Media Releases

Monasteries and Groups

  • Rainbow Sangha Network: Affiliated with the European Buddhist Union, helps connect Queer/LGBT+ Buddhists, friends and allies (in Europe and beyond) and want to share news & information about Buddhism. European Buddhist Union Website Rainbow Sangha Facebook Page Rainbow Sangha Facebook Group
  • Brazil Rainbow Sangha: a non sectarian group promoting LGBTQIA+ representation in Buddhism through talks, activities and advocacy, connecting with the broader LGBTQIA community and other religious traditions. Rainbow Sangha Brazil website Rainbow Sangha Brazil facebook Rainbow Sangha Brazil youtube
  • Buddhismus unter dem Regenbogen, Germany, a group of Buddhist practitioners from different traditions in Germany, practising in an online Sangha and organising regional meetings. Website
  • East Bay Meditation Centre, California USA: Founded to provide a welcoming environment for people of colour, members of the LGBTQI community, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented communities, the East Bay Meditation Center welcomes everyone seeking to end suffering and cultivate happiness. Website
  • International Trans Buddhist Sangha: A network for transgender Buddhists, transgenders who are interest in Buddhism, transgender friendly Buddhist and people who are interest in transgender and Buddhism. ITBS website ITBS Facebook Page ITBS Facebook Group
  • Paris Plum Village LGBTIQ Sangha, Paris, France: a mindfulness group for LGBTIQ+ people interested in the Plum Village tradition founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Website
  • Rainbow Sangha Ireland (Plum Village Tradition) contact
  • Rainbow Sangha UK (Plum Village Tradition) contact Vicki:
  • Chrysanthemum Sangha USA (Plum Village Tradition) contact:
  • Gay Buddhist Fellowship, London, UK: a non-sectarian Sangha where gay men can meditate together and where existential and spiritual challenges related to sexual orientation can be shared in a friendly, non-judgemental environment. Website
  • Gay Buddhist Fellowship, San Francisco, USA: a non-denominational forum for Buddhist practice in the LGBTQ community, cultivating a social environment that is inclusive and caring. Website
  • San Francisco Zen Centre Queer Dhamma, USA, an affinity group running for over ten years, welcoming everyone. Website
  • TransBuddhists a collective of Buddhist practitioners from different traditions who seek to address systemic exclusion of transgender and gender nonconforming people from Buddhist spaces. Website


  • Developing Trans* Competence: A Short Guide to Improving Transgender Experiences at Meditation and Retreat. By Anonymous. A hand-drawn booklet offering advice on how to make Buddhist spaces safer, more just, and more accessible to trans* practitioners. Read more here.
  • Buddhism, Sexuality, and Genderedited by Jose Ignacio Cabezon. This anthology explores historical, textual, and social questions relating to the position and experience of women and gay people in the Buddhist world from India and Tibet to Sri Lanka, China, and Japan. It focuses on four key areas: Buddhist history, contemporary culture, Buddhist symbols, and homosexuality, and it covers Buddhism’s entire history, from its origins to the present day. (NB slightly dated, published 1992) Read more here.
  • Out of the Ordinary by Michael Dillon, (Lobzang Jivaka). The fascinating story of the first transgender man, Michael Dillon, who, after discovering Buddhism, was also the first westerner to be ordained in the Tibetan tradition when he became a monk named Lobznag Jivaka in 1960. His autobiography was published posthumously in 2017. Read more here.
  • My Buddha Is Pink, by Richard Harrold.A collection of essays designed to help gay practitioners follow the Buddha’s path without getting lost in dogma. A fun and lighthearted look at being a happy and healthy modern gay Buddhist in an environment where homophobia remains an issue. Read more here.
  • Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan, by Gary Leupp. Combing through popular fiction, law codes, religious works, medical treatises, biographical material, and artistic treatments, Leupp traces the origins of pre-Tokugawa homosexual traditions among monks and samurai. Read more here.
  • Queer Dhamma: Voices of Gay Buddhists, Volume 1, edited by Winston Leyard. A pioneering book from 1998, featuring35 writers who talk about integrate being gay and their spirituality as Buddhists. Read more here.
  • Queer Dhamma: Voices of Gay Buddhists, Volume 2, edited by Winston Leyland. In this second volume gay men write in depth about how they have integrated their sexuality and spirituality via Buddhist practice. This book is focused on Buddhist practice and gay male sexuality/relationships in ten long personal accounts. Read more here.
  • Transcending; Trans Buddhist Voices, edited by Kevin Manders, Elizabeth Marston, an anthology of trans* Bhuddhist writers from around the world talk about their experiences. Read more here.
  • Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger, by Lama Rod Owens. Through the lens of mindfulness and compassion-based practices, black queer teacher, Lama Rod Owens, shows how the power of raging at injustice can be transformed into a force of healing. Read more here.
  • Resting into Stillness, by Martin Jamyang Tenphel and Pema Düddul, a queer couple and co-directors of Jalu Meditation Centre present a collection of short pieces about the heart of the Buddhist path and especially about meditation and compassion. Read more here.
  • Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, by Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Lama Rod Owens and Jasmine Syedullah Ph.D. outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening and demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked. Read more here.
  • Awakening Together, by Larry Yang explores how we can embrace diverse identities and experiences within our spiritual communities, building sanghas that make good on the promise of liberation for everyone. Read more
  • A Queer Dharma: Yoga and Meditations for Liberation, by Jacoby Ballard provides an empowering and affirming guide to embodied healing through yoga and the dharma, grounded in the brilliance, resilience, and lived experiences of queer folks. Read more


