Ezra Chitando – « Masculinities, religion, and sexualities »

5. Conclusion

Far from being a relic, religion continues to have a significant say in the formation and expression of masculinities and sexualities. Religious ideologies, and interpretations of sacred texts and traditions, contribute to the imagining and performance of masculinities (and femininities) and sexualities. Whereas the dominant paradigm has been for religions to insist on specific versions of masculinity and to privilege straight sexuality, ongoing contestations have brought about new realities. They have made us see that religious traditions are not quite as clear-cut in their ideas of masculinity and sexuality as we have often assumed. In particular, gay sexualities have become more assertive and have challenged conservative interpretations of gender and sexualities. If the study of religion is to continue to contribute towards generating humanistic knowledge, it must invest more in exploring how religions can generate and nurture more life-giving masculinities and sexualities.


Ezra Chitando is Professor of History and Phenomenology of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies, Classics and Philosophy at the University of Zimbabwe, and Theology Consultant on HIV and AIDS for the World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy (EHAIA). His research, publication and activist interest include, religion and: gender, masculinities, HIV, human security, development, climate change and politics.

Address: 5540 S. Everett, World Council of Churches, c/o Dominican Convent, P. B. CH 7408, Chisipite, Harare, Zimbabwe.