Matthew D Little


This poster reflects research conducted as part of a course project designed to give students experience in the research process.



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Both student affairs professionals and college students are recognizing the value of faith development (Braskamp, 2007). However, Love, Bock, Jannarone, and Richardson (2005) cautioned that for LGBT students, this can be a painful topic given organized religion’s anti-LGBT history. Despite this, they noted that a growing number value their faith practices and need developmental support. Unfortunately, Dahl and Galliher (2012) observed that minimal research has been published on the faith development of this population and the external factors that influence it. They insisted that “it is incumbent on researchers to gain an increased understanding of the experiences and development trajectories of LGBTQ individuals within religious contexts” (p. 219). Heeding their call, this qualitative study sought to determine which forms of support LGB students of faith at the University of Dayton (UD) described as most beneficial to their faith development. Utilizing a phenomenological approach, the research focused on interviews with seven undergraduate students who identified as both Catholic/Christian and lesbian, gay, or bisexual. These students discussed their experiences as LGB Christians on UD’s campus, the forms of support in faith development they found most beneficial, and other supportive efforts they still sought as LGB people of faith. Common themes found in their interviews included the benefits of unconditional acceptance/love offered by campus professionals, the value of solitude and time for reflection in contemplating their intersecting identities, the positive impact of the example of Christians throughout history who have both remained faithful to the Church and yet disagreed with aspects of its teaching, and the need for role models who reflect both strong faith and an open LGB identity.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project - Graduate

Primary Advisor

Savio D. Franco

Primary Advisor's Department

Counselor Education and Human Services


Stander Symposium project, student affairs, School of Education and Health Sciences

Love at the Intersection: Supporting the Faith Development of LGB Students of Faith at the University of Dayton.