Celebrating Buddhism’s Inclusivity

1 week ago


In honor of Pride Month, here is a collection of articles from Tricycle’s archives that celebrate strides toward equality.

By Wendy Biddlecombe Agsar and Tricycle Jun 09, 2024
Celebrating Buddhism’s Inclusivity Photo by yosoynuts | https://tricy.cl/2sGjM7x

Every June, the LGBTQ community and allies around the world celebrate Pride Month. The tradition has grown out of the June 1969 rebellion that ignited the gay rights movement, when gay clubgoers in New York City’s Greenwich Village retaliated against police officers who raided the Stonewall Inn.

Although there have been great strides toward equality in recent years, the work is far from finished, including within the Buddhist world.

In solidarity, here are 12 articles from the Tricycle archives that highlight and share the stories of queer Buddhists across history.

‘This Monk Wears Heels’: An Interview with Kodo Nishimura
The Buddhist monk, makeup artist, and LGBTQ activist shares his journey to self-acceptance in his memoir, This Monk Wears Heels: Be Who You Are, which was recently translated to English.

In the Cabin of the Crazy One
Diana Goetsch, a poet, essayist, and Vajrayana practitioner, recounts her late-in-life gender transition while on a 12-day solo meditation retreat.

A Gender-Diverse Sangha
How Kevin Manders’s groundbreaking anthology, Transcending: Trans Buddhist Voices, created a community for trans, genderqueer, and nonbinary Buddhists.

Hair Hair
A transfemme theater artist and educator reflects on a crucial—if unexpectedly painful—moment of autonomy after getting hair extensions.

Tenzin Mariko: Tibetan Trailblazer
A former monk gains renown as one of the first openly transgender people in the Tibetan community, opening the door to acceptance.

Coming Out Whole
Caitriona Reed, the first openly transgender Buddhist teacher, came out as a “woman of transgender experience” in an article from Inquiring Mind in 1998. Read the article from Inquiring Mind’s archives.

A Transgender Buddhist Trailblazer 20+ Years Later
Over 20 years after the publication of Reed’s article, she speaks with Tricycle about what has changed.

We’re Queer and We’ve Been Here
Dr. Jay Michaelson shares four examples that demonstrate the breadth of queer experience throughout Buddhism, from its history of gay monks and homoerotic samurai to gender-nonconforming practitioners and gods.

Working Through the Strong Emotions of Sexual Identity
On a 40-day meditation retreat, dharma teacher and LGBTQ activist Jay Michaelson came to the shocking realization that, deep down, he would change his orientation if he could.

Becoming Jivaka
How Lobzang Jivaka, a transgender man, shed his English identity and found (some) solace as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in India.

A Big Gay History of Same-sex Marriage in the Sangha
Buddhist same-sex marriage was born in the US. American Buddhists have been performing same-sex marriages for more than 40 years without fanfare. 

Street Zen
How the drag performer Issan Dorsey became a Zen master and caretaker for gay men living with HIV/AIDS.

My Foxy Body
A Zen practitioner on engaging with trans identity through the teachings of the Buddha.

A Sangha of One
A queer poet explores the highs and lows of developing a solitary practice in a new city.

Finding the Juicy and Joyful in Celibacy
In an excerpt from their book, Healing Our Way Home, three Black Buddhist teachers discuss celibacy and asexuality as often overlooked areas to develop collectedness and pleasure.

[This article was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to reflect more offerings.]

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Original Article