  • Alexander Berzin, scholar and translator has written several thought provoking articles on sexuality and ethics in Buddhism: Buddhist Sexual Ethics: An Historical PerspectiveBuddhist Sexual Ethics: Main IssuesBuddhist & Western Views on Sex.
  • Ray BucknerSee Us Clearly: A Buddhist’s View of Transgender Visibility. Buckner, a gender queer and trans Buddhist author talks about trans visibility and unique possibilities for liberation. Read more here.
  • Ray Buckner discusses the important work Buddhist need to do to create welcoming spaces for gender diverse people in their article Our Opportunity to Include All Genders in Buddhist Communities. Read more here.
  • José Ignacio Cabezón, Thinking through Texts: Toward a Critical Buddhist Theology of Sexuality. Cabazón, a gay Buddhist academic and writer on contemporary western Buddhist approaches to sexuality with the Buddhist textual tradition. Read more here.
  • José Ignacio Cabezón, Revisiting the Traditional Buddhist Views on Sex and Sexuality. Gay Buddhist scholar and author, Cabezón challenges us not to dismiss traditional Buddhist views on sexuality but rather to critically examine them, beginning with the study of sexual ethics in Buddhist texts. Read more here.
  • Bhante Shravasti Dhammika, Buddhism and LGBT Issues. A thorough overview of Buddhist views on sex and relationships from an early Buddhist perspective. Read more here.
  • Michael DillionBecoming Jivaka:, a Transgender man and Aspiring Buddhist Monk (Tricycle 2007). Tells the fascinating story of the first transgender man, Michael Dillon, who, after discovering Buddhism, was also the first westerner to be ordained in the Tibetan tradition when he became a monk named Lobznag Jivaka in 1960. Read more here.
  • Janet Gyatso, One Plus One Makes Three: Buddhist Gender, Monasticism, and the Law of the Non-excluded Middle, a scholarly article examining women and gender in Buddhism, as well as gender diverse people in early Buddhism. Read more here.
  • Richard Harrold, Call Us By Our Chosen Name. Gay author and blogger discusses homophobia and intersectional oppression in Buddhist communities.Read more here.
  • Richard Harrold, My Buddha is Pink, Interview with Tricycle Magazine. Gay Buddhist author and blogger discusses his journey into Buddhism and why he writes a blog about being a gay Buddhist Read the interview here and check out the My Buddha is Pink blog.
  • Andrew Holecek, Narayan Helen Liebenson and Sallie Jiko Tisdale, three cis Buddhist teachers answer a reader’s question: Does my transgender identity conflict with Buddhism’s teachings on no-self? Read more here.
  • Jay Michaelson, We’re Queer And We’ve Been Here: Rediscovering Buddhism’s LGBT history of gay monks, homoerotic samurai, and gender-nonconforming practitioners and gods. An overview of the mixed history of acceptance and discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people in Buddhism. Read more here.
  • Josephine NolanTibetan Buddhist Views on LGBTQI. An overview of different teacher’s views on LGBTQI issues including marriage equality. Read more here.
  • Ajahn Punnadhammo, Same sex Marriage, a monk from Arrow River Hermitage, USA, writes about marriage equality, saying there is no reason why not, and asks what is “all the fuss about?” Read more here.
  • A. L. De Silva, Homosexuality and Theravada Buddhism looks at early Buddhist attitudes and advances several rebuttals to common contemporary anti-gay positions. Read more here.
  • Justin SimenEmpathizing With Haters. Black queer Buddhist and the creator of “Dear White People” talks about race, empathy and his Buddhist practice in this interview from 2017. Read more here.
  • Bhante Sujato, Why Buddhists Should Support Marriage Equality. A rebuttal of common arguments against marriage equality and an examination of historical Buddhist teachings on sex and relationships in different Buddhist traditions. Read more here.
  • Thay Thong PhapWho Am I Deepest Down? Read Thay’s notes for his deeply personal Rainbodhi talk about identity here.
  • Michael Vermeulen, The Rise of Rainbow Dharma: Buddhism on sexual diversity and same-sex marriage. An article for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religions and sexuality. Read more here.
  • Michael VermeulenMeditating under the rainbow: why queer dharma can refresh and transform your practice. An overview of queer Buddhist practice in San Francisco’s castro district in the 1980’s and its links to queer theory. Read more here.
  • Michael VermeulenThe Buddhist pioneers of same-sex marriage in the West: a little-known history of compassion in action. Looks at the early same-sex marriages for Buddhists around the world and the concepts of LGBTQIA+ people in early Buddhist texts. Read more here.
  • Kobai Scott WhitneyThe Lone Mountain Path: The Example of Issan Dorsey. A fascinating account of Issan Dorsey. An eccentric and anti-establishment queer zen teacher and practitioner living in San Francisco during the AIDS epidemic. Read more here.
  • Jef WilsonAll Beings Are Equally Embraced By Amida Buddha: Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and Same-Sex Marriage in the United States. Ministers in the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) began performing same-sex marriages in the 1970’s. These were among the first clergy-led religious ceremonies for same-sex couples performed in the modern era, and were apparently the first such marriages conducted in the history of Buddhism. Read more here.


