Teaching Queer Christian Theology [Where It Can’t Be Taught]

Teaching Queer Christian Theology [Where It Can’t Be Taught]

Samuel Ernest, Yale University


Justin Liam O'Brien, Baptism, 2021. Oil on linen. Reproduced with written permission of the artist.

Website: justinliamobrien.com

Instagram: @justinliamobrien

Many universities that hire Christian theologians and bible scholars will not hire someone who is openly gay or trans unless they are publicly celibate. For example, after years of dialogues and protests at Seattle Pacific University over the board of trustee’s refusal to change homophobic hiring policies, members of SPU’s faculty, students, and staff sued the university for several board members’ removal. The school’s hiring policies are currently under investigation by Washington’s Attorney General’s office, for which the president and members of the board have sued the state (see “Faculty, students sue Christian board over LGBTQ hiring ban”). This is a familiar story not only to Christian colleges but to denominations, generally.

Graduate schools are conferring more religious studies degrees to queers whose work reflects the breadth and depth of queer faith and lived experience. Students and faculty alike are becoming louder about the necessity of hiring lgbtq professors at their Christian colleges. Queer students insist that hiring openly lgbtq professors and offering queer courses is necessary for their education and care. Amid a job market that is already terrible for new PhDs, homophobic and transphobic boards and administrators are more deeply entrenching themselves. They are encouraged by national anti-queer rhetoric and the promise of a Supreme Court stacked in favor of their “sincerely held religious beliefs” about sex and marriage.

Queer and queer-friendly faculty and administrators are exhausted. Those among their ranks who would leave their jobs due to their own sincerely held religious beliefs face the same bad job market, leaving them few options. It is to them, as well as to my queer peers in graduate religious studies programs preparing for an uncertain future, that this module is dedicated. <3

Christian institutions that refuse to hire lgbtq faculty are precisely the places where queer theology and queer theological pedagogy belongs. Not just because the student body needs it, but due to the constitutive irony of queerness: queerness, as a positionality that some claim as an identity, emerges in opposition to regimes of sexual piety and gender piety. Christians who are sex and gender minorities are queered by the church and its institutions. And some of the clearest voices in queer activism, theory, and theology have emerged from churches and schools where queerness should have been inconceivable, both in theory and in practice.

Silence and repression breed new forms of queer life and relationality. These forms are precarious and precious. They need encouragement and the space to become fully what they will be. Queer-friendly professors have taken up the work of supporting queer students in office hours, in free time (coming to protests, sit-ins, and teach-ins), in teaching students to think critically about received doctrines and dogmas, including those pertaining to sexuality, and in some instances, coming out themselves – all of this despite fears over job security. And they will continue to do so.

There is work to do, both for those already within Christian colleges and for those of us who may need to creatively piece together a career outside them – be that at other kinds of universities or in forging our own “alt-ac” destinies. What follows is an introduction to queer theology, geared particularly toward teachers who would like to find ways of queering their curriculum where queer theology can’t be taught, which necessitates grasping opportunity where change seems unlikely or even impossible. These ideas and questions aren’t an alternative to reform but prompts for how to live and thrive in the meantime.

I have divided the module into four small essays in pairs – one setting out some thoughts (“when apologias collapse”), then opening them up through reading recommendations and questions (“we begin again”); setting out some thoughts (“when old stories fail”), then recommendations (“we begin again”). I end with some general recommendations (“to teach”) and a list of books I’ve referenced mixed in with suggestions for further reading. I am new to teaching, so I offer this module with some humility. I hope you find something helpful.

What is the goal of teaching queer theology at a Christian institution? What is your goal? These are questions about individual relationships to God, others, and ourselves, as well as the institutions we form with others to facilitate communion with God.

I’ve been educated within a strand of queer theology that does not expect society or the church to come around to “full acceptance” of lgbtq people; indeed, it is skeptical of the process of deeming certain forms of queer life acceptable, a process that inevitably reproduces exclusions.

As Dean Emilie Townes said in the Q&A section of “Colored Orneriness: A Concerto in Four Movements,” the 2016 Parks-King Lecture at Yale Divinity School: “do not expect to get the love you need from institutions” [my paraphrase]. This is a difficult lesson to learn within Christian schools that lean so heavily on the love of Jesus as their institutional identity. From my own very positive experience of coming out at a Christian college that is now in the midst of several lawsuits to maintain its homophobic hiring policies, I can say that it is easy to confuse love within a homophobic institution with love from a homophobic institution. The two are not the same. The former is necessary; the latter is impossible, and where it offers itself, it is a trap.

In her Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics, Linn Tonstad observes that “most Christians come to queer theology (if they do so at all!), looking for apologetic strategies.” We want to find the tools to reinterpret Christian history, doctrine, and scripture in order to direct the church toward greater inclusion. We want to make arguments that will be heard and thus respected:  gay/queer relationships or trans identities and genders are really ok, because scripture says x.

To paraphrase a familiar argument, we might say, “The bible can’t be used to condemn homosexuality, because the sin of Sodom isn’t homosexuality but inhospitality. To the contrary, gay relationships are icons of hospitality; therefore, the Bible condones them.” This approach responds to a real pastoral need, the need for lgbtq Christians to know and articulate that we are loved and lovable within the language that we have been given – the language of the church. Apologetic approaches can be helpful for that reason, but they are a limited tool.

Apologetics is intended to be a persuasive genre of Christian speech, a defense. But, as Tonstad points out, “arguments on both sides of the case are often ex post facto (after the fact). The arguments one finds convincing are the arguments for the view one has come to have—for reasons other than argument!” What really does seem to change peoples’ minds – if they want to change at all – are unpredictable forces of time, relationship, and prayer. 

More often than not, it isn’t a matter of getting the argument right. It’s a matter of weathering time together under circumstances in which no one uses what power they have to lord over another – time in which we trust that God is one God and the faith is shared faith, which means its lived variations are multiple. Even then, this is no formula, and it leaves queers susceptible to the unchecked phobias of others.

This is especially the case in instances of what Keri Day, in Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives, has termed “projective disgust.” Day writes that “hierarchical domination and injustice are often built upon the disgust of neighbor due to that neighbor’s differences.” Disgust is an affect harnessed by neoliberalism to naturalize difference into relations of domination. Of course we don’t need to listen to their arguments, do you know how they have sex? Disgust is a reaction to the difference of queers, women, Black people, people of color, immigrants, and the poor, and it figures difference as sin. “Projective disgust is about nation building,” Day argues, “as it provides a tool upon which the elite and powerful can segregate, stigmatize, and subordinate as a matter of law.” Projective disgust isn’t only about maintaining a pure natural body; it’s also found wherever Christians strain for a racially or sexually pure Body of Christ. This is true of that Body’s organs, such as Christian colleges and universities.

In the context of a Christian university, how far do apologetic arguments go? Are they as powerful as the fear of losing investors harbored by its board of directors? Are they as powerful as board members’ disgust at the idea of gender-affirming healthcare or that shadowy specter of gay relationships, gay sex?

If any kind of genuine dialogue about homosexuality or gender identity is established where differing opinions may be shared, queers and our allies bring our defenses. We see your latest book by Preston Sprinkle or Mark Yarhouse and we raise you Matthew Vines’s God and the Gay Christian or James V. Brownson’s (excellent in the genre) Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships.

They are the hope. But when the hope fails, what is left?

Apologetic theologies champion the most respectable vision for gay life: gay marriage. You don’t see queer Christian apologists making arguments that other kinds of gay relationships might also be contexts for theological reflection. In fact, they often throw less respectable gays under the bus on their way toward the altar.

Marriage has been theologized out from the realm of culture, which Christians live in and interpret, into some unchangeable, untouchable thing that demands sacrifice – something that demands to be forced upon the queers or forces them out, rather than encouraging the slow, gentle work of discerning where the Spirit is moving in the gay world, its lives and loves.

When Audre Lorde’s maxim is proven correct – “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” ­– we can delight in the knowledge that God is not in the master’s house or contained by the marriage ceremonies held there. What emerges at the scene of our beloved apologias’ collapse is the possibility for honesty about our lives and desires.  At the end of her chapter on “Apologetic Strategies,” having surveyed a variety of such approaches, Tonstad asks, “Is that all the insight that emerges for Christianity from queer, trans, and nonbinary lives?” 

Is arguing for marriage the only thing, the best thing, gays can do? For Tonstad, queer theology begins where apologetic arguments fail.

