Dr Joseph N. Goh

Lecturer in Gender Studies

Email: joseph.goh@monash.edu
Telephone No: +603-5515 9650
Fax No:+603-5514 6365
Room No: 2-6-12


Ph.D. (Gender, Sexuality and Theology, Monash University, Malaysia)
S.T.L. (summa cum laude) (Systematic Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, USA)
Th.M. (Systematic Theology, Jesuit School of Theology, Santa Clara University, USA)


Born into a family of mixed ancestry in Sarawak, Malaysia, Joseph N. Goh’s formative years were marked by weekend picnics in the country, midnight masses, English novels and sophisti-pop singles. After a brief foray in teaching, he embarked on a full-time ecclesiastical career in 1993 that spanned almost two decades. In the process, he found himself schooled in philosophy, theology, and practical ministerial service among the Bidayûh and Iban people in rural and semi-rural areas.

In 2010, Goh earned two graduate degrees from the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in California, USA. The life lessons learned during this period were both cathartic and transformative. It was also during this time that his passion for academia, research and education was further fuelled. Nevertheless, eager to experience new forms of service, Goh ventured into non-governmental work and worked as an HIV Counselling and Testing Manager at the community-based organisation, PT Foundation. In 2012, he made the decision to embark on full-time doctoral studies. His research on masculinities and non-heteronormative sexualities in Malaysia culminated in a thesis entitled Piercing Transcendence: A Queer Theorising and Theologising of Non-Heteronormative Malaysian Men, for which he was awarded a doctoral degree in 2015. In 2016, he joined the School of Arts and Social Sciences as a lecturer in Gender Studies.

Goh is interested in issues of gender, sexuality and sexual health within the larger framework of human rights. As a theological activist, he enjoys writing on issues of religion and theology, particularly in their intersections with LGBTIQ subjectivities. Goh is a member of the international Emerging Queer Asian Pacific Islander Religion Scholars (EQARS) group, and sits on the editorial board of two online journals, Religión e Indicencia Pública and Conexión Queer: Revista Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Teologías Queer. He continues to be involved with various non-governmental, civil society and church-related organisations in and outside Malaysia on matters pertaining to gender variance and sexual diversity with hopes of contributing to social transformation in his country and beyond.

Research Areas and Interests 

Goh is interested in diverse issues of gender and sexuality, queer and LGBTI studies, human rights and sexual health issues, various theological and religious studies, and qualitative research. Goh is the author of Living Out Sexuality and Faith: Body Admissions of Malaysian Gay and Bisexual Men (Routledge, 2018), co-editor with Hugo Córdova Quero and Michael Sepidoza Campos of the edited volume Queering Migrations Towards, From, and Beyond Asia(Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), and with Pearl Wong for a special issue on Asian and Latin American queer theologies in the Asian Women’s Resource Centre’s publication, in God’s image (2015).

Current Writing Projects and Civil Society Engagement

Goh is currently working on various books, journal articles and book chapters on gay men, bisexual men and trans men in Malaysia. He continues to collaborate with, and provide academic input  and consultancy services to local and international community-based organisations and Christian organisations on issues related to gender, sexuality and theology.

ORCID ID: orcid.org/0000-0001-5442-6785


  • Goh, J. N. (2018). Living out sexuality and faith: Body admissions of Malaysian gay and bisexual men. London, UK: Routledge
  • Córdova Quero, H., Goh, J. N., & Campos, M. S. (Eds.). (2014). Queering migrations towards, from, and beyond Asia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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

  • 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. (2017). Navigating sexual honesty: A qualitative study of the meaning-making of pornography consumption among gay-identifying Malaysian men. Porn Studies4(4), 447–462. https://doi.org/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 Spirituality7(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). ‘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(4), 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(3), 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(2), 33–44.
  • Goh, J. N. (2012). The word was not made flesh: Theological reflections on the banning of Seksualiti Merdeka 2011. Dialog, 51(2), 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(3), 279–295. doi: 10.1179/tas.17.3.y521585055787g78

Book Chapters

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Goh, J. N. (2012a). 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.
  • Goh, J. N. (2012b). 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.

