Bridging benedictions, enlightening embodiment: interpretations of spirit through desire among gay and bisexual malaysian men

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Malaysian gay and bisexual men are often disparaged as ‘sinful’ and devoid of their institutional faith values in a country that criminalizes same-sex behaviour. Nonetheless, some men negotiate, rearrange and interpret their spirit – or sense of the sacred – through desire – or sexuality – in life-giving ways. By adopting a Constructivist Grounded Theory Methodology, and assisted by an analytical framework of queer transgression, this article draws on, analyses and theorizes selected narratives of four gay and bisexual Malaysian men with various religious affiliations and/or spiritual inclinations. Drawing on a larger research project involving meanings of sexual identity, sexual practice and faith of Malaysian gay and bisexual men, this article shows how these men interpret, re-imagine and perform spirit and desire as two major processes. Firstly, in bridging benedictions, gay men of faith who see both spirit and desire as blessings attempt to bridge these two elements in constructive and uplifting ways in their everyday lives. Secondly, the particularities in which the sexual bodies of a bisexual man and a gay man are experienced, trusted in, and realized as conduits of spirit shed light on processes of enlightening embodiment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-141
Number of pages14
JournalJournal for the Study of Spirituality
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Bisexual
  • Gay
  • Malaysia
  • Queer
  • Sexuality
  • Spirituality

Cite this