Can you introduce yourself to our readers and give us an idea of what you do?
I am a bit of a moomin mamma: I usually wear an apron and cook wonderful potions at the stove… I have an adorable yet slightly strange family… I mix with weird creatures… I fly away on a cloud… [and] I teach at Sheffield Biblical Studies department.
How did you get involved with Hidden Perspectives?
Katie reckons I have earned my Hidden Perspectives credentials, queering the New Testament by discussing its transvestite metaphors, challenging biblical heteronormality or female submission, or talking about prejudice with youngsters in our schools programme. In order to keep myself awake in my lectures I like to use literature, music & film – like 50 Shades of Feminism-never-happened, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce, Daniel Craig & other hunks in trunks – to discuss various religious topics or religious characters, gender roles, performances, or other theories… Hence the Lady Gaga paper.
Do you have a personal story about LGBT and Religion/The Bible?
I have some amazing friends whose LGBTQ stories have really touched me, while at the same time I am sad to hear about faith communities, or religious people who struggle with various prejudices or homophobia. A vicar friend of mine told me that in his experience lots of people would like to be OK with homosexual people, but do not know how, theologically. That’s a bit of a problem, and the kind of dilemma I am thinking about. Also, because I like to read about prejudice, the topics of gender, sexuality and ethnicity are really the big issues in social psychological case studies and theory, and it is more that I cannot NOT think about LGBTQ, Religion and the Bible!
Why do you think projects like Hidden Perspectives are important?
Hidden Perspectives is important as it brings Angel Gaybriel to Sheffield!
Seriously, there are lots of important things, but to mention two: firstly, I think it is important that Churches and believers would fully realise that some of our ‘neighbours’ (that Jesus told us to love) are gay, and stand up against prejudice collectively and privately. Secondly, it would also be good to offer something to LGBTQ communities, or people who have no religious heritage or knowledge of the Bible. The bible has lots of interesting characters and stories, erotic, and homoerotic, with myths and legends, sex and desire. And there are lots of inspiring stories of people who stand up against wrongs of their day and context. Clearly the Bible has been used to oppress, but it can also give its readers pride – freedom, value, dreams and strength.