Original Research - Special Collection: Negotiating diversity in Christian Communities

‘Love the sinner, not the sin?’ Sexual and gender diversity in faith communities

Finn Reygan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 1 | a3471 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i1.3471 | © 2016 Finn Reygan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 May 2016 | Published: 24 October 2016

About the author(s)

Finn Reygan, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies (WiCDS), University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein, South Africa


While queer theology has foregrounded sexual and gender diversity in faith communities internationally, in South Africa, the emergence of a queer, African theology is necessary given that religion is often not a ‘safe space’ for sexual and gender minorities owing to theological violence. Advocacy for inclusion requires the development of theological capacity in queer communities so as to foster biblical, theological and interpretative resistance. There are a number of approaches available, including demythologising and reclaiming the Bible for queer communities, developing more redemptive interpretative options for queer inclusion and developing alternative discourses that challenge the heteropatriarchy of the Bible. Entry points for this work include Bible study; workshops and seminars for faith communities on sexual and gender diversity; the acceptance of a minimum pastoral threshold (or minimum levels of preparedness) for engaging with issues of sexual and gender diversity; and creating ecumenical spaces, cognizant of the local context, where such engagements can take place. This involves moving beyond a theology of compassion and essentialised notions of sexuality and gender so as to develop a queer, African, people’s theology that recognises the trauma experienced by sexual and gender minorities in faith communities.


Queer theology; diversity; Southern Africa; materials; activism


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Crossref Citations

1. A queer relationship? The construction of a New Zealand LGBTQ community choir and its host church
Frances Bird
Culture and Religion  vol: 19  issue: 4  first page: 435  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/14755610.2018.1526811