Research Roundup: Faith project seeks interviewees

Beyond the Carolinas

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Joseph McGuire, a theatre major at the University of Memphis, has initiated his Queer Faith Project and is searching for LGBT individuals who would be open to discussing one’s faith, how it impacts one’s life and the intersection between their faith and their sexual orientation and/or gender alignment.

The project is artistic in nature and explores the role of faith and belief systems within the lives of LGBT individuals. Information gathered from interviews will be used to flesh out a documentary theatrical performance by actors of those interviewed.

McGuire’s objective is to make the piece representative of a more universal experience, and as such is looking for atheists, agnostics, pagans, wiccans, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, etc. He is also looking for individuals who are not necessarily out. Additionally, he is interested in those who choose to be celibate because of their faith, along with those who are out.

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Interviews will be personal and all identities will remain anonymous in their portrayal, unless otherwise noted by the interviewee.

The project is part of McGuire’s studies at the university through its Helen Hardin Honors Program which provides funding for summer research fellowships for honors students. Fellows will present their research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research and other national or regional honors conferences. Participants will earn an university Undergraduate Research Scholar designation on their transcript.

Documentary theatre is a style of theatre that uses interviews and found text to explore complex ideas and themes through real life stories. He shares, “Through my own personal experience and multiple stories I have realized that many LGBT+ individuals have many experiences both good and bad with religion that have affected their entire lives. Through interviewing LGBT+ individuals with a variety of belief systems I hope to discover where this relationship between sexuality and religion begins and how the relationship uniquely affects LGBT+ individuals.”

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To learn more or to volunteer for the project, email jsmcgire@gmail.com.

[Editor’s Note: Lainey Millen is an alumni of the University of Memphis who minored in theatre for a period of time.]

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.