Published academic works
© 2021 ISBN-13: 978-3-030-73313-1

Doing Church at the Amplify Open and Affirming Conferences

Queer Ecclesiologies in Asia

This book is a dedicated academic study of Amplify, a series of open and affirming Christian Conferences in Asia that provides spaces of worship, support, fellowship, collaboration and networking for LGBTIQ-affirming churches. Through a detailed analysis of narratives from fourteen Amplify frontliners comprising co-founders, hosts, organisers, co-organisers, speakers, consultants and other active contributors, this volume chronicles the historical development of Amplify from its 2009 inception in Singapore to subsequent occurrences in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and, most recently, Taiwan in 2018. Written at the intersection of gender, sexuality and theology, the focus of this volume lies in the construction of Asian LGBTIQ ecclesiologies that emanate from, and speak to the theological vision of doing church at Amplify.

Amplify invites us to rethink what the unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity of the church is, and its relation to human flourishing. Goh’s book provides us with a critical appreciation of this ecclesiologically significant Christian LGBTIQ grassroots movement which is often imperceptible in mainstream Christianity. – Lap Yan Kung, Associate Professor, Divinity School of Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

An engaging historical, reflective and theological account of a significant emerging movement in Christianity across Asia, Doing Church at the Amplify Open and Affirming Conferences provides an important record of a developing ecclesial network that is open and accepting of people who identify as LGBTIQ and Christian. – Rev. Dr Anita Monro, Honorary Research Senior Fellow, School of History & Philosophical Inquiry, The University of Queensland, Australia

© 2020 ISBN-13: 978-981-15-8916-4

Gender and Sexuality Justice in Asia

Finding Resolutions through Conflicts

This book brings together a group of innovative scholars examining the contemporary issue of effecting gender and sexuality justice in the context of Asia, consonant with engendering a just, equitable and sustainable development for all. These grassroots initiatives are woven through three complementary sections of the book: gender justice in Asia, sexuality justice in Asia, and finding resolutions through conflict. The book foregrounds strategies that aim to call out and challenge existing gender and sexuality injustices with regard to women and the LGBTIQA+ community by: assessing the efficacy of gender mainstreaming policies through micro-credit schemes for women in East Java, Indonesia; proliferating the signifiers of the hijab (veil) by postmodern Malay-Muslim women or ‘Hijabistas’ within the consumerist culture of Malaysia; making visible the injustices of the Syariah legal system for non-Muslim women, and ground-breaking legislation that could potentially recognise same-sex marriages in Thailand; privileging the narratives of gay women diplomats within the highly masculinised field of diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific region; foregrounding the narratives of Filipino gay men, intimate partner violence among young Indonesian Christian young people, masculine-identifying lesbians in Singapore, young LGBT people in rural Vietnam, and a Chinese-Muslim Malaysian female-to-male transgender person; and proposing new ways of becoming an inclusive church through the radical act of befriending persons living with HIV and AIDS in Southeast Asia. This book celebrates diverse and inclusive voices and strategies of gender and sexual agents of change in envisioning and bringing to fruition a just and transformative society for all. It is of interest to students and scholars researching gender and sexuality in areas of development studies, international relations, socio-legal studies, and literary studies.

© 2020 ISBN-13: 9789811545337

Becoming a Malaysian Trans Man

Gender, Society, Body and Faith

This book explores the fluid, mutable and contingent ways in which transgender men in Malaysia construct their subjectivities. Against the dearth of academic resources on Malaysian trans men, this ground-breaking monograph is rooted in the lived experiences of Malaysian trans men whose vicissitudes have mostly been hidden, silenced and overlooked. Comprising diverse age groups, ethnicities, socio-economic status, educational backgrounds and religious persuasions, these trans men reveal how they navigate life in a country with secular and religious laws that criminalise their embodiments, and the strategies they deploy to achieve self-determination and self-actualisation despite being perceived as aberrant and sinful. This book demonstrates how negotiations with constitutive elements such as gender identity, social interaction, citizenship, legality, bodily struggle, medical transitioning and personal spiritual validation condition the becomings of Malaysian trans men.

