Greenbelt Interfaith News
    U.S. Brief

    July 31, 1997

    Dalai Lama Opposes Discrimination Against Homosexuals During California Visit

    During a June 11 visit to San Francisco, the Dalai Lama met with representatives of the gay community in order to hear their views on Buddhism and sexuality. Representatives of the gay Buddhist community and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission asked for the meeting because they had been concerned by recent condemnations of homosexuality by the Dalai Lama. Traditional Buddhist teaching forbids male homosexual behavior.

    After the meeting, the Office of Tibet issued a press release saying that the Dalai Lama was "greatly concerned" by the representatives' reports of discrimination against gay people, and that the leader of Tibetan Buddhism "opposes violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation." The press release added that issues related to Buddhism and sexuality are "complex," and that the Dalai Lama welcomes the suggestion that these matters be studied further. Steve Peskind, a former Buddhist monk who is coordinator of the Buddhist AIDS Project, commented on the meeting, "This open, honest discussion of Buddhist traditional doctrine, with the participation of one of its most outstanding teachers, is 20th century Buddhism at its best."

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson