28 juin 2021 / "Religion and Kinship in Queer Spaces"
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Daddies, Fathers, Sisters, Folk : Meditations on Religion and Kinship in Queer Spaces
As Kath Weston noted thirty years ago, queer communities are woven from the threads of kinship. Queering heteronormative kinship models made “family” a code word for “queer” and gave us leatherdaddies, lesbian aunts, and gay brotherhoods. Queer forms of kinship exist in religious spaces as well, especially in intentional communities where a celibate father may lead a group of equally celibate brothers or may serve as the spiritual director for a mother superior who in turn supervises a community of sisters. These specifically Christian ways of imagining renunciant communities echo the queer yet conventionally heteropatriarchal family of the Christian divine realm, and both have been adapted by what we might call queer intentional communities, such as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence or the leather community. What work is done, what paths opened and which foreclosed, when a cisgender or transgender gay man is initiated as a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, or when a nonbinary queer person takes on a Sister persona, or when a cisgender lesbian is ordained as a Father in the same order ? What layers of meaning are invoked when a leather daddy dons a clerical collar and becomes a father in another sense ? What consequences arise from the queer undoing of Global North/Global West ideas of kinship as nuclear families and biological lineages, once those same queer people engage in a global search for spiritual ancestors ? Taking the form of a series of meditations, this presentation will explore such questions rather than offer definitive answers, in the hope of opening a broader conversation about the interweavings and complications of religion and kinship in queer spaces.