How does Buddhism view LGBTQ people?

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

Illustration by Nolan Pelletier.

One of the (many) differences between Buddhism and other religions is the low importance it places on sexuality as a moral issue. While other religions place the rules on sexual behavior, marriage, and sexual orientation at the center of their ethical universe, Buddhism roughly limits its comment to the warning not to harm others through sexuality. (This is for lay practitioners, of course. Obviously, there are strict rules for celibate monks.) The result is that Buddhist attitudes towards LGBTQ people reflect cultural attitudes more 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 towards LGBTQ members. There are prominent gay and lesbian teachers, and most large communities hold events, meditations, and retreats specifically for LGBTQ practitioners. Here at lionsroar.com, you will find teachings, articles and resources for and by LGBTQ Buddhists on our LGBTQ tag.