"Men vad ska du dit å göra?" Lesbiska präster i Göteborgs stift
"But why would you want to go there?" Lesbian priests in the diocese of Gothenburg
The diocese of Gothenburg is one of thirteen dioceses in the Church of Sweden. The diocese carries a history of a resistance towards female priests as well as LGBT people even though the theological development has been liberal since the mid 1990’s. The aim of this essay is to investigate the impact of that more conservative history on lesbian priests of today, ordained and in service. The essay also has an interest in exploring what happens to the experience of vocation of these priests when strong forces within the church reject their whole identities as women and gay. To investigate these questions, the essay uses theories and methods that focus on the subjective and individual experiences of the priests, examined through in-depth interviews from a phenomenological perspective. The interviews are then categorized in themes emerging as the priests retell their stories. To better understand that lived experiences of working in the diocese, a solid chapter of background information is presented. The investigation reveals that in many ways, the priests are very well aware of the problematic history of the diocese, and in some cases discrimination and uncertainty of how to be received as priest – being both a woman and a lesbian – is still today a reality. The fact that the diocese has a history of opposing priests like the ones interviewed has made their vocation more solid rather than turning them away from both the church and Gothenburg as a diocese. That itself shows that the theory developed by the sociologist Jodi O’Brien known as ”The Gay Predicament” is actually a living reality for many of the lesbian priests of the diocese. In order to progress with the history and traditions that are still visible in the region, the priests ask for the diocese to deal with its past and acknowledge that the situation does not go away in silence. They want their identity as a female gay priest to be fully liveable in the Gothenburg Church of Sweden.
The diocese of Gothenburg
woman priest resistance
the gay predicament
the gay predicament