LGBT Activism and Reflexive Religion: A Case Study from Finland in the Light of Social Movements Theory

Peter Nynäs, Mika Lassander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


 In this article we focus on lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender/-sexual

(LGBT) activism that is grounded in some form of religious identification. Using the

approach of the study of social movements highlights the features that enable such a

movement to operate and proliferate in the heterogeneous, fluid, and distinctly noninstitutional

context of the contemporary religious or spiritual field and also to effect

changes in the ranks of a traditional religious institution. Religious LGBT activism is a

process-oriented and network-shaped movement that attributes positive value to and

takes advantage of—and gains resilience from—an internal diversity in contrast to being

institutionally organised and programmatically or dogmatically defined. We suggest that

the current public exposure and treatment of the issues around religion and sexuality

should be seen as negations of old and legitimation of new religious identities—not only

of sexual identities. Rather than mobilisation through collective identity, religious LGBT

activism emerges as part of an active process of value production wherein reflexivity and

diversity are central features fostered by both individual and collective negotiations of

subjective and emotionally challenging and motivating experiences.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)453–471
JournalJournal of Contemporary Religion
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Religion
  • Gender and Queer Studies
  • Gender and sexuality
  • LGBT rights
  • Movement
  • secularisation

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