Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


McClellan, Kate

Committee Member

Hoffman, David

Committee Member

Allison, Rachel

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Applied Anthropology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures


In the Middle East and in many majority Muslim nations, homosexuality, including homosexual acts, identities, desires, and discussions of those, is considered taboo. Utilizing a feminist theoretical orientation, this project examined the ways in which same-sex desiring women in Amman, Jordan view the concept of sexually desiring and its relationship to identities. It also examined the pressures placed on them to abide by and navigate familial and religious expectations that conflict with their sexuality. This project drew upon 15 interviews from Muslim and Christian women in Amman using semi-structured and unstructured interviews and participant observation. After analysis, it was concluded that the majority of informants believe in innate sexual desires and sexuality and that all people sexually desire in similar ways. It was also concluded that informants face more pressure from family than from religion, and therefore, find it easier to balance religious obligations than familial obligations with their sexuality.