Coming Out: Dealing with Homophobia as a Gay Tibetan in the Army

The following submission was made by a gay Tibetan who is currently in the army. Specific details were taken out to protect their identity, as there is still rampant ignorance and hostility around LGBTQ issues in the army. I applaud their determination in holding onto their truth, even in the face of frequent animosity. It’s definitely not an easy task, so thank you so much for sharing your story.

I joined the army after completing high school due to a financial crisis. I left my priorities behind cause I had to look after my parents. That was in 2008. During those years, people were not so aware of LGBTQ issues. I realized I was gay at an early age, and it felt so scary joining the army at that time cause I knew about the hatred and discrimination I would face in this job. Continue reading “Coming Out: Dealing with Homophobia as a Gay Tibetan in the Army”

[Q&A] Thoughts from the Closet: On Being Bisexual, Coming Out to Tibetan Family Members and Reasons for Hope

A few days ago, I received the following heartfelt email. Although unexpected, it was truly encouraging hearing from a fellow LGBTQ Tibetan back in India. I’d like to thank Tae Yen (a pseudonym), who wishes to remain anonymous, for the message and the illuminating conversation.

From India, 20 years old, apprentice at a tattoo studio and learning tattooing. I knew that I had things for the same gender since pre school, I was keen on being paired with girls more than guys for school projects. I asked my mother if it’s ok to find girls beautiful? She had an idea as to what I was indicating and she told me that it’s ok. She acknowledged me with terms, lesbian and gay. I searched, and I grew up. I had celebrity crushes, basically girls. I like a girl for now but I can not let my family know. I lost my mother when I was in my teens, if she was here it would’ve been easier.

Well, I’m not ashamed of my sexuality. While being queer is hard for many in India, it is especially so in a Tibetan family where understanding “love regardless of gender” is tough. But I’m proud of my tomboy self. I respect my androgynous side and with great acceptance, I accept myself as bisexual. My friends are aware of my sexuality and they’re supportive. Hope I’ll be out of the closet soon, properly.

Continue reading “[Q&A] Thoughts from the Closet: On Being Bisexual, Coming Out to Tibetan Family Members and Reasons for Hope”

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Expresses Support for LGBTQ Relationships

In 2015, when The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje visited Princeton University, he was asked to share his own views on gay, lesbian, and transgender relationships. Gyalwang Karmapa emphasized the fact that all relationships are valid if based upon trust and real affection and also mentioned that there isn’t a strong reference or guidance for lay people regarding homosexuality in Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading “The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Expresses Support for LGBTQ Relationships”

Reaching Out to LGBTQ Tibetans

equality newer flag

It is not easy being an LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual) Tibetan. Our community has hardly been conducive to LGBTQ+ voices, and the obvious lack of representation and awareness discourages many from being open about their lived experience. That is not to say a lot of Tibetans in exile have not rapidly come around to let people exist without judgment. However, there is still a lot of prejudice and ignorance around LGBTQ+ issues that give rise to discrimination and the marginalization of LGBTQ Tibetans.

Continue reading “Reaching Out to LGBTQ Tibetans”