Purdue University Graduate School
Final_Thesis_Chelsy_Albertson.pdf (2.17 MB)

Cru'd: Lesbian Identity Tension in Campus Crusade for Christ

Download (2.17 MB)
posted on 2021-12-18, 22:20 authored by Chelsy AlbertsonChelsy Albertson

Identity tensions in religious organizations has become a popular research area in organizational communication within recent decades. This study endeavors to investigate lesbian identity tension within the evangelical, college-based organization Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) with the guiding research question: How do lesbian former members of Cru and former Cru staff discursively navigate identity tensions regarding homosexuality within the organization? Through surveys of six lesbian former members of Cru and eight former Cru staff, this essay demonstrates a nuanced perspective of identity tension between homosexuality and Christianity in the United States and highlights common themes from all participants: anxiety, frustration, fear, shame, and regret. Utilizing structuration theory and feminism as overarching theoretical frameworks to shape the discussion on sexuality, race, identity, and concertive control, the unique narratives of the participants’ surveys and interviews provide new insights on the struggles of LGBTQ individuals within the de facto anti-gay organization, Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). Interspersed throughout the work are autoethnographic vignettes from the author that serve as complementary narratives to demonstrate emotion as epistemology. This study provides a brand-new application of popular organizational communication theories to an underrepresented population (lesbians) in an understudied organization (Cru) to contribute to the ongoing research on identity tension in religious organizations.


Degree Type

  • Master of Arts


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Stacey Connaughton

Additional Committee Member 2

Yvonne Pitts

Additional Committee Member 3

James McDonald

Usage metrics



    Ref. manager