Date of Conferral
The internalization of heterosexism places lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals at disproportionately higher risks of depression and self-destructive behaviors. For LGB Christians, this phenomenon is often exacerbated. Although literature on heterosexism has increased, little research has examined more insular, religious environments. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Christian denominational religiosity and heterosexism and to compare the degree of religiosity and heterosexism between members of 5 Christian denominations and between same-sex sexuality perspectives in the southern United States. Guided by the attribution theory, a correlational, cross-sectional survey design was used to analyze degree of religiosity and heterosexism among 225 self-identifying Christians as measured by the Religiosity Measure and Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale. A Pearson Correlation revealed a large, positive relationship between religiosity and heterosexism. Two ANOVAs revealed significant differences in degrees of religiosity among denominations and same-sex sexuality perspective, in addition to significant differences in degrees of heterosexism among denominations and same-sex sexuality perspectives. Implications for positive social change center on illuminating the effects of heterosexism in insular environments, which may contribute to the understanding of heterosexist ideology including heteronormative assumptions that are replete throughout the United States, including mental health professions. Moreover, LGB Christians may particularly benefit from understanding the variability and distinctions within denominational religiosity, such that denominational choices become evident and viable options.