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To mark Pride week(end) around the world, and Friday’s landmark announcement that the US Supreme Court has declared conservative states’ opposition to same-sex marriage unconstitutional, you may have noticed that The Buddhist Centre Online’s logo has spontaneously developed a joyful rainbow background!
America’s historic news came just before the weekend on which many cities traditionally celebrate LGBTQ Pride, around the anniversary of New York’s Stonewall Riots of 28th June 1969; often seen as the birth of the modern gay rights movement. This very day 29th June 2015, sees the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships in Mozambique.
We thought it a good opportunity for a roundup of lesbian and gay, bisexual and transgender Buddhist news reports from TBCO’s first few years.
Most recently, we covered news of Triratna’s Stockholm sangha’s first LGBTQ retreat, on the theme of form and emptiness with regard to gender and sexual identity.
Interestingly, this came just as the new Triratna Gender Diverse Facebook group was attracting much support among those of us who do not necessarily identify as male or female, or question gender definitions.
Last year we covered Clear Vision film-maker Upekshapriya’s involvement in the hit film ‘Pride’, which tells the hilarious and moving story of an unlikely alliance between a group of young British lesbians and gay men and a group of striking coalminers in south Wales, in the time of Margaret Thatcher.
There’s also Vimalasara’s 2014 talk on the Third Precept, including issues LGBT people have to contend with with when reflecting on this precept.
A little further back, from 2011, we have Munisha’s public talk, Buddhism, Sexuality and Identity, given to mark Pride weekend in Manchester, UK, as well as Ratnaprapbha’s talk on Gender and Sexuality in Buddhism, given to the Stockholm sangha.
To finish, we have this 2008 talk on Patience, from the late Suvarnaprabha, given to the men of the San Francisco Gay Buddhist Fellowship just after the US election of 2008, in which the people of California had voted to outlaw gay marriage, reversing the then current law. Aptly, and movingly in the light of last Friday’s news, Suvarnaprabha looks at the ‘perfection of patience’, one of the training principles of the Bodhisattva. It remains relevant when we remember the 75 countries in which same-sex relationships are still criminalised (in 10 of which it can cost you your life), and those in which new anti-gay legislation is being introduced. There is also her 2012 talk to the same group, on Cancer and the Preciousness of Life.