It’s not surprising that lot of gay people are turned off by religion. Religion has been used against us for centuries. We’ve been burned by it, literally. That’s part of why I steered clear of it for so many years.
What I love about Buddhism though, especially American/Western Buddhism, is that there is none of that old discrimination. Our culture has gone through a tremendous surge of awakening over the past sixty years or so and the best realizations of that surge seem to have mixed themselves in with the mortar of our foundation.
When I was at the San Francisco Zen Center, the woman who held the door open for me was wearing a t-shirt that read: Zen Center Celebrates Diversity!
I loved that.
I talked with my friend Galen later, remarked how every Sangha I’ve ever been to has a proportional number of gay people in it.
“No,” he said. “I think there’s usually a lot more.”
He’s right. There are a lot of gay people who are drawn to these groups. I think this is because Buddhism at its core is about tolerance, acceptance and embracing absolutely everyone for who they are. It’s also a very empowering philosophy, something that attracts all of us who have been put down and disregarded for our whole lives.
That’s why the Sanghas in America are filled with gays, lesbians, women, people of color. They are as about as diverse as you can get.
And that is why I’m so glad to be here right now in this time and place.