Triratna News

The “Triratna gender-diverse Buddhist group” on Facebook

On Sun, 14 June, 2015 - 00:38
Munisha's picture

Triratna has many Facebook pages, personal and collective. Padmavyuha (UK) writes with news about one of the newest, with already nearly 90 members.

The Triratna gender-diverse Buddhist Facebook group  is “open to anyone who experiences or identifies themselves as (for example) trans, intersex, genderqueer, gender-questioning or genderless. It’s open to our allies too; anyone who wants to support us better.”

Padmavyuha continues, “The Triratna community is a very nourishing environment for many women and men practising the Dharma, but not everybody experiences themselves simply as a woman or man; increasing numbers of (especially younger) people experience gender as something more broad and nebulous than just those two options. For those of us with a more diverse experience of gender, or who are transgender, or intersex, or consider themselves not gendered at all, it’s sometimes very difficult to feel a part of the Triratna community, since it’s set up chiefly to support women and men in their practice.

I’ve been ordained for 18 years, but four years ago I stopped kidding myself that I’d ever been male, and began a gender transition - a yet more complex path for me, because while I experience myself as female (hence my transition), I don’t experience myself as a woman or man; I am something that the gender model makes no sense of, so I consider myself non-gendered.

I wanted to create something alongside of, and complementary to, existing Triratna institutions, that would help make gender diverse people welcome and supported in ways we mostly aren’t yet. Discussions with Kamalanandi, Parami, and Vajratara led to founding the Triratna gender diverse Buddhist group on Facebook.

It’s a “closed” group - its content is only visible to its members; there’s also a “secret” group just for gender diverse people, for anyone who needs even their involvement to be completely invisible beyond the group.

Our purpose is to support each other and our practice as gender-diverse Buddhists. We also want to help inform and educate the wider Triratna community so it can better accommodate gender diversity, for example, to facilitate trans people attending single-sex retreats. We’ll be running gender diverse retreats soon, and hope to enable more understanding and integration of gender diversity into our broader institutions over time.

+Follow the Triratna gender-diverse Buddhist group on Facebook.

See also yesterday’s item on the Stockholm sangha’s LGBTQ retreat, exploring form and emptiness with regard to gender and sexual identity.

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shaunbartone's picture

It would be great if we could get a Trans/Gender Diverse group started here on The Buddhist Centre online. I don’t have a Facebook account right now, and I’d like to connect with this group as a trans person.

Munisha's picture

I’ll forward your suggestion to Padmavyuha.

Ljós's picture

An update for October 2016:

Back in November last year, we had our first  Gender Diverse Day at the LBC, which was a very good meeting, and which led to us having our first full weekend retreat at Adhisthana in May this year, which 20 people managed to get to (in spite of it being exam season). You can read more about that weekend here:

To date, between the two facebook groups we have well over 300 members from all around the world, of diverse ages, genders (or absence of genders), and experience of Triratna, with around a fifth of us in the order - all this includes a number of allies but is chiefly gender diverse people within Triratna (and one or two good friends from beyond our sangha too).

We’ll be holding another slightly longer weekend retreat next May, also at Adhisthana. We’ve been working closely with Munisha to produce some helpful guidelines for centres and retreat centres on how to be more welcoming and aware of gender diverse people in their sangha, and for the longer term, we’re slowly working towards having more ungendered paths into Triratna, the mitra system and study, and ordination, as an enhancement to the existing and valuable paths (whilst also encouraging these to become more inclusive of a diversity of people who identify as women or men). All this takes time to do well, but there’s a majority of very good will behind this development.