Transition and Authority

Transwomen and Religious Leadership in the Netherlands

In: Religion and Gender


The article presents two case studies of two women who were confronted with a loss of religious authority as they were asked to resign from their lay leading positions after their coming-out as transwomen in the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. By focusing on these stories, this article provides further insight into queer lives in Europe starting from the intersections of gender, sexuality and religion. The cases show how the position of transwomen is negotiated by both religious structures as well as by transwomen themselves. The analysis focuses particularly on the interactions between the women and their community and church authorities and examines the use of gender/sexuality terminology, the role of the body, and the individualization of faith. This article brings together insights from religious studies, gender, trans* and queer studies, which allows for a multi-layered understanding of trans* and religion in a European context.

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