We are excited about the book that has been born out of the Sacred Queer Stories research project! Sacred Queer Stories: Ugandan LGBTQ+ Refugee Lives & the Bible was published in August 2021 in the series Religion in Transforming Africa, of James Currey Publishers. The book is written by Adriaan van Klinken and Johanna Stiebert with Sebyala Brian and Fredrick Hudson. It includes a foreword by Stella Nyanzi, and two poems by Tom Rogers Muyunga-Mukasa.
Presenting the deeply moving personal life stories of Ugandan LGBTQ+ refugees in Nairobi, Kenya alongside an analysis of the process in which they creatively engaged with two Bible stories - Daniel in the Lions' Den (Old Testament) and Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery (New Testament) - Sacred Queer Stories explores how readings of biblical stories can reveal their experiences of struggle, their hopes for the future, and their faith in God and humanity. Arguing that the telling of life-stories of marginalised people, such as of Ugandan LGBTQ+ refugees, affirms embodied existence and agency, is socially and politically empowering, and enables human solidarity, the authors also show how the Bible as an authoritative religious text and popular cultural archive in Africa is often used against LGBTQ+ people but can also be reclaimed as a site of meaning, healing, and empowerment. The result of a collaborative project between UK-based academics and a Nairobi-based organisation of Ugandan LGBTQ+ refugees, the book provides a valuable insight into the narrative politics and theologies of LGBTQ+ life-storytelling. A key text for those in African Humanities, Queer Studies, Religious Studies, and Refugee Studies, among others, the book expresses an innovative methodology of inter-reading queer life-stories and biblical stories.
We are very pleased with the endorsement of the book by various leading scholars in the fields of African studies, religious studies, and queer studies.
Combining the affirmative roles of religion (specifically Christianity and Islam) with non-heteronormative sexual orientations and non-binary gender identities, within the context of Ugandan LGBTQ+ people of refugee status is a brilliant achievement. … a powerful contribution to Queer African studies. Stella Nyanzi, independent scholar and activist
Without doubt this book has initiated a new chapter in the long history of the Bible and its reception in Africa, demonstrating how the Bible as a sacred book can be appropriated as a tool of liberation of communities that are marginalised on the basis of their sexuality and gender expressions. … an important addition to works that explore religion and sexuality in Africa. Hassan J. Ndzovu, Moi University
This is a unique book: it is the first collection of Ugandan LGBT refugee stories of faith to be told. While the text offers much to enrich the field of African (and indeed global) queer theologies and biblical hermeneutics, it also strikes further out, making an important contribution to research into refugee experiences and communities. … very well written and engaging. Chris Greenough, Edge Hill University
Sacred Queer Stories is a daring exposition of the relationship between LGBTQ+ experiences and religious stories that need to be further explored. Aside from recounting personal stories, the text has become an indispensable landmark for alternative interpretations of religious texts in Africa that position such texts as friendly and corrective rather than horrific and repelling. African Studies Quarterly