What might this mean in the context of teaching at a Christian university? Can we say such things there? Lgbtq students deserve more than validity or representation within institutions that may not ever be convinced to love them. Our minds, and desires, must be renewed. Even when we are rewarded for fluency in them, the languages of homophobic institutions cannot be allowed to limit our own speech – they are designed to exclude.

Students and faculty at homophobic and transphobic Christian schools cannot let their institution’s prohibitions become the framework through which we imagine our lives, relationships, and faith. As pressing as it is to strike down heterosexist “statements of human sexuality” and affirm gay relationships, we might also direct energies into equipping our students (and one another) to live beyond the present horizon here and now, especially in institutions where students only hang around for three or four years. How can our theological pedagogy equip students for their coming freedom? How can we practice the discernment of spirits with them?

This section is intended to provide some proddings that may help in preparing to teach queer theologies and to offer potential starting places for classes themselves. Here are three good ways to begin discussions about queer theology. Some of these approaches might not be possible, depending on the level of syllabus surveillance at any given school.

A. Assign an introductory text. There are several good options. I’ve already mentioned Queer Theology by Linn Tonstad (2018). Christopher Greenough has also written one called Queer Theologies: The Basics (2019). They do different things. Greenough’s offers more of a survey of what has been called queer theology, and Tonstad offers a critique of apologetic queer theologies before diving in to her own vision for the what the field may yet be.

Mark D. Jordan’s Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality (2011) is an excellent narrative of how Christians have drawn on psychological, psychoanalytical, literary, and theological discourses to talk about homosexuality, from the early 1900s through the early 2000s. Finally, Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies, edited by Kent Brintnall, Joseph Marchal, and Stephen Moore (2017) has a fabulous introduction that explains several major strands of relevant queer theory. The book also contains an imaginative essay by Jordan on teaching queer theology and an essay by Brintnall on the dangers of apologetics. Dipping into the bibliographies of any and all of these scholars would be worthwhile.

B. Take an historical angle. Teach older texts foundational to later discussions of sexuality in the church, like Derrick Sherwin Bailey’s Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (1955), which contains some arguments from scripture that are still the bread and butter of apologetic work. Is the Homosexual My Neighbor: A Positive Christian Response by Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott (1978; 1994) brings together quite a bit of earlier theological and scientific approaches to homosexuality.

Other lesser known texts could include Loving Women / Loving Men, edited and authored by Sally Gearhart and William R. Johnson (1974), a more liberationist approach. Or Is Gay Good?: Ethics, Theology and Homosexuality edited by W. Dwight Oberholtzer (1971), which I personally find fascinating for its breadth of tone from post-Kinsey church discussions on sexuality to a burgeoning gay and lesbian liberationist mood. The essays in the book respond to an article by John von Rohr that carefully makes an argument toward accepting homosexual relationships. The response by Thomas Maurer in Is Gay Good? is refreshing in its frank anger at the presumption that gays need to make such apologetic arguments at all. Pair that with the response by Henri Nouwen or Norman Pittenger.

It is important for students to see that antihomophobic biblical interpretation has a history dating back at least to the 1950s. Prompt them to consider the material causes that prevent them from learning their scholarly origins. Where have these arguments been persuasive and why? What about where they haven’t been? Besides the Scanzoni/Mollenkott, these texts might be difficult to get a hold of, but obtaining scans of at least a few contributions should be doable through inter-library loans.

C. Teach your context. Bring scans of your school’s founding documents into the classroom, and any statements on human sexuality it may have released, or, if the school is denominationally affiliated, the denomination’s official teaching.

As with any of the texts in options 1 or 2, read these texts critically: what kind of arguments are being made? What does authority look like in them? What was happening in the world when they were being written? What are they reacting to? What discourses emerging beyond their tradition are they ingesting and replicating? If there has been a history of dissent at your university or in your tradition, what forms has it taken? Has it produced its own literature? Conferences? Public protests? Schisms? Where have dissenters applied pressure?

Finally, how has this specific history informed how conversations about sexuality happen at your post-secondary school today? How and where does it connect to broader political forces? How does it feel to live within the context this history has created? Where in the school do students experience reprieve or find something of a way forward for themselves?

There is formational fallout to the ubiquity of queer Christian apologetics. A lot of lgbtq Christians feel the need to become experts in the relevant areas of biblical studies and theological ethics in order to simply function in their environments. We come out and voraciously consume whatever we can get our hands on to help us understand biblical prohibitions and theological problems and how to argue against them.

