Negotiating religious and sexual identities : an exploration of the lived experiences of Irish catholic gay men

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O'Keefe, Richard
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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This project aims to explore the lived experiences of a group of practicing Roman Catholic, gay men living in contemporary Irish society. The data was gathered using a semi-structured interview technique and transcripts were subjected to a qualitative thematic analysis. The report sought to collate an understanding of how four Irish Catholic gay men (ICGM) negotiated and affirmed their sexual and religious identities. Participants were interviewed about the development of their sexual and religious identities, the psychological and social impact of holding a sexual identity within a non-gay affirming religious context, and the strategies which they used to manage identity conflict. A comprehensive review of associated literature was conducted and this was linked to the core themes which emerged from the overall analyses. The report found that all, except one, of the ICGM experienced identity conflict during their lives. It was reported that a key strategy in the achievement of identity integration was that of reflexivity. This involved the participants engaging in a reflexive process where they renegotiated the boundaries and definitions of their religious identity to include a positive valuation of homosexuality and thereby achieve a greater sense of identity integration.