQ perspective; (c) Empathy, Openness, and Compassionate Action rooted in LGBTQ identity and a passion to actively live religious/spiritual values; (d) Positive Relationships with families, partners, and communities based in a shared religious/spiritual identity and authentic expression of LGBTQ identity; and (e) Spiritual Strength for coming out and coping with sexual or gender identity stigma and prejudice. Participants' responses suggest that religious/spiritual and LGBTQ identities interact in ways that synergistically enhance each other and may provide an important source of strength and support that can be mobilized in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
JournalSpirituality in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

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  • Religion
  • intersectionality
  • positive narratives
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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