How does Buddhism view LGBTQ people?

As a gay man, I’d like to know how Buddhism views LGBTQ people. I’m not interested in joining any religion that disapproves of who I am.

Lion’s Roar
21 December 2016
Illustration by Nolan Pelletier.

One of the (many) differences between Buddhism and other religions is how little emphasis it places on sexuality as a moral issue. While other religions place rules about sexual behavior, marriage, and sexual orientation at the center of their ethical universe, Buddhism pretty much limits its comment to the admonition not to harm others through sexuality. (That’s for lay practitioners, of course. Obviously, there are strict rules for celibate monastics.) The result is that Buddhist attitudes toward LGBTQ people are more a reflection of cultural attitudes than Buddhist philosophy per se.

While traditional Buddhist societies are more conservative, the Buddhist community in the West is generally socially liberal and very welcoming to LGBTQ members. There are prominent gay and lesbian teachers, and most major communities host events, meditations, and retreats specifically for LGBTQ practitioners. Here, on lionsroar.com, you’ll find teachings, articles, and resources for and by LGBTQ Buddhists.

Lion's Roar

Lion’s Roar

Lion’s Roar is the website of Lion’s Roar magazine (formerly the Shambhala Sun) and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, with exclusive Buddhist news, teachings, art, and commentary. Sign up for the Lion’s Roar weekly newsletter and follow Lion’s Roar on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.