“Queer Eye” in Theology and Biblical Studies: “Do you have to be queer to do this?”

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This article addresses the question of whether one needs to be LGBTQ+ or queer-identifying in order to engage in queer studies in theology and biblical studies. In surveying the popularity of queer as cultural currency in the media and the academy, I express concern with queer studies being undertaken as if it were one approach among others, arguing that it is an “anti-approach”. In directly responding to the question, “do you have to be queer to do this?” I argue that one does not need to be queer identified to engage with queer theologies or queer biblical studies. Four points are made about the engagement of heterosexual identifying intellectuals in queer studies: i) queer theory reveals how all identities are unstable, including heterosexuality; ii) heterosexuality is not the site of disruption for queer studies—it is patriarchy, cisnormativity and heteronormativity which require dismantling; iii) queer is about the production of antinormative knowledge, a practice that anyone can engage in; iv) where queer studies are also done in conjunction with nonnormative gender and sexualities, researchers must incorporate voices from those individuals or communities. The article concludes that there should be no concern about straight-identifying individuals doing queer studies, but we should be careful that queer theologies and queer biblical studies do not become “straight” and normative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-41
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies
Issue number1
Early online date24 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2019


  • heterosexuality
  • identity
  • straight
  • biblical studies
  • queer
  • theology


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