Common pathways, different lives: The 'coming out' narratives of Catholic nuns and lesbians in Poland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Citations (Scopus)


A vast number of anti-Catholic publications appeared in pre-Civil War America where the ideal of Protestant womanhood was contrasted with sexual immorality of nuns. In contrast to these works, designed to expose Catholic hypocrisy and dismiss chaste life as socially useless, there also exist historical accounts of romantic and sexual relationships between Catholic sisters in medieval and early modern Europe. In the introductory passage to the volume Curb suggests that both nuns and lesbians are considered 'unnatural' but at opposite poles on a scale of female virtue. This shared unnatural status of nuns and lesbians is my reason for juxtaposing them in this chapter. The argument focuses on the social evaluation of life choices made by Catholic nuns and lay gay women in Poland. The reactions described by the author's interviews offer some clues about the way in which the discourse of real femininity is constructed in Poland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Christianity and LGBT Sexualities
EditorsHunt S.
Place of PublicationAldershot, United Kingdom
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)0754676242, 978-0754676249
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2009


  • religion
  • sexuality
  • gay
  • lesbian


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