This happens in communities, schools, and denominations in which we have become entirely fixated on the pendulum swing between potential inclusion and disappointment. In these contexts, becoming gay or trans – the process of learning to live into one’s sex or gender difference – is learning how to make the argument for gayness or transness, make it again, make it better. The achievement of expertise lends the queer Christian a sense of agency in their own life – a way to push the pendulum back – and a sense of authority. Churches and institutions stuck in the pendulum swing have produced a whole body of literature of books arguing the same points over and over and over and over again. It’s hypnotism.

Christian colleges and universities are where students can learn the shape of what is possible in Christian discussions of homosexuality. They trace its outline in the classroom; in institutional expectations, pronouncements, guest speakers, and special events; in dialogues between different sides (e.g., “Side A and Side B”). We might begin to wonder why schools that are eager to flaunt their “respectful dialogues about difficult issues” are rarely open to being persuaded by the side with which they disagree. Can true dialogue happen when nothing is at stake? No. They might offer crumbs of representation or hope, but these dialogues are spectacles, charades of the swinging pendulum.

The agenda for teaching queer theology in homophobic institutions is to stop the clock.

When I came out at a Christian college, I did all of the self-education I’ve described here. I read books, listened to podcasts, and started my own blog. I knew others were doing the same at other Christian colleges, because I read their blogs!

But, thanks to a godsent tutor, I also began to read gay novels. Literature has long been an alternative scene of queer pedagogy, and it can help clarify how gays situate ourselves within the church and the world. Where are we when we are within the logics of the swinging pendulum? Is there an outside to it? It seemed to be the case that to be gay necessitated either leaving the church (Jeanette Winterson’s fabulous Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, E. M. Forster’s Maurice) or staying in the church and becoming an absolute husk of a human being who can be upheld as an icon of saintliness (Sebastian in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited). Some gay/queer figures remain haunted by the church, always pulled back toward it, while others never look back.

These novels raise the promises and costs of either leaving Christianity or stifling oneself, which left me desiring an alternative. Nonetheless, there is something to learn here. To stop the pendulum swinging between promises of change and inevitable disappointments, the spaces of instruction within our homophobic institutions must become places where students learn that leaving the conversations we have inherited can itself be an act of faith. This is Jesus bringing us not peace but a sword (Matthew 10:34), asking us to leave our families behind. This is seeing the Kingdom of Heaven as a new kind of family. This is being given a tongue of fire, a new language, and a mandate to go out into the world and become a living embodiment of the good news. Teach this new world. Novels can help model this kind of transformation.

In the 1950s and 1960s, gay fiction served as a dominant scene of instruction for a new and strange world lurking under the surface of modern life. You can see it in the work of some of the theologians and ethicists tackling homosexuality at the time, like Oberholtzer and Pittenger: literature provided an archive of queer life. The job of the theologian was to lift up the rock, peer beneath, and either stand in awe or smash the bugs. A major trope of the emerging gay fiction (both “pulp” and “literary”) was this very encounter with a new gay world. Desire drives this encounter. And in the hands of the curious reader, the novel becomes a way of reconsidering one’s own desires; no longer only sinful or sick or criminal, gay desire could become the beginning of new life, relationships, and pleasures. Gay literature offers a roadmap out of old limitations, even as it creates new ones.

The gospel must be received within the specificities of one’s life in order to be good news. Old wine, new wineskins, etc. Theology has attempted to give words to what it looks like to encounter God through the gospel as received within one’s own particular context and to live in light of that encounter. Embracing and understanding one’s context fully – not uncritically, but fully, with abandon – is part of the work of theology. For lgbtq Christians, our contexts often span the church (even churches) and the gay world. Some find church in the gay world, some keep to a gay world within the church, and some keep these spheres more or less separate for any number of reasons. To add further complexity, queer and Christian community can be found on the internet or out and about.

A journaling exercise for you or your students: how do you envision the relationship between the worlds you inhabit? where is the university in relationship to them?