Check out Rainbodhi’s youtube channel for videos from online talks with teachers including Brother Phap Hai, Bhante Akaliko, Bhante Sumano, Lama Rod Owens and much more!

Other Videos:

  • Bhante Akaliko talks about Rainbodhi and offers practical tips for individuals and organisations on how to be more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ people. Watch the video.
  • Panel Discussion with Ayya Yeshe, Bhante Akaliko and Lama Rod Owens from the Festival of Radical Awakening, talking about issues that affect the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as race, discrimination, power and privilege in contemporary Buddhism. Watch the video.
  • Panel Discussion: Pleasure and Danger; Faith, Sex and Sexuality, an online conference about the intersection of sexuality, spirituality and ethics: with Bhante Akaliko from Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community; Siobhan Irving from Sydney Queer Muslims; Des Perry from Pitt Street Uniting Church, and; Lóre Stevens a Unitarian Universalist and academic at the Harvard Divinity School. Watch the video.
  • Michelle McNamara, Buddhist and academic describes her experience of Buddhism as a trans woman and the importance of Buddhist teachings in her life. Watch the video.
  • Lama Rod Owens, a black poly-queer teacher from the USA talks about bringing Buddhist concepts into our sex life and practising non-harm. Listen to the talk.
  • Ajahn Brahm talks about marriage equality and how relationships can be part of the spiritual path. Watch the video.
  • Bee Scherer, scholar of Buddhism and queer theory, and leader of the Intersectional Centre for Inclusion and Social Justice (INCISE), Prof Scherer gives an overview of gender and sexuality in Buddhism. Watch the video.
  • Bhante Sumano discusses how LGBTQIA+ people can relate to the teachings of the Buddha, as well as how other Dharma practitioners can skillfully relate to LGBTQIA+ people. Watch the video
  • Venerable HaiAn and Lauren Barkume discuss LGBTQIA+ issues in the Plum Village tradition and broader society for the Making Visible webinar series. Watch the video
  • Anjelica Ross, trans rights activist, actress (you might recognize her as Candy from FX’s Pose) and founder of TransTech Social Enterprises, talks about how Buddhism has helped her in her personal and work life. Listen to the talk
  • Shining a Light of Wisdom on Patriarchy & Queerness - We gather to honour and celebrate LGBTQIA+ History month (UK) and Black History Month (USA) by shining a mindful light on patriarchy, its impact on Buddhism and especially, on our Queer, Trans and Non-Binary BIPOC/Global Majority family. Exploring how mindfulness and buddhism can free us from the shack-les of patriarchy towards healing, reconciliation and liberation.




The Trevor Project for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis. Trained counselors are available 24/7 on the TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The website also offers a chat and a text for help service. Text START to 678678 to start getting help.
Peer support hotline for trans people in crisis run by trans people at 1-877-565-8860. They’re available from 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.
Peer one-on-one chat and email support. Support related to coming out, relationship concerns, bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety, safer sex information or any other issues you are facing.