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Spirituality and Sexual Orientation

Spirituality and religion are foundational to many people’s lives, and research has shown that both are associated with benefits to health and mental well-being. While there is overlap between the terms, scholars often make a distinction: Spirituality tends to refer to an individual, personal, and relational connection to that which is sacred or divine, whereas religion tends to connote a formal, structured, or organized framework within which faith is expressed. This distinction is important for examining faith in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, because organized religions are not always accepting or affirming of sexual and gender minorities; thus, LGBT individuals are left with limited options for exploring and claiming their spirituality. Despite challenges and conflicts between sexual/gender and faith identities, many LGBT people ...

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