Title

On Faith & Dignity: Uncovering Local Gay Catholic History

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

Relying mainly on research extracted from the archives of Our Own Community Press, Norfolk’s gay newspaper established in 1976 and run until 1998, and from an oral interview, this presentation seeks to increase the visibility of local queer history, especially in relation to religious institutions. Beginning as part of a class project in partnership with the Tidewater Queer History Exhibition, the presentation explores the queer history of Norfolk’s Sacred Heart Church in the 1980’s, during which time Reverend Vincent Connery was the parish priest. Though the gay and lesbian religious group, known as Dignity Norfolk, that was housed under Sacred Heart’s roof no longer exists, it is important to understand its origins and the real, tangible consequences of the group’s disbandment that impact the LGBTQ community to this ay. Beyond its connections to local queer history, Sacred Heart’s brief existence as an openly safe space for the gay community speaks to national and international conversations on the fight for gay rights during a time when the AIDS crisis was prominent, and complicates the narrative of an exclusively anti-gay Catholic culture when condemnation of homosexuality was--and continues to be--formally endorsed by the Vatican.

Presenting Author Name/s

Gabriela Igloria

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Cathleen Rhodes

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

Session Title

College of Arts & Letters UGR #2

Location

Zoom

Start Date

3-19-2022 3:30 PM

End Date

3-19-2022 4:30 PM

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Mar 19th, 3:30 PM Mar 19th, 4:30 PM

On Faith & Dignity: Uncovering Local Gay Catholic History

Zoom

Relying mainly on research extracted from the archives of Our Own Community Press, Norfolk’s gay newspaper established in 1976 and run until 1998, and from an oral interview, this presentation seeks to increase the visibility of local queer history, especially in relation to religious institutions. Beginning as part of a class project in partnership with the Tidewater Queer History Exhibition, the presentation explores the queer history of Norfolk’s Sacred Heart Church in the 1980’s, during which time Reverend Vincent Connery was the parish priest. Though the gay and lesbian religious group, known as Dignity Norfolk, that was housed under Sacred Heart’s roof no longer exists, it is important to understand its origins and the real, tangible consequences of the group’s disbandment that impact the LGBTQ community to this ay. Beyond its connections to local queer history, Sacred Heart’s brief existence as an openly safe space for the gay community speaks to national and international conversations on the fight for gay rights during a time when the AIDS crisis was prominent, and complicates the narrative of an exclusively anti-gay Catholic culture when condemnation of homosexuality was--and continues to be--formally endorsed by the Vatican.