Goh’s nuanced study ‘unsilences’ the voices of trans men in Malaysia to highlight how they navigate social, medical, and religious norms in the process of ‘becoming’ their self-affirmed identity. This sophisticated, engaging and respectfully written book is essential reading for transgender studies researchers and anyone interested in the complexity of gender in Southeast Asia and beyond. Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada

The exceptionally rich data is narrated with much care to enable the stories of this marginalised group to be respectfully and joyfully heard. This is a unique contribution to trans studies and sociological research on gender, identity, sexuality and embodiment. It is also a wonderful example of intersectional research methods … a very powerful read. Sally Hines, Chair of Sociology, University of Sheffield, UK

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© 2020 ISBN-13: 9780367277413

Unlocking Orthodoxies for Inclusive Theologies

Queer Alternatives

This book enters a new liminal space between the LGBTQ and denominational Christian communities. It simultaneously explores how those who identify as queer can find a home in church and how those leading welcoming, or indeed unwelcoming, congregations can better serve both communities. The primary argument is that queer inclusion must not merely mean an assimilation into existing heteronormative respectability and approval. Chapters are written by a diverse collection of Asian, Latin American, and U.S. theologians, religious studies scholars and activists. Each of them writes from their own social context to address the notion of LGBTQ alternative orthodoxies and praxes pertaining to God, the saints, failure of the church, queer eschatologies, and erotic economies. Engaging with issues that are not only faced by those in the theological academy, but also by clergy and congregants, the book addresses those impacted by a history of Christian hostility and violence who have become suspicious of attempts at "acceptance". It also sets out an encouragement for queer theologians and clergy think deeply about how they form communities where queer perspectives are proactively included. This is a forward-looking and positive vision of a more inclusive theology and ecclesiology. It will, therefore, appeal to scholars of Queer Theology and Religious Studies as well as practitioners seeking a fresh perspective on church and the LGBTQ community.

The future church’s vitality will unfold on the other side of deconstructed colonial, patriarchal, and hetero-normative orthodoxies. Inspired by a Holy Spirit who is investing Herself in the calling of leaders too long excluded by those orthodoxies, Queer theologians are finding their voice. They are a source of new life, relevance and vitality the Spirit will no longer sideline, and whom the Church now ignores at its own peril. This anthology breathes air into the lungs of a Church being newly birthed, a Church dependent on queered assumptions, praxis, liturgy, theology, and ecclesiology: it delivers on all of that. - Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, President and General Minister, United Church of Christ, USA

The Church was again left behind in society in 2019. The United Methodist Church voted to uphold its ban on same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy in February, while Taiwan became the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage in May. Why is God being pitched against sex between two loving individuals because they are not a man and a woman? This volume weaves together the most important spiritual and theological resources to decipher divine justice for our LGBTQ sisters and brothers. It is the most powerful declaration of God's love for them as much as their love for God. - Wong Wai Ching Angela, Vice President for Programs, United Board, and Honorary Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Dive into this cascade of queer theologies with abandon. Appreciate the variety of starting points, the range of conclusions. Let imagination and the arts, play and sex instruct the one body we are about our multiple desires. Then speak of the divine with more insight and of creation with more care. - Mary E. Hunt, Co-Director, Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), USA

This collection of well-written essays on ecclesiology, eschatology, hagiography, and incarnational theologies demonstrates brilliantly the editor’s claim that "queer theologies are at their best when they are directed beyond academic discussion to transformative praxis with the aim to reveal new economies of grace to queer folks in dis/graceful contexts..." ( "Introduction.") These essays offer a wealth of original theological insights that are at once transgressive, provocative, inclusive, and life-saving. If only all contemporary Christian theological writing, whether explicitly queer or not, were this good! - Bernard Schlager, Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies, Pacific School of Religion, Executive Director, The Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion (CLGS), Berkeley, California, USA

