Sacred Life Stories of Ugandan LGBT Refugees

Researchers: Professor Adriaan van Klinken, Professor Johanna Stiebert

Project Dates: 2019-21

Project Description

Sacred Queer Stories is a British Academy funded research project exploring the intersections of bible stories and the life stories of Ugandan LGBTI refugees. More specifically, it examines the potential of reclaiming the Bible and using it to signify the queer lives of LGBTI refugees in East Africa.

As Raymond Brian, the local research coordinator, puts it: “In this project we creatively use stories from the Bible to tell our own life experiences as LGBTI refugees. The Bible is often used against us, but in this project we reclaim it as a book that affirms and empowers us.”

The rationale for the project is two-fold. First, autobiographical storytelling is an important and empowering method for members of marginalised communities to overcome their silencing in society and claim a space to make themselves heard. It also builds on long-standing traditions of storytelling in African cultures. Second, the Bible is an authoritative religious text and a popular cultural archive in contemporary Africa. As much as the Bible serves to reinforce existing power structures and social inequalities, it can also be used for purposes of community empowerment and social transformation.

The project is conducted by the University of Leeds in collaboration with The Nature Network, a community-based organisation of refugees based in Nairobi, Kenya. Funding for the project was secured from the British Academy and The Leverhulme Trust.

Project Link: Sacred Queer Stories