From Rainbodhi’s recent Media Release:
Rainbow Buddhists Unite to Support Sydney’s Queer & Trans Communities*
Rainbodhi combines two words; "rainbow" representing our diverse LGBTQIA+ community and "bodhi" the Buddhist concept of Enlightenment.
On 29 November, Rainbodhi’s inaugural event will bring Sydney’s diverse queer and trans* Buddhist community together for the very first time, to develop spiritual friendships and share their experiences of being LGBTQIA+ Buddhists.
Speaking about the need for a Buddhist queer and trans* group, Buddhist monk and founder of Rainbodhi, Bhante Akāliko Bhikkhu said:
Spirituality is an intrinsic part of being human. It should be a source of connection and wisdom in our lives, rather than division and despair. Rainbodhi’s message is that it’s OK to be queer or gender diverse and also be a Buddhist. You don’t have to choose between these two parts of yourself.
We want our Rainbodhi community to know that they are welcomed, accepted and loved for who they are. Everyone deserves love and compassion; these are fundamental Buddhist values.
Regarding the concerns of the LGBTQIA+ community about the threat of increased discrimination and erosion of human rights due to the religious privilege debate currently going on in Australian politics, Bhante Akāliko commented:
One of the reasons for starting Rainbodhi is the negative impact of this debate. After enduring the painful public discussion for the marriage equality postal survey in 2017, we are genuinely concerned about our community’s well-being and loss of legal protections. A recent survey (Media Release: NEW SURVEY SHOWS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DEBATE TAKING HEAVY TOLL ON LGBTIQ AUSTRALIANS) by the advocacy group just.equal, showed that 62.2% of LGBTQIA+ people feel vulnerable and 78.4% don’t feel respected. We definitely don’t want to see any discrimination against LGBTQIA+ human rights in the name of religion.
No religion should preach hate or harm others. We need to let people know that it’s fine to be LGBTQIA+ and a spiritual person, a person of faith. There have always been queer and trans* people in religious life and it’s important for us to acknowledge that publically, with pride. Other religions in Sydney already have queer and gender diverse groups in their communities, such as Sydney Queer Muslims, and Dayenu, the Jewish LGBT+ group, so this is an opportune moment for Buddhism to recognise and celebrate the diversity of our community, too.
Speaking about Rainbodhi’s upcoming launch event, Bhante Akāliko said:
It’s an exciting occasion because our diverse queer and trans* Buddhist community can connect with each other and celebrate our spirituality together. There will be guided meditation, a panel discussion about spiritual self-care, and the announcement of a fundraiser for an international LGBTQIA rights group that we are supporting. We’re also planning fun, interactive workshops for attendees to help us shape Rainbodhi’s future.
We offer meditation and Dhamma discussion in a safe, supportive environment. Come along to chill out, hear authentic Buddhist teachings and develop spiritual friendships with like-minded people.
We are non-sectarian and welcome everyone regardless of gender, sexuality or faith. All our events are free
Rainbodhi’s launch event in Sydney:
Friday 29 November 2019
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Erskineville Town Hall
104 Erskineville Road
Erskineville, NSW 2043
Get your free ticket now!
PS. Please keep comments respectful and supportive. Thanks!