The Dichotomy of Religion and Sexualities within ASEAN Member States

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Mark Peter Capaldi


Despite the ASEAN region being religiously diverse, those of differing sexualities have generally faced conservative interpretations of religious doctrines that cloak aspects of sexuality within a discourse of immorality and sin. Based upon an in-depth literature review of secondary data, this article focuses on the region’s principle religions (Islam, Buddhism and Christianity) and explores the generally polarising nature of their relationship with sexuality. By examining the constructions of sexuality within the region the paper illustrates how theology, legal frameworks and juridical corpuses have been used to justify the prohibition – and in some cases criminalization – of same-sex practices. Detailing how these structures, systems and patterns deprive LGBTQ persons from full enjoyment of their human rights it is shown how in many cases these may act as justification for various forms of discrimination, violence and abuse. The paper concludes by suggesting that theoretical frameworks for understanding such conflict can be researched and used to identify conflict resolution strategies that build upon religious values such as tolerance, compassion and nonviolence.

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Capaldi, M. P. (2020). The Dichotomy of Religion and Sexualities within ASEAN Member States. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 6(2), 311–340. Retrieved from
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