Despite the shift in attitudes in religious institutions toward homosexuals in the United States, there are some religions that continue to view same-sex behavior as a deviant and damning sin. For many, religious beliefs and values provide meaning and impact personal identity. Using autoethnography, I will explicate my own experiences with religious institutions and the ongoing conflict between religious beliefs and sexuality. I will discuss messages received from the Pentecostal church, family, and Latino community, and how these messages influenced my human development and emotional well-being. I show that internalization of the principles taught by the Pentecostal Church triggered a conflict when I became aware of my homosexuality. In this article, I discuss the mental health challenges I faced, and strategies I used to reconcile conflicting identities. I also discuss the use of autoethnography in social work and its implications in social work research and practice.


Latino, Homosexuality, Religion, Autoethnography, Social Work

Author Bio(s)

Carlos Gerena is a mental health therapist and a doctoral candidate at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. His research interests include issues within the gay Latino community, health disparities among gay men of color, and clinical social work. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: cgerenamsw@gmail.com.


I would like to thank Dr. Roy Laird and Dr. Lynn Slater for their support in the development of this article. Additionally, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to my mother for the ongoing love and support. Finally, I would like to thank Steven for always believing in me.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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