© 2018 ISBN-13: 9781138305441

Living Out Sexuality and Faith

Body Admissions of Malaysian Gay and Bisexual Men

Sexuality, religion and faith often have complex and conflicting interactions, on both personal and societal levels. Numerous studies have been conducted on queer subjects, but they have predominantly focused on ‘Western’ expressions of faith and queer identities. This book contributes to the wider scholarship on queer subjects by drawing on actual lived experiences of self-identifying gay and bisexual men in Malaysia. It discusses what we can learn from the realities of their lives that intersect with their religious, spiritual, theological or humanistic values in an Asian context. Analysed within the critical frameworks of queer theory and queer sexual theology, this study divulges the meanings ascribed to sexual identities and practices, as well as conceptualisations of masculinity, sexual desire, love and intimate physical connections. It also lays bare the complex negotiations between gender, desire and spirit, and how they can affect one another. Tying fascinating case studies and underexplored Asian theologies with wider conversations around sexuality and faith, this book will be of significant interest to scholars working in religious studies, theology, queer studies, sexuality studies and Asian studies.

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A pioneering book on gender and sexuality studies in Southeast Asia. Dr. Goh weaves academic theories and personal narratives of gay and bisexual Malaysian men to provide a rich and fascinating study of gender, desire, and religion. The book makes a critical contribution to non-Western queer theory and gender studies. - Kwok Pui-lan, William F. Cole Professor of Christian Theology and Spirituality, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

An original and seminal work which critically explores the integration of critical theory, theology, and lived experiences of gay and bisexual Malaysian men, as well as essential reading for anyone who is interested in new insights and approaches on the intersections of gay studies and theology beyond Europe and North America. - Jonathan Y. Tan, Archbishop Paul J. Hallinan Professor of Catholic Studies, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

© 2014 ISBN-13: 9781137447722

Queering Migrations Towards, From, and Beyond Asia

The book explores migration and queerness as they relate to ethnic/racial identity constructions, immigration processes and legal status, the formation of trans/national and trans/cultural partnerships, and friendships. It explores the roles that religious identities/values/worldviews play in the fortification/critique of queer migrant identities.

This volume offers inspiring and insightful essays from emerging scholars who explore the intersection of ethnicity, migration, sexual desire, practice, and religion. You will find most valuable contributions to the fields of queer studies and migration studies that expand the vision in both fields. - Andrea Bieler, Professor, Practical Theology, Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel, Germany

Edited Journal Special Issue

Goh, J. N., and Wong, P. (2015). Special issue on queer theologies [Special issue]. in God’s image 34(2).

Journal Articles

Chan, C.-T., & Goh, J. N. Social and cognitive dimensions of collaboration in informal learning spaces: Malaysian social science students’ perspectives. Interactive Learning Environments. doi: 10.1080/10494820.2020.1799029 (In-Press)

Goh, J. N. (2021). Trans/imagining God: Articulations of individualised spirituality among Muslim and Christian transgender men. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 11(1), 34-47. doi: 10.1080/20440243.2020.1861899

Goh, J. N. (2020). Gay men, the invention of ecclesial injustice, and aspirations for redress and renewal. CrossCurrents 70(4), 360-377. doi: 10.1111/cros.12445

Goh, J. N. (2020). Trans/Forming church in the Asia Pacific region: Narratives of hospitable ecclesiology by Philippine and Tongan transgender women. QUEST: Studies on Religion & Culture in Asia, 4. 1-17.

Goh, J. N. (2019). God>Cursing>Shaming>Blessing>Pride. TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, 6(3), 435–441. doi: 10.1215/23289252-7549582

Goh, J. N. (2019). Untying tongues: Negotiations and innovations of faith and gender among Malaysian Christian trans men. Culture and Religion, 20(1), 1–20. doi: 10.1080/14755610.2018.1562482

Goh, J. N., Meneses, K. C., & Messer, D. E. (2019). An ecclesiological praxis of inclusivity toward sexual diversity and HIV: Learning from Singapore and the Philippines. International Journal of Public Theology, 13(2), 163–184. doi: 10.1163/15697320-12341570

Goh, J. N., & Kananatu, T. (2019). Mak nyahs and the dismantling of dehumanisation: Framing empowerment strategies of Malaysian male-to-female transsexuals in the 2000s. Sexualities, 22(1–2), 114–130. doi: 10.1177/1363460717740256

Goh, J. N., Lewis, G. L., & Leong, P. P. Y. (2019). Sexy media dissidents: State regulation, dissidence, pornography and gay men in Malaysia. Sexuality & Culture, 23(1), 192–208. doi: 10.1007/s12119-018-9550-2

Messer, D. E., & Goh, J. N. (2017). Locating the face of God: Practical theological reflections on LGBTIQ people and churches. in God’s image, 36(2), 21–30.

Goh, J. N. (2018). Gender, Sexuality and ‘Songsang’: Freedom of Expression for LGBT Malaysians? Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Young Academics Voice (22).

Goh, J. N. (2017). Navigating sexual honesty: A qualitative study of the meaning-making of pornography consumption among gay-identifying Malaysian men. Porn Studies, 4(4), 447–462. doi: 10.1080/23268743.2017.1371066

Goh, J. N. (2017). Bridging benedictions, enlightening embodiment: Interpretations of spirit through desire among gay and bisexual Malaysian men. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 7(2), 128–141. doi: 10.1080/20440243.2017.1370907

Goh, J. N. (2017). From polluted to prophetic bodies: Theo-pastoral lessons from the lived experiences of gay, HIV-positive Christian men in Singapore. Practical Theology, 10(2), 133–146. doi: 10.1080/1756073X.2017.1296240

Goh, J. N. (2016). Searched and known: An autoethno-theological reflection on the sexual body and creation in relation to Psalm 139. CrossCurrents, 66(4), 485–500. doi: 10.1111/cros.12210

Goh, J. N. (2016). Survivalist sexuality-faith strategies in biblical meaning-makings: Non-heteronormative Malaysian Christian men and negotiations of sexual self-affirmation. QUEST: Studies on Religion & Culture in Asia, 1, 38–53.

Goh, J. N. (2016). Imaginative assemblages of transcendent/desire: Non-heteronormative Malaysian men speak up and talk back. Critical Research on Religion, 4(2), 125–140. doi: 10.1177/2050303216647104

Goh, J. N., & Wong, P. (2015). Editorial: Queer theologies—playing with theology. in God’s image, 34(2), 1–4.

Goh, J. N. (2015). Outing the self/outing God: Reimagining the cross for Christians with same-sex attractions. in God’s image, 34(1), 22–31.

Goh, J. N. (2014). Fracturing interwoven heteronormativities in Malaysian Malay-Muslim masculinity: A research note. Sexualities, 17(5–6), 600–617. doi: 10.1177/1363460714526317

Goh, J. N. (2014). Reclaiming vision and voice: A queer-feminist-liberation reading of Mark 10: 46-52 in relation to non-heteronormative Malaysians. in God’s image, 33(1), 40–51.

Goh, J. N. (2014). Sacred sexual touch: Illness, sexual bodies and sacramental anointing in rural Bidayŭh villages. Rural Theology: International, Ecumenical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 12(1), 42–52. doi: 10.1179/1470499414Z.00000000027

Goh, J. N. (2014). ‘Trans*cending Tribulations’. New Mandala.

Goh, J. N. (2014). ‘You must follow our belief or else you can’t receive God’: Constructing a sexual bi/theology of Eucharist. Dialog, 53(2), 149–158. doi: 10.1111/dial.12105

Goh, J. N. (2012). Mak nyah bodies as sacred sites: Uncovering the queer body-sacramentality of Malaysian male-to-female transsexuals. CrossCurrents, 62, 512–521. doi: 10.1111/cros.12006

Goh, J. N. (2012). Mary and the mak nyahs: Queer theological imaginings of Malaysian male-to-female transsexuals. Theology & Sexuality, 18, 215–233. doi: 10.1179/1355835813Z.00000000016

Goh, J. N. (2012). Nyah–Islam: The reconstruction of God and institutional Islam by Malaysian male-to-female transsexuals. in God’s image, 31, 33–44.

