Welcoming The Rainbow: A Guide to LGBTQIA+ Inclusion for Buddhists

GiveOUT Day 2020: Rainbodhi Fundraiser

Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community is participating in GiveOUT Day 2020, Friday 16th October, a day of philanthropy for LGBTQIA+ community projects. Rainbodhi is raising funds to produce a booklet promoting more inclusion and diversity for LGBTQIA+ Buddhists in temples, organisations and retreat centres across Australia. This resource aims to introduce basic LGBTQIA+ terminology and concepts, as well as explain practical steps Buddhist organisations can take to become more welcoming of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists.

Funds will be used to design, print and distribute the booklet to hundreds of Buddhist centres across Australia, with translations into Mandarin, Sinhalese and Vietnamese. Rainbodhi has already received requests for the booklet to be made available overseas in Europe, the UK and the USA.

This project is proudly being auspiced by the Buddhist Council of NSW.

To find out more and to donate visit the Rainbodhi GiveOUT Day page:

Why Do We Need This Resource?

A recent LGBTQIA+ Buddhist research project, sponsored by Rainbodhi and undertaken by Dr Stephen Kerry from Charles Darwin University, interviewed over 110 LGBTQIA+ Buddhists across Australia. The results show that Australian Buddhist centres can be unwelcoming places, and that prejudice and discrimination is common in Buddhist spaces. We have lots of work to do!

LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Research Project Results

Speaking about their Buddhist centres, survey respondents reported:

  • 61% felt that Buddhist centres silence or ignore LGBTQIA+ people and issues at least some of the time
  • 55% were at times reluctant to disclose their LGBTQIA+ identities at their Buddhist centre
  • 54% had seen or heard sexism
  • 37% had seen or heard homophobia
  • 26% had seen or heard transphobia or misgendering
  • 26% had seen or heard racism
  • 16% had been told that their LGBTQIA+ identity was inconsistent with the Buddha’s teaching.

Other responses included sad stories of rejection and discrimination: one woman was told she could not join a Buddhist group because she was a lesbian; a trans woman reported repeated misgendering and sexual innuendo; several gay/bi men said they had been told that their sexuality was ‘sexual misconduct’.

These results show that Buddhist organisations, temples and retreat centres are not always safe spaces for everyone. Acknowledging the existence of prejudice and discrimination is an important first step for Buddhist organisations. Rainbodhi’s GiveOUT Day booklet project is the next step; providing practical knowledge and tools for Buddhist organisations to make necessary changes to create safer and more inclusive Buddhist communities for all.

Find out more about GiveOUT Day and all the great projects to support, here.

Donations received on Friday 16th October will be matched up to $1000.

Please note that whilst I work with Rainbodhi, I do not receive any personal benefit from this fundraiser.


Sadhu anumodana to our D&D friends who have donated to this fundraiser so far! :pray:

Rainbodhi has reached half of our goal already! Feel free to share with your networks - today donations are being matched, so it’s a great day for generosity!


Thanks so much Ven, you’re doing amazing work, and Rainbodhi is a genuinely inspiring movement. :fireworks:


An update and an opportunity to help!

For GiveOUT Day 2020, Rainbodhi raised funds to write, design and print a resource called Welcoming the Rainbow: a Guide to LGBTQIA+ Inclusion for Buddhists.

The booklet is now finished and on it’s way to the printers! We are really happy with it and want to reach as many people as possible. But we need your help to cover costs for postage and packing to get the resource into Buddhist centres across Australia, Europe and the USA.

About the Booklet
Welcoming the Rainbow is a resource promoting awareness and understanding of diversity in Buddhists in temples, organisations and retreat centres. It introduces basic LGBTQIA+ terminology and explains practical steps Buddhist organisations can take to help make Buddhist spaces more safe and welcoming for LGBTQIA+ people.

The guide is produced by Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community, a spiritual friendship group and advocate for more inclusion and diversity in the broader Buddhist community. Written by Rainbodhi founder, Bhante Akāliko and filled with gorgeous illustrations by Venerable @yodha, the booklet was made with input from LGBTQIA+ Buddhists from around the world.

We can’t wait to share it with you! Thanks for your help and support to get the booklet into the places it needs to go. :rainbow:

Donations can be made on the GiveOUT Day portal below. The first $1000 in donations will be matched by GiveOUT Day sponsors. Every donor will receive a free copy.

[this fundraiser has been posted with permission]


The booklet looks really great :slight_smile:

Good luck with the fundraiser! It is a very modest amount you are looking for in order to distribute the booklet. I hope you make the target.
:pray: :dharmawheel: :rainbow: :butterfly:


Thanks for your ongoing support @Viveka :pray::pray::pray:


Thanks to everyone who has kindly donated so far. Our project has reached half of our goal amount. And it is by far the project with the most donations; Buddhists are generous!

Please help spread the word and help us get the booklet where it needs to go.


Rainbodhi’s fundraiser is going well but we haven’t quite made our target yet. Please consider sharing the fundraiser site with your networks and help us get the word out there about the importance of celebrating diversity and practising inclusivity for LGBTQIA people.


