Countering Illegibility: Religion, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Public Debates and Lived Experience in Belgium

Nella van den Brandt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


In this article, I set out to explore various intersectional social constructions of ethnicity, religion and sexuality. First, I conduct an analysis of recent public controversies in Flanders (Belgium) about women’s and (homo)sexual equality as set against religious authorities and religious-ethnic minorities. It reveals how dominant understandings of ethnicity, sexuality and religion are constructed, reinforced and, if needed, defended. Second, I foreground a critical counter-voice negotiating these what I call ‘ethno-sexular’ boundary constructions. I analyse the lived experiences of Hajar, a volunteer of an antiracist LGBTQI organisation located in Brussels, and argue that because of a dominant ethno-sexular discourse, Hajar’s hybrid identifications and critical voice is made illegible in much of her social environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-89
Number of pages28
JournalCulture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives
License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in
any way.


  • Religion-secularity
  • ethnicity
  • sexuality
  • public discourse
  • counter-voice


Dive into the research topics of 'Countering Illegibility: Religion, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Public Debates and Lived Experience in Belgium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this