How do students become LGBT activists at Christian Universities and Colleges? And what is the impact on the school but also on the activists themselves? In his new book, Gay on God's Campus: Mobilizing for LGBT Equality at Christian Colleges and Universities
(University of North Carolina Press, 2018), Jonathan S. Coley
uses interviews with LGBT activists on Christian campuses and other sources of data to answer these questions. LGBT activists in his study fall into three participant identities which tie to the "group ethos" he discovers. These typologies help to understand the ways in which students participate as activists but also how they come to know themselves. In addition, Coley situates his findings in the literature but also explains how his study differs and expands on previous findings. In general, he finds that "fit" is important to the activists and that only about a third of his participants fall into traditional definitions of activists. Coley also finds that denomination plays a key role in the development and reaction of activists groups on campus. Overall, this book gives a clear picture of LGBT activists on Christian university and college campuses.
This book will be enjoyed by sociologists in general, but especially by those interested in social movements, religion, sexuality, and higher education. This book would be useful in a graduate level or higher level undergraduate social movements course given the clear organization of theory and examples used throughout the book and specifically in the tables.
Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch