Karl Jeffries came to Colorado College from a small town in Southern Colorado in 1987 and graduated in 1991. He was diagnosed with HIV shortly after graduation and now lives in Berkeley, California with his partner and two kids. Karl was interviewed for the LGBT Oral History project during his visit for homecoming weekend on October 16, 2011.
This study examines the process that LGBTQ individuals undergo to integrate their religious identity and their sexuality into one cohesive identity. By interviewing LGBTQ individuals who were currently members of churches that advertise inclusivity to congregants of all sexual orientations and gender identities I found many of the participants experience a multi-stage identity integration process. There were three major stages of identity construction: first the participants internalized messages of homophobia, then they sought out LGBTQ inclusive and accepting church environments, and finally they expanded their religious beliefs to encompass a diverse spectrum of theologies, resulting, in most cases, in a cohesion of sexuality and religious identity. This study was intended to broaden the understanding of identity integration, not just concerning the intersections of sexuality and religion, but is also applicable to other intersections of social life concerning integration of a stigmatized identity with an opposing, socially sanctioned identity.