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Queer theory was coined in the early 1990s to name a growing body of scholarship that analyzed the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and theorized the power dynamics that situated those identities as abnormal in relationship to heterosexuality, marriage, and procreation. This literature has emphasized that sex, gender, and sexuality are historically and culturally defined. Its approach is to “queer” or to destabilize the presumed naturalness of heterosexuality and conventional gender performance. In doing so, queer theorists have challenged both conservatives’ claim that heterosexuality is the only natural expression of human sexuality and mainstream LGBT activists’ counterassertion that sexual orientation and gender identity are inborn.

As scholars have taken up these insights in the study of global religion, they have conveyed that, ...

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