Goh, J. N. (2012). The word was not made flesh: Theological reflections on the banning of Seksualiti Merdeka 2011. Dialog, 51, 145–154. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6385.2012.00671.x

Goh, J. N. (2011). Balanced genitals: YouTube confessional disclosures and signposts for Malaysian gay theologies. Theology & Sexuality, 17, 279–295. doi: 10.1179/tas.17.3.y521585055787g78

Book Chapters

Goh, J. N. (2020). Manang bali, indecent interweavings and healing spaces in contemporary Malaysian trans and queer theo-pastoralities. In L. Isherwood & H. C. Quero (Eds.), The indecent theologies of Marcella Althaus-Reid: Voices from Asia and Latin America (pp. 72-93). New York: Routledge.

Goh, J. N. (2020). Looking queerly through the heart: Towards a Southeast Asian praxis of doing church with LGBTIQ/PLHIV. In J. N. Goh, S. A. Bong, & T. Kananatu (Eds.), Gender and sexuality justice in Asia: Finding resolutions through conflicts (pp. 185–201). Singapore: Springer.

Goh, J. N. (2020). Afterword: Erotic dreams, theology, and the word-(re)made-flesh. In R. E. Shore-Goss & J. N. Goh (Eds.), Unlocking orthodoxies for inclusive theologies: Queer alternatives (pp. 233–242). New York: Routledge.

Goh, J. N. (2020). Songsang, confessions, and theologizings of divine lavishness. In R. E. Shore-Goss & J. N. Goh (Eds.), Unlocking orthodoxies for inclusive theologies: Queer alternatives (pp. 51–69). New York: Routledge.

Goh, J. N. (2019). Practical guidelines for SOGIESC theologising in Southeast Asia: Foregrounding gender nonconformity, sexual diversity and non-dyadic embodiment. In S. Suleeman & A. D. Udampoh (Eds.), Siapakah sesamaku? Pergumulan teologi dengan isu-isu keadilan gender (pp. 185–210). Jakarta, Indonesia: Sekolah Tinggi Filsafat Theologi Jakarta.

Goh, J. N. (2019). Queer political scrutinies and other ruminations: Methodologies, methods and complexities in qualitative research among non-heteronormative men in Malaysia. In B. Aleaz & P. P. Basu (Eds.), Revisiting qualitative methods in social science research (pp. 110–135). Hyderabad, India: Orient Blackswan Private Limited.

Lee, J. C. H., Goh, J. N., Landau-Ward, A. R., Sutcliffe, R. J. (2018). Partial Kuala Lumpur: Ethnicity, class, sexuality, and protest. In T. Bunnell & D. P. S. Goh (Eds.), Urban Asias: Essays on futurity past and present (pp. 219-231). Berlin, Germany: JOVIS Publishers.

Córdova Quero, H., & Goh, J. N. (2018). More than a divine ménage à trois: Friendship, polyamory and the doctrine of the Trinity. In L. Isherwood & D. von der Horst (Eds.), Contemporary theological approaches to sexuality (pp. 289–312). London: Routledge

Goh, J. N. (2017). Realising a true family of God. In P. Kuruvilla (Ed.), Christian responses to issues of human sexuality and gender diversity: A guide to the churches in India (pp. 44–48). New Delhi & Nagpur, India: ISPCK/NCCI.

Goh, J. N. (2016). Close encounters of the authentic kind: Exploring the meaning-making of love, sex and intimacy among gay-identifying Malaysian men. In J. C. H. Lee & M. Ferrarese (Eds.), Punks, monks and politics: Authenticity in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia (pp. 47–64). London: Rowman & Littlefield International.