You’re probably not allowed to kick a topic here, so I’ll ask a question instead! :smiley:

Is the flyer for download somewhere? I looked at the Rainbodhi website but couldn’t find it.

Hi Bhante @Sunyo not sure what you mean by “the flyer”. If you’re referring to the booklet itself we will have a pdf version available after our launch of the hard copy - probably in late October.


Sorry, I meant the booklet. For some reason I had it in my head it was a flyer. :thinking: Thanks, I’ll definitely check it out!

1 Like

(Illustration by Venerable @yodha )

Everyone deserves love and compassion. All people should feel safe and welcome in their spiritual communities.

Rainbodhi LGBTQIA+ Buddhist Community is fundraising to create a resource, called Welcoming the Rainbow. This is a guide to help Buddhist temples, monasteries and organisations more be more aware and welcoming for LGBTQIA+ Buddhists.

LGBTQIA+ people frequently face rejection and oppression by society and religious communities. The Buddha often spoke against discrimination and said that all living beings deserve love without distinction. We may not realise that our Buddhist organisations, temples and retreat centres are sometimes unwelcoming places for the LGBTQIA+ community. Individuals might not understand that their actions and speech can cause harm to LGBTQIA+ people. Organisations may not see the ways in which they exclude LGBTQIA+ people.

The good news is that this is changing, and we can be part of the change.

Here’s a few words from a media release I wrote a while ago about religious discrimination:

LGBTQIA+ people of faith often feel conflicted about religious identity. We need to let people know that it’s fine to be LGBTQIA+ and a spiritual person. People don’t have to choose between these aspects of themselves. Spirituality is an intrinsic part of being human, regardless of sexuality or gender identity. Our faith should be a source of connection and wisdom in our lives, rather than division or despair.

There have always been queer, trans, and intersex people in religious life; including Buddhism. It’s important for our Buddhist communities to acknowledge this publicly; with pride. We want LGBTQIA+ people to know that they are welcomed and accepted for who they are in all areas of community life including workplaces, hospitals, retirement homes and schools.

Equality is at the core of Buddhist teachings. Everyone deserves love and compassion; these are fundamental Buddhist values.

Help Rainbodhi spread the love by contributing to our fundraiser today! :heart: :rainbow: :heart:



Last chance to support Rainbodhi's GiveOUT Day fundraiser!

Tomorrow Friday 15th October is GiveOUT Day, a day of philanthropy to raise funds for Australian LGBTQIA+ community organisations that do essential work in our communities.

Rainbodhi is proud to be a part of this day and is thrilled to have received so much support. We have almost reached our fundraising goal!

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. Our project, Welcoming the Rainbow: a Guide for LGBTQIA+ Inclusion for Buddhists, is a resource that aims to make our Buddhist centres more inclusive and safe for our diverse Buddhist communities.

It’s great to see the words of encouragement from queer Buddhists and our allies, showing how important this project is to them.

Here are some of the supportive messages we received from kind donors over the last few months:

  • So Fan: “With gratitude for being the visible rainbow for all.”

  • Steven: “With love and gratitude to the Rainbodhi Sangha for manifesting a beautiful resource to inspire our queer community and beyond. Deep appreciation and I hope it will offer a deeper awareness and understanding to inform safe spaces for queer people across traditions.”

  • John: “With metta for important work.”

  • Kyle: “May more people are aware of the sufferings the LGBTQIA community is facing! With this guidebook, it will provides clarity and address the stigma.”

  • Richard: “With metta and mudita for Rainbodhi and its important work”

  • Ji: “We are all part of one beautiful rainbow :)”

  • Bree: “Great initiative to encourage spiritual organisations to be a safe place for LGBTIQ+ people.”

  • Wayne: "Wishing you all the best with the launch. "

  • Anon: “Good on you!”

  • Kee: “Thank you, Rainbodhi, for creating such valuable resources for the benefit of the community. May all beings be happy, secure and free from suffering.”

  • David: “Much metta.”

  • Meredith: “Kindness has no boundary! Thank you for your enormous effort and contribution towards providing a safe & supportive environment for a more inclusive & diversified group to cultivate spiritual growth.”

  • Gawaine: “Keep the good work going!”

  • James: “May all our lights shine!”

  • Rachel: “Woo!”

  • Anon: “May all beings have the freedom to express their true nature!”

  • Simon: “Looks like a great book! Beautiful message too! :heart::rainbow:

  • Lachlan: “Much metta for this work!”

  • Gillian: “Good luck with this project.”

  • Anon: “Such amazing and important work, such good and loving hearts. May we all be joyful and happy​:yellow_heart::orange_heart::heart:

  • Carmi: “Congratulations!”

  • Adi: "I hope this helps those who are vulnerable and in need. "

  • Kathryn: “Happy to contribute to your cause.”

  • Di: “Good luck with the whole initiative.”

  • Claire: "May this book fly across the world on bright wings! "

  • Trevor: “Good luck!”

  • Jonathon: “Congratulations! Excellent cause. Will notify my sangha.”

  • Marian: “Thankyou for your absolutely brilliant work! Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.”

  • Judi: “Blessings in abundance”

  • Rhianna: “Given with feelings of gratitude :pray:t3: and appreciation. Many thanks dear sangha! With big hugs and a rainbow!! :rainbow::rainbow::rainbow::blue_heart::purple_heart: :heart::earth_asia:

  • Charith: “Gorgeous booklet!”

  • Michael: “Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou!/of the Past, of the Present, of the Future. Aroha!”

  • Joyce: “Awesome work!”

  • Francis: “May Rainbodhi & these resources bless many people.”

  • Letty: “Love you Rainbodhi!”

  • Anon: “I rejoice in this project, and look forward to sharing it among my sangha!”

  • Mikko: “May all beings be well, happy and peaceful.”

  • Anon: "May all Beings who have the wish to practice the Buddhas teachings have the opportunity to do so. "

  • Gina: “Congratulations to everyone involved with and in support of the new booklet that will help everyone feel welcome on the path.”

  • Anon: “May you successfully spread the Buddha’s message of compassion!”

Much merit to you all! May you all be well, peaceful and happy!

Donations remain open until the end of Friday 15th October. Help us reach our goal!


(illustration by Venerable Yodha)


It suddenly occurred to me that I should have made an update about the Welcoming the Rainbow resource. The booklet has since been published and 10 000 copies distributed to individuals and Buddhist centres across Australia and around the world, including Belgium, Brasil, France, Germany, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the USA and more!

Here’s some photos of us doing the mailout with the encouragement of Rainbodhi’s mascot, Atticus the dog.

There has been a huge interest (much more than I expected) and lots of positive feedback from across the globe. People found it very useful to have a guide made just for Buddhists and it has opened up the opportunity for many conversations about inclusivity and diversity in our communities. Several communities actually went through it page by page to see how they were doing, and I know that a few monasteries actually read out passages to their community.

A venerable from Shravasti Abbey in USA used the booklet as part of their regular book club and gave a nice overview.

The booklet is currently being translated into Thai and also Portuguese (by a Brazilian queer Buddhist organisation) and there are future plans for a French edition and Sinhalese as well. Stay tuned!

Many of the good folks on the forum donated funds for this project, so I would like to express my gratitude to you all once again for helping make it happen.

And big praise especially for the talented illustrator Ven @yodha whose beautiful pictures are such an intergral part of the booklet’s heart. :heart_eyes_cat:

You can find a PDF version to view, download and share on the Rainbodhi Website

and Bhante Sujato created a HTML version for us too.

Here’s hoping this resource helps people understand the issues that affect Rainbow Buddhists and that we can make our centres more safe, welcoming and inclusive places for all.


I’m in Thailand and met with the publishers of the Thai edition of Welcoming the Rainbow, which is almost ready! This edition features interviews the Thai Sangha, philosophers and activists about the importance of inclusion for our queer community in Buddhism. It’s being published and distributed for free by Sam Yan Press, a student run publishing house interested in progressive ideas.

Big shout out to Ven @yodha whose gorgeous illustrations are the talk of the town!


The Thai edition cover is lovely too!


Rainbodhi’s inclusivity resource, Welcoming the Rainbow is now available in 4 languages: Dutch, English, Polish and Thai, with French and Portuguese editions on the way!

View, download and share all editions on the Welcoming the Rainbow page of Rainbodhi 's website.


Thanks once again to Ven @yodha for the wonderful illustrations. And sadhu anumodana to everyone who helped make the translations! :pray::rainbow::heart::relaxed:

The covers of the 2 new editions in Dutch and Polish are below.


Hi friends,

Just an update that a French translation of Welcoming the Rainbow is now available.

A Spanish translation has just been completed and will be designed soon.

We are still waiting on the Portuguese version. Apparently to there’s a German translation being made and we have recently been approached by folks in Tawain who want to produce a Traditional Chinese edition.

The number of translations show that this guide is wanted and needed by LGBTQIA Buddhists to help advocate for awareness, inclusion and safety in our Buddhist communities.

All current editions are available on our website:

Many thanks to Ven @yodha for the illustrations which continue to delight people around the world.

And a big thank you to Ven @Vimala for doing the typesetting and design for the Dutch and French editions.

This project came about from the kindness of others through our previous GiveOUT Day fundraiser.

Giving a little to Rainbodhi goes a long way!

You can support future editions and Rainbodhi 's ongoing work through our 2023 GiveOUT fundraiser:

(Fundraiser posted with permission)


Thank you Bhante but I really cannot take credit for the typesetting… it’s @anon56826743 who deserves all the honor!!! I merely bring translators, editors and typesetter together and sometimes do some final fine-tuning.

In any case, thank you and all the Rainbodhi folks for producing this great booklet!!!


In that case, much merit and many thanks go to the wonderful @anon56826743 !