Home Institution

Fordham University

Publication Date

Spring 2011

Program Name

Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender


The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine how the Dutch gay Catholic man negotiates his seemingly contradictory sexual and religious identities. Homophobic interpretations of Catholic doctrine and belief often leave the gay Catholic man distanced and isolated from his faith. The current study expands on previous psychosocial literature by providing a more fluid and humanist theoretical framing of identity negotiation; as well as a historical, political, and psychological understanding of the gay Catholic men in Dutch context. Three life stories of Dutch Gay Catholic priests were collected and critically engaged to comment on the larger issue of religious and sexual identity negotiation in general. Celibacy was not found as a solution for the cognitive dissonance experienced by the gay priests (and in general), as sexual identity was found to be a core identity, not simply defined by physical coitus. The complete acceptance or rejection of Catholicism or homosexuality in the gay Catholic man‟s life was found to be an inappropriate and un-realistic solution to identity conciliation, as said conciliation was found to be a: fluid, highly individualistic, constant negotiation depending on environmental variables (religious upbringing, urban/rural geographic area, conservatism of parish and peer group, etc…) spanning the gay Dutch Catholic man‟s lifetime. Future research in this area should examine differing sexual orientations, gender, religious and ethnic expressions to broaden the understanding of the process of identity negotiation.


Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Religion