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Bisexuality and the Western Christian Church

The Damage of Silence

  • Book
  • © 2019


  • Highlights the pressing need for the western Christian church to review its binary understandings of human sexuality
  • Considers the mental health implications of ignoring bisexuality, within religious communities as within secular ones
  • Explores the marginalization of bisexual congregants in light of the binary categorization of sexual identities

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About this book

This book critically examines the lived experiences of bisexual Christians across a range of Christian traditions in the UK and the USA. Shepherd assesses whether current data on elevated rates of depressive illnesses among bisexual people also apply to the bisexual Christian community. Drawing on data collected by the author on bisexual Christians across the lifespan, the book uncovers shocking incidences of biphobia and bi erasure in the Church. Widespread ignorance among pastors of middle sexualities outside of the hetero-/homonormative binary is revealed as well as a corresponding absence of appropriate support resources.

Bisexuality and the Western Christian Church will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including gender studies, applied theology, sociology and social psychology. It is also important reading for clergy, and LGBT faith organisations.

With a Foreword by Eric Anderson, Professor of Sport, Masculinities, and Sexualities, University of Winchester, UK.

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Table of contents (12 chapters)


“In Bisexuality and the Western Christian Church, Shepherd provides an important contribution to our understanding of Christian bisexual people. Straddling two sub-disciplines which are all-too-often inaccessible or focused on theory rather than the everyday experiences of people’s lives, Shepherd has found a way to give voice to her participants in a way that engages and enhances our knowledge. Drawing on an impressive 83 interviews with bisexual Christians, the book provides a sensitive and nuanced account of these peoples' lives and offers important arguments about how our social institutions can support them and reduce prejudice against them.” (Mark McCormack, University of Roehampton, UK)

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom

    Carol A. Shepherd

About the author

Carol Shepherd is a researcher at the University of Winchester, UK. She is a bisexual Christian and former lay preacher.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Bisexuality and the Western Christian Church

  • Book Subtitle: The Damage of Silence

  • Authors: Carol A. Shepherd

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in Lived Religion and Societal Challenges

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-94678-8Published: 20 August 2018

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-06897-4Published: 22 December 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-94679-5Published: 01 August 2018

  • Series ISSN: 2946-4390

  • Series E-ISSN: 2946-4404

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 306

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Gender and Sexuality, Religion and Gender, Religion and Psychology

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