LGB allies and Christian identity: A qualitative exploration of resolving conflicts and integrating identities
A phenomenological method of qualitative inquiry is used to understand the process by which individuals who hold Christian and LGB-ally identities make meaning of and integrate these two identities. In-person and follow-up phone interviews were conducted with 11 doctoral level psychologists, who self-identified as LGB allies and as Christian and who lived and worked in the Midwest region of the United States at the time of data collection. Data analysis revealed three broad components of experience: (a) an analytic process of conflict resolution, (b) characteristics of being, and (c) experiences impacting conflict resolution and integration of identities. Aspects of the analytic process of conflict resolution included exploration of self, Christian-based beliefs, and sexual orientation. Characteristics of being, or personal qualities exemplifying Christian-allies, included having a questioning mind, and valuing integrity, congruence, and spirituality. Participants' conflict resolution and integration of identities were influenced by relationships, education and training, cultural factors (e.g., geography, experiences of oppression), and specific emotional experiences. Overall, findings suggest that becoming a Christian-ally is a process that is ongoing, is characterized by a desire to move toward an integrated, cohesive sense of self, and can result in a sense of harmony and completeness.
Since very little is known about the experiences of Christian-allies, the current findings contribute considerably by offering preliminary descriptions about the process of becoming Christian-allies and of resolving conflicts and integrating identities. Additionally, the findings increase our knowledge about multiple identities and the development of multicultural competencies, and promote greater understanding of heterosexual allies and the role of religion in ally development. Implications are also offered for professionals in the field regarding research, training and practice, and for laypeople including Christians and allies who are interested in learning about or becoming Christian-allies.
Academic guidance counseling;
0519: Academic guidance counseling