Goh, J. N. (2016). ‘Why is It wrong?’: Conceptualisations of sexual wrongdoing and sexual ethics among gay-identifying Malaysian men. In Y. S. L. Chan, J. F. Keenan, & S. G. Kochuthara (Eds.), Doing Asian theological ethics in a cross-cultural and an interreligious context (pp. 347–360). Bengaluru, India: Dharmaram Publications.

Ferrarese, M., Goh, J. N., Lee, J. C. H., & Lim, C. (2015). Identity formations in contemporary Malaysia: Traversing and transcending ethnicity. In J. Chin & J. Dosch (Eds.), Malaysia post-Mahathir: A decade of change? (pp. 41–69). Singapore: Marshall Cavendish.

Goh, J. N. (2015). Peculiar politics in Malaysia: A queer perspective on non-heteronormative Malay-Muslim men. In J. E. Cox & J. Grzelinska (Eds.), Ways of queering, ways of seeing (pp. 3–33). Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

Campos, M. S., Córdova Quero, H., Goh, J. N., Leung, E., Siew, M., & Yip, L. (2014). Desire, nation and faith: A roundtable among Emerging Queer Asian/Pacific Islander Religion Scholars (EQARS). In H. Córdova Quero, J. N. Goh, & M. S. Campos (Eds.), Queering migrations towards, from, and beyond Asia(pp. 61–74). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Córdova Quero, H., Goh, J. N., & Campos, M. S. (2014). Introduction: Trans/pacific affairs: Queer-journeyers in search of new liaisons. In H. Córdova Quero, J. N. Goh, & M. S. Campos (Eds.), Queering migrations towards, from, and beyond Asia (pp. 1–18). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Goh, J. N. (2014). Transgressive empowerment: Queering the spiritualities of the mak nyahs of PT Foundation. In H. Córdova Quero, J. N. Goh, & M. S. Campos (Eds.), Queering migrations towards, from, and beyond Asia (pp. 123–137). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

(N.B.: The Spanish version of this chapter appears as 'Facultamiento transgresivo: Queerificando las espiritualidades de las mak nyahs de la Fundación PT en Kuala Lumpur, Malasia')

Goh, J. N. (2013). Malaysian masculine exposé: Queering the politics of non-heteronormative Malay-Muslim men. In V. Fraser (Ed.), Queer sexualities: Diversifying queer, queering diversity (E-Book, pp. 15–30). Oxford, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press.

(N.B.: A fuller version of 'Malaysian masculine exposé' now appears as 'Peculiar politics in Malaysia'. See above)

Goh, J. N. (2012). The homosexual threat: Appraising masculinities and men’s sexualities in Malaysia. In J. Hopkins & J. C. H. Lee (Eds.), Thinking through Malaysia: Culture and identity in the 21st century (pp. 167–186). Selangor, Malaysia: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre.

Goh, J. N. (2012). Online nomads: Queer theology responds to online intercultural homoerotic pursuits in Malaysia. In F. Dervin (Ed.), Relations intimes interculturelles (pp. 95–113). Paris, France: Éditions des Archives Contemporaines.

Encyclopaedia Entry

Goh, J. N. (2016). Our Lady of Subang Jaya. In Miracles: An Encyclopedia of People, Places, and Supernatural Events from Antiquity to the Present (pp. 312-314). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Other Works (selected)

Luhur, W., Brown, T. N. T., & Goh, J. N. (2020). Public Opinion of Transgender Rights in Malaysia. The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, Los Angeles, CA.

Goh, J. N. 'Losing a Life Partner: A Malaysian Gay Christian Man Reflects'. Queer Lapis. 24th December 2018.

Goh, J. N. 'A Divinely-Inspired Gender: The Manang Bali Shamans of Sarawak'. Queer Lapis. 1st April 2018.

Goh, J. N. (2016). Christianity, Sexual Diversity and Access to Health Services. Bangkok, Thailand: APCOM.

Goh, J. N. (2014). ‘Report from Jakarta: the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia’. AACRE. 12th May 2014.

Goh, J. N. (2014) ‘Amplify 2014: All-Asia Open and Affirming Church and Life Conference in Singapore’. 6th October 2014.