Document Type




Publication Date

Summer 2018



Source Publication

Hypatia : A Journal of Feminist Philosophy

Source ISSN



Drawing from our interdisciplinary qualitative study of LGBTI conservative Christians and their allies, we name an especially toxic form of shame—what we call sacramental shame—that affects the lives of LGBTI and other conservative Christians. Sacramental shame results from conservative Christianity's allegiance to the doctrine of gender complementarity, which elevates heteronormativity to the level of the sacred and renders those who violate it as not persons, but monsters. In dispensing shame as a sacrament, nonaffirming Christians require constant displays of shame as proof that LGBTI church members love God and belong in the community. Part of what makes this shame so harmful is that parents and pastors often dispense it with sincere expressions of care and affection, compounding the sense that one's capacity to give and receive love is damaged. We foreground LGBTI Christian movements to overcome sacramental shame by cultivating nonhubristic pride, and conclude by discussing briefly their new understandings of love and justice that could have far‐reaching benefits.


Accepted version. Hypatia : A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Vol. 33, No. 3 (Summer 2018): 451-468. DOI. © 2018 Wiley. Used with permission.

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