Sumerau, et. al, “Resurrecting Patriarchy in an LGBT Christian Church”

Sumerau, J. Edward, Irene Padavic, and Douglas P. Schrock. 2015. “Little Girls Unwilling to do What’s Best for Them”: Resurrecting Patriarchy in an LGBT Christian Church. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 44(3): 306-334.

Abstract: This paper examines how a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Christians resurrected patriarchal patterns of gender inequality in their local church. On the basis of more than 450 hours of fieldwork, we analyze how a group of lesbian and gay members collaborated with a new pastor to transform an egalitarian, inclusive, and democratic organization into one characterized by the elevation of men and the subordination of women via restricting leadership to men, instituting a gendered division of labor, and discrediting women dissidents. In so doing, the pastor and his supporters, regardless of their intentions, collaboratively reproduced patriarchal practices that facilitated the subordination of women. We conclude by suggesting that there is not a one-to-one correspondence between gains for LGBT organizations and gains for women, and we outline implications for understanding how retrenchment from egalitarian practice can undo gender-equality gains.