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)

  • Goh, J. N. (2018). Gender, Sexuality and ‘Songsang’: Freedom of Expression for LGBT Malaysians? Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, Young Academics Voice (22). Retrieved from https://kyotoreview.org/yav/gender-sexuality-songsang-freedom-of-expression-lgbt-malaysians/.
  • Goh, J. N. (2016). Christianity, Sexual Diversity and Access to Health Services. Bangkok, Thailand: APCOM. Retrieved from https://apcom.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/DiscussionPaper_Christianiy-2016.11.25.pdf
  • Goh, J. N. ‘Report from Jakarta: the International Consultation on Church and Homophobia’. AACRE. December 5, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2016. http://aacre.org/report-jakarta-international-consultation-church-homophobia/
  • Goh, J. N. ‘Amplify 2014: All-Asia Open and Affirming Church and Life Conference in Singapore’. Fridae.asia. October 6, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2016. http://www.fridae.asia/lifestyle/2014/10/06/12716.amplify-2014-all-asia-open-and-affirming-church-and-life-conference-in-singapore
  • Goh, J. N. (2014, February 11). ‘Trans*cending Tribulations’. New Mandala. February 1, 2014. Accessed December 27, 2016. http://www.newmandala.org/transcending-tribulations-malaysian-mak-nyahs/
  • Goh, J. N. (2013, August 1). Queering Malaysian Malay-Muslim cohesiveness. Malaysia Today. Retrieved from http://www.malaysia-today.net/queering-malaysian-malay-muslim-cohesiveness/
  • Goh, J. N. (2012, December 22). Bethlehem revisited - the sacred in the unfamiliar. Malaysiakini. Retrieved from http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/217261
  • Goh, J. N. (2012). Abuse of gender-variant people and religious justifications for trans-persecution. Queer Asian Spirit E-Zine, 1. Retrieved from http://www.queerasianspirit.org/110.html

Local Grants/International Grants

1) Title : Collaborative Learning in Informal Spaces: Barriers and Supports
Team: Drs Chan Chang Tik, Hue Seow Mun, Joseph N. Goh and Jasbir Kaur
Funding (Start year): 2019
Funding Body/Organisation : Education Excellence, Monash University Malaysia
Amount : RM 17,882

2)Title: Manang Bali: Revisiting the Socio-Cultural Significance of Gender-Variant Iban Shamans in Sarawak, Malaysia
Funding (Start year): 2017 (archival research)
Funding Body/Organisation : Internal Research Grant, Monash University Malaysia
Amount: RM1,500

3) Title : The Dis/Empowerment of Malaysian Transmen: Negotiations of Identity Construction, Socio-Political Interaction and Faith Engagement
Funding (Start year): 2016 (qualitative research)
Funding Body/Organisation : Internal Research Grant, Monash University Malaysia
Amount : RM 7,400

  1. ‘Malaysia: Sodomy, religion And courage’. Joy FM (June 15, 2017).
  2. Guest Presenter, 'Brief Historical Overview of Homosexuality and Christianity'. Identity, Diversity & Dialogue (IDD) – Human Sexuality and the Christian Faith, World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, May 5-9, 2017.
  3. 'Beauty and the Beast censorship attempt shows the good, the bad and the ugly of LGBT rights in Malaysia'The Conversation (March 29, 2017)
  4. 'It’s (not) a man’s world'. Campus Plus (June 2016), 28-31.
  5. 'Malaysians who condone Orlando massacre are sick'.  Free Malaysia Today (June 14, 2016)
  6. Consultant, 'Christianity, Sexual Diversity and Access to Health' international project, APCOM (Bangkok, Thailand), January - June 2016.
  7. Facilitator, 'Crossing Paths – Spiritual Resources for Queer/Trans Empowerment'. Dialogue Session with Leyla Jagiella, Cooler Lumpur Festival, September 11, 2016.
  8. Guest Presenter, “Gender, Sexuality and the Bible.” Seminar organised by the Student Christian Movement, Selangor, Malaysia, January 9, 2016.

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