In this exploratory study, we examine the production of an organizational LGBT religious identity utilizing the case of DignityUSA. To this end, we engage in two interconnected analyses. First, we revisit and verify the findings of Loseke and Cavendish (2001) concerning the production of what they called a “Dignified Self,” which LGBT Catholics may use to integrate their religious-sexual-gender identities. Then, we expand on their analyses of DignityUSA in the late 1990’s to outline the ways DignityUSA constructs an organizational identity their members may draw upon to construct the Dignified Self and integrate their sexual/gender and religious identities. In so doing, our analyses speak both to (1) Loseke and Cavendish’s (2001) call to explore whether their findings from three years of newsletters held over time; and (2) calls over the past two decades for LGBT religious studies to expand beyond individual LGBT religious-sexual-gender identity integration to ascertain the construction of the organizational identities LGBT people draw upon to accomplish individual and interpersonal identity integration.


Catholicism, LGBT Christian, Religion, Sexualities, Identity

Author Bio(s)

Nik Lampe obtained a master’s in applied sociology at the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing doctoral study in sociology at the University of South Carolina. Their research focuses on the experiences of LGBT people with specific focus on sexual, gender, and health inequalities in society. Please direct correspondence to lampen@email.sc.edu.

James Cavendish is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of South Florida. Jim’s research has examined a variety of topics on the interplay between religious institutions, social movements, and social change, including the involvement of religious congregations in local initiatives to enhance community well-being. Please direct correspondence to jcavendi@usf.edu.

J. E. Sumerau is an assistant professor and the director of applied sociology at the University of Tampa. She is the author of 11 books and over 50 articles and chapters at the intersections of sexualities, gender, health, religion, and violence in society. For more information see www.jsumerau.com. Please direct correspondence to jsumerau@ut.edu.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Grauerholz for her insights in relation to the first author's work on this project.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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