Discrimination against Trans people in the Sangha

Well, yes of course. Shouldn’t suffering in any form being the only qualifier for inclusion into a sangha?

A place of unconditional love and support in recognition of our mutual suffering…regardless of its nature. I like this definition:
“Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, has described sangha as a “beloved community.” [ref name=wu]”What Is a Sangha?” Wake Up. https://wkup.org/what-is-a-sangha/.[/ref] Whether the sangha is a family or larger community, it includes people who are engaged in serving and bringing joy to one another, and who inspire each other to contribute. Hanh stresses the contribution of every individual to the community, and of the community to the greater world. [backref name=wu]”

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Rosie, I am glad that you have found refuge here, and of course, Bhante Sujato’s comments express the Metta and compassion that all of us should feel and express. I think sangha can be a lot of things and there are thousands or millions that support you and would be happy to share sangha with you. The task for Buddhists is that we are a very small minority in most of the US. Finding a good sangha can be a challenge. I still remember landing at O’Hare airport after a great trip to Buddhist Thailand (nevermind the Thai cultural respect for trans people :)…I’m a straight farang but my favorite Loi Kroh cafe is run by a Thai trans lady who is so whip smart and whip humorous, and makes each visit a great sunny/funny afternoon ), and feeling quite alone as a Buddhist here in Billy Graham Center country, with the multiple evangelical church parking lots filled with cars.

So, sangha can mean different things these days. Gracias, D&D. I am glad that in seeking refuge here, you have found refuge and welcoming. This was an awesome thread to read today.


No one can deny your participation in a sangha, because the sangha is your connection to Buddhism in the social plane. If it’s not helping you practice Buddhism, it’s not a sangha. A sangha is not just any community of people who talk about Buddhism.

Quite frankly, I’ve often practiced Buddhism alone. Sometimes the only “sangha” I had was deer and birds and stars and clouds. And what’s wrong with that really? The Buddha himself probably had a deer sangha at one point or another. And they don’t discriminate! If you’ve got shade, they’ll sit right there. (Yes, they don’t have the same potential for enlightenment as us… But I still think we can consider them dhamma friends.) I think, in your case, the Buddha would have no problem with this message. Remember where it says in the Dhammapada “Better to roam alone than to have bad company”?

So don’t get all sad and stuff.


Ah…my friend, you made me smile and thus lifted my heart. I live in Mormon Country like a stranger in a strange land.
BTW, I had SRS in Bangkok, and never felt as isolated there as I do here. It is a lovely place. Thanks for the memories.

Okay, I will roam alone [physically], and try not to get all sad and stuff. :smiley: I loved that quote when I read it, but I forgot. Thanks for the reminder. I was only trying to honor the Triple Jewels as a good Buddhist, but it would appear that this is my sangha, and it is good enough for this solitary seeker.

From now on I seek the counsel of squirrels and coyotes. Their medicine is strong as well.
Love the picture. Thank you


Are transsexuals allowed to be monks/nuns into the Sangha?

In general, I don’t think so. Bearing in mind that the following references pertain to Buddhist society, and not the Buddha’s words…

The subject remains controversial, as does my existence. I would also refer you to this deep and insightful comment:

And this one:


Probably you have to delve deeper ,
Say if a monk kill a person according to vinaya he must leave the sangha , would you consider it discrimination also ?

Do you know why Buddha didn’t allow the deformed to join sangha ? Too old , mentally ill are those in the list .
Dhamma is universal but not the sangha .

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All of my expectations are mental constructs.

Sounds like breaking a law, not discrimination.

I did not know that. But your statement renders that part of the Triple Jewel more confusing than a mere refuge. But I believe I was hoping for aiming for an enhanced humanistic way of constructing a sangha which serves as many people as possible, thereby reducing suffering in general. But again WTF do I know?
With Metta

What I am suggesting is understand more dhamma and vinaya . Don’t be too rushing forming your own opinion . Give your self some longer time to investigate further .
example , say if you are born blind and deaf , would it be fair for other parents to look after you or your own parents ?
Therefore , taking this as an example and guidance , why sangha were not meant for everyone without differentiation !
So , differentiate not discriminate !


This is an excellent point. Not directly related to Rosies current example, but relevant in any case. Difference exists, and it is important not to pretend that it doesn’t, and to be slow in making judgments about other peoples’ motivations.

The other point is about expectations :slight_smile: Expectations have caused a large percentage of the sufffering in my own life :slight_smile:

Bold is mine

This is a pretty high expectation :slight_smile: Unfortunately, the nature of samsara is such that this is not likely to be on offer very much at all. Apart from a very special few individuals, I’ve found acceptance, let alone love and support, are very conditional !

As Ajahn Brahm says pretty often - expect less and be disappointed less!
These expectations are part of our own conditioned beliefs about what things should be like… Eg the whole Disneyland, Princess lives happily ever-after thing is just designed to increase suffering by fostering completely delusional beliefs > expectations :rofl: This is Samsara… a big pile of :poop: Hence the only non-delusional response to it is to want to leave it behind!! :smiley:

In the mean-time, one attempts to seek out less :poop :'y circumstances in order to make this place more endurable.

@Rosie, I’m really sorry you have been hurt by this latest interaction in trying to find a sangha, where you feel comfortable. But there are little glimmers here and there, and appreciation of how special and rare they are is a cause for happiness. In the mean time, keep looking and take on board the range of strategies you may have to use, to start participating quietly, so that individuals get to know you first, before you test their ability to unconditionally accept everything about you :slight_smile:
With metta :anjal: :dharmawheel:


Thanks, Gene. No doubt I have work to do.

Thank you, Viveka, and I confess to having a newbie sense of expectation. But I would also say that it was not me who set the bar, but Jesus…I mean Buddha. So does Samsara render sangha more of a club where people of like minds and variable intentions get together to say some stuff about Buddha? If a sangha is more about people’s current, or prevalent societal attitudes than the Dhamma then it seems useless in terms of spiritual growth.

Now THAT’S funny. And it reminds me of this poopy treasure:

Honestly, having been denied admittance/or rejected from almost every group I ever attempted to join, I naively thought, "Well, since I am a Buddhist everyone will understand that our personalities-including gender-will be regarded as constructed. And based on that those Buddhist people will embrace me as just another being wandering the planet in search of deeper meaning.
Indeed now that I think about it with your help, I see that even the sangha is part of this illusion. Mara in the Sangha…who knew?

Thanks so much, but now I know that I have set myself up for rejection as it has been my habitue for so long. Perhaps I have embraced my own rejection as my own pile of shit. Henceforth I will try not to crave inclusion.
Now I need to find that sutta about walking alone. I am good with that.

With Loving appreciation for all of your kind words!


For self acceptance the way forward is to begin to unravel the internal and external ‘tangles’ as they relate to you, as mentioned in another topic!

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I don’t know if you meant this, but when you use “also” like that, it is implying that discrimination against people who kill other people and discrimination against trans people are equivalent and comparable.

For instance, discrimination against murderers might be more warranted than discrimination against people who conceive of themselves differently, dress differently, present their gender differently, what have you. A murderer has murdered. Has a trans person necessarily murdered? It’s defying an expectation or norm of gender equivalent to murder?

But that is not necessarily what you meant by “also” in that way.


@Rosie, but please don’t be too hard on yourself. You deserve inclusion, and any truly Buddhist sangha worth it’s salt will welcome you unconditionally. You deserve that, frankly, and don’t accept that you need to be alone in all of this. Don’t just look for “a” sangha, but find a wise and kind one. All of us have bounced around looking for the right fit…I’ve ended up all the way in Thailand just to find temples, teachers and people that I trust and respect. I’d have gone straight to Perth/Serpentine (still on my agenda) , had I not ended up addicted to Chiang Mai, Wat Umong, Shan Hill Tribe friends, and some great Thai and farang friends there…my point being, it takes a bit of work to find the right mojo in all of this. But, I’m convinced it’s out there for you, and so keep on researching and visiting if you can, and you’ll find the right group.


Dearest Rosie, you’ll be happy to know that right now an outspoken intersex person is an anagarika in training to ordain in a certain Theravada community in the USA. I won’t name names here but will message the details to you privately. My bhikkhuni friends and I have discussed the topic at length, and agree we must treat trans women as women in following our Vinaya rules of male/female association; I think that’s becoming the norm at least among Western female monastics.

On this site you’ll get a mix of opinions on every topic, some friendly, some not. You belong here! Don’t seek permission and acceptance, but cooly claim your right. Same goes with any Buddhist group.

About your local Buddhist group, I’m afraid you may’ve set up the contact person for failure. Anticipating potential rejection, you hastened it, and we can only speculate now whether it was inevitable. It’s understandable that you tried to protect yourself, but next time just cheerfully show up and require them to be decent people.


By the way, I held a special beginner’s meditation class specially for transfolks, in a quiet back room of a restaurant, calling it “Mindful T’s & Q’s”. There was strong participation, about a dozen people, which seemed particularly good given the poor last-minute advertising we did for it (a chronic issue for my teachings). But the group was pretty much unanimous in expressing that they’d prefer to be assimilated into regular programs, with a clear welcome. I haven’t quite figured out how to make that welcome message clear.


do differentiate , not discriminate . Black ain’t red . As I said , learning dhamma together with vinaya .
Dhamma is universal . Vinaya on the other hand not .

What do you mean? What is the black and what is the red?

Oh dear , red and black as it appears to the eyes . But , when the mind said red is better than black that is another thing .
Perhaps you could help answer this , do you think the Buddha being discrimanatory when He didn’t allow the physically or mentally deformed or disabled to join sangha/ monastic ?

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Thanks, I really do appreciate you saying that for it is also part of my ‘flawed’ expectation.

Good advice, but probably not gonna happen here in the rural southwest, but thanks for your support.

Thanks for the update. That IS a good thing, and does give me some encouragement though that attitude may take a while to percolate?

Thanks, and I really appreciate that inclusive attitude especially since for the longest time I have not felt that I ‘belong’ anywhere.

I’m sure from one perspective your view is correct. On the other hand, I was offering a situational opportunity for that person to demonstrate unconditional compassion which I had hitherto perceived as the right view.

Yes , the question has been discussed elsewhere, but if mentioned here by someone else it was incidental to this thread.
Thanks for your support, seriously!