The following books would open up wonderful discussions on sex and gender, and their imbrications with education, race, etc.:

James Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain (probably where I would start)
Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
Randall Kenan’s A Visitation of Spirits
E.M. Forster's Maurice
John Rechy’s City of Night
Virginia Woolf’s Orlando
Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited
Herculine Barbin’s memoir, Herculine Barbin, introduced by Michel Foucault
Nella Larsen’s Passing

More and less directly, these books depict new worlds that characters must navigate: pockets of queerness hiding in plain sight, a new city or cities, a different part of the neighborhood, college, etc. Not all of them are narratives of moving from a community of faith to a community based on shared sexual experiences. Yet they help students ask: How might what is old condition the character’s understanding of what is new? How does the new world in turn inflect their understanding of the old? Can one ever go back? How are desires for love, family, God, sex, community, brought into focus differently in each world? Where is God in these books? Point to a page, a scene. Is God left behind if the church is left behind?

And, seriously: is there a happy ending? If so, what allows that? If not, what new or revealed tensions prohibit it?

Gay literature can give a sense of spatiality to our desires – where do they take us? where do we belong? And it raises questions for theology that are worth considering. Even in the most repressive of Christian institutions, the questions below will be expected. It can be hard not to impose our own answers on texts, so start by encouraging students to think through these questions in the terms of the novels. If you can’t assign gay literature, ask students to reframe and answer the questions in terms of their own life. Then transpose the question into the language of your school’s official theology. What changes?

Here are three lines of questioning:

What is the relationship between the church and the world? A number of the novels listed above raise this question. What happens to one’s spirituality or relationship with God when the church either throws you out or makes life intolerable enough that the only solution is to leave? Get more specific with the questions. If the church is the body of Christ, what does it mean to leave the church? What is the relationship between the church as institution broadly conceived, the local church, and the mystical body of Christ?

B. A similar question: what is the relationship between Christianity and culture? Is there such thing as a purely Christian culture or idea? Or do Christians borrow the languages of others and use them in new ways? If so, is there a limit to what can be borrowed? Consider assigning the second half of Kathryn Tanner’s Theories of Culture as a way into questions of theological methodology at the boundary of Christianity and the world. You could start an entire queer theology class there.

These questions of church and world, Christianity and culture, are especially relevant in Christian universities that see their identity as in some way being for the world. The motto of my alma matter is “Engage the culture, change the world.” Ask your students: Where is the church in that? Where are your students? Where are lgbtq people? Are queers part of the group that does the changing or the group that is changed? or both?

C. Many of John Rechy’s novels contain a version of the idea that “there is no substitute for salvation.” In light of the complicated questions of church and world, where is salvation to be found? How is salvation mediated to us? Can salvation be lost? What substitutes are on offer? Is salvation found in adopting a certain kind of life narrative – a conversion narrative? a coming out narrative? What is the relationship between living freely and living Christianly? Is this a false distinction? Do you have to give up one to get the other? What even is freedom? Again, the answers could differ wildly if asked in the context of any of the novels named above vs. the students’ own faith and life vs. your institution’s theology vs. your own constructive theology using your favorite texts. Encourage some creative friction there.

And as many possibilities as they open, gay novels offer their own new, productive limitations, especially when asked theological questions they don’t neatly answer. What does it mean, then, to think theologically within them? What kind of gay/queer life is on offer? Are novels a product of experience, an invitation to experience, experience itself?

Some guidelines for teaching queer theology at institutions that won’t hire queer theologians, in no particular order:

  1. let your students know they aren’t the first to ask these questions: give them some sense of their history; provide paradigms for dissent in church history– we aren’t the first and we won’t be the last!
  2. do not let your best discussions happen in institutional settings (official committees, public dialogues, forums) where conversation is surveilled, honesty is discouraged, and results are profoundly limited
  3. do not replace one bad certainty with another bad certainty. put differently, don’t think you know where you’re going before you get there. If the end result is simply better questions than the questions we started with, good; if answers are provisional but honest, good!
  4. don’t take any of the texts I’ve listed as gospel; there is no one successful way to teach queer theology, but there are more and less helpful questions, more and less helpful frameworks
  5. read texts that you couldn’t teach; read queer texts that may push and challenge your own ideas while revitalizing your spirit, like The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions by Larry Mitchell; we need new partnerships
  6. when all else fails, let the good news be good news
  7. if you are wanting to talk specifics on incorporating queer thought, theology, and literature into your syllabus, consult with a friend who may know, or reach out; this is an incitement and invitation to form new networks that aid in the care and education of lgbtq students at Christian schools
  8. take notes on what works and what doesn’t; revise and swap notes with colleagues in similar situations; let me know how it goes or anything else that has worked for you!

Below are texts I’ve cited above as well as some other ones that inform my own thinking on queer theology and that may prove useful to you!


Althaus-Reid, Marcella. Indecent Theology: Theological Perversions in Sex, Gender and Politics. London: Routledge, 2000.

———. The Queer God. London: Routledge, 2003.

Barbin, Herculine. Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-Century French Hermaphrodite. New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.

Brintnall, Kent L., Joseph A. Marchal, and Stephen D. Moore, eds. Sexual Disorientations: Queer Temporalities, Affects, Theologies. New York, NY: Fordham University Press, 2018.

Brownson, James V. Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2013.

Daniels, Paul Anthony. “A Witness in Our Spirits.” The Immanent Frame: Secularism, Religion, and the Public Sphere, February 18, 2021. https://tif.ssrc.org/2021/02/18/a-witness-in-our-spirits/.

Day, Keri. Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism: Womanist and Black Feminist Perspectives. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

D’Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States, 1940-1970. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

Forster, E. M. Maurice. London: Penguin Books, 2005.

Gearhart, Sally Miller, and William R. Johnson. Loving Women/Loving Men: Gay Liberation and the Church. San Francisco: Glide Publications, 1974.

Gunn, Drewey Wayne, and Jaime Harker, eds. 1960s Gay Pulp Fiction: The Misplaced Heritage. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2013.

Halperin, David M. How to Be Gay. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.

Jordan, Mark D. Recruiting Young Love: How Christians Talk about Homosexuality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

———. The Invention of Sodomy in Christian Theology. The Chicago Series on Sexuality, History, and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

Kenan, Randall. A Visitation of Spirits. New York, NY: Anchor Books, 1989.

Larsen, Nella. Passing. New York: Knopf, 1929.

Lofton, Kathryn. “Everything Queer?” In Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms, edited by Kathleen T. Talvacchia, Michael F. Pettinger, and Mark Larrimore, 195–204. New York: New York University Press, 2015.

Lorde, Audre. Zami, a New Spelling of My Name. Crossing Press Feminist Series. Berkeley: Crossing Press, 1982.

Mallette, Wendy. “The Possibilities and Limits of Queer Strategies of Denaturalizing and Resignifying Gendered Symbolics.” Feminist Theology 26, no. 3 (May 1, 2018): 267–85. https://doi.org/10.1177/0966735018759462.

McNeill, John J. The Church and the Homosexual. 4th Edition. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993.

Mitchell, Larry. The Faggots and Their Friends Between Revolutions. New York: Nightboat Books, 2019.

Oberholtzer, W. Dwight, ed. Is Gay Good?: Ethics, Theology, and Homosexuality. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1971.

Petro, Anthony Michael. After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Rechy, John. City of Night. 50th Anniversary Edition. New York: Grove Press, 2013.

Smith, Bill. “Liberation as Risky Business.” In Changing Conversations: Religious Reflection and Cultural Analysis, edited by Dwight N. Hopkins and Sheila Greeve Davaney, 207–33. London: Routledge, 1996.

Stell, William. “Queerly Evangelical: The Rhetoric of Inverted Belonging as a Challenge to Heteronormativity in Evangelical Theology.” Theology & Sexuality 25, no. 1–2 (May 4, 2019): 62–80. https://doi.org/10.1080/13558358.2019.1583959.

Tanner, Kathryn. Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology. Guides to Theological Inquiry. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.

Tonstad, Linn Marie. “Everything Queer, Nothing Radical?” Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift, no. 92 (2016): 118–29.

———. Queer Theology: Beyond Apologetics. Cascade Companions 40. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2018.

———. “The Limits of Inclusion: Queer Theology and Its Others.” Theology & Sexuality 21, no. 1 (January 2, 2015): 1–19.

Waugh, Evelyn. Brideshead Revisited. New York, NY: Back Bay Books / Little, Brown and Company, 1999.

White, Heather Rachelle. Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Winterson, Jeanette. Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery. London: Vintage Books, 1996.

———. Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. London: Vintage Books, 2001.

Samuel Ernest is a doctoral student in theology at Yale University. His work focuses on Christian theology, gay liberation, gay literature, and HIV/AIDS. More of it may be found at samuelernest.com and homodoxy.com. Thanks to Emily Theus, Lacey Jones, Beth Ernest, and Margaret Slaughter for their suggestions.