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.

He acknowledged in his response that although there is a difference between his own views and a traditional Tibetan Buddhist answer, his beliefs would eventually become a Tibetan Buddhist way of thinking as he is the Karmapa. He did not draw a distinction between straight and gay relationships, and reiterated the supportive comments he’s made in the past, which is a big deal. Gyalwang Karmapa is the most revered after His Holiness. He said,  “Whether people are of the same sex or not, what really matters is the actual love they have for each other.”

His nonjudgmental attitude is worth repeating. There are allies within our community but still too many who don’t speak out against homophobia and discrimination. It’s time for all of us to