Religious Disaffiliation and Family Relationships: A Grounded Theory Study of LGBTQ+ Women's Experiences

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Virginia Tech


For those who were raised in a religious household, leaving one's religion of origin (religious disaffiliation) can be a significant life event that impacts a person for years to come. Similarly, coming out and living authentically as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or another sexual or gender minority (LGBTQ+) is another event that, although ongoing, shapes the course of one's life significantly. In this grounded theory study, the researcher examines LGBTQ+ women's experiences of religious disaffiliation to create an understanding of what the disaffiliation process is like for LGBTQ+ women, and what happens to family relationships during and after disaffiliation. Several themes emerged, including similarities in why they disaffiliated, how they disaffiliated, and what happened to significant relationships during and after disaffiliation.



Disaffiliation, religion, LGBTQ+, Women, grounded theory, qualitative research