Venerable Tanaisawan George Chandha-dhammo, 28, was a medical student and part of Thailand’s cross-dressing underground before deciding to take ordination as a monk, and taking up practice in a southern forest monastery. In the lively program, the host provokes critical and accepting opinions from laypeople, fellow monks, and scholars about Ven. George being a monk. He also speaks with Ven. George himself at length. At one point, Ven. George asks rhetorically about the people in the village near his monastery, “Do they criticize?” He answers, “I practice and propagate the dhamma, so everyone pays respect.” When pressed later, he says, “Can you cease it in your mind? A gay is a gay. Let it be. I am what I am.” See part two of the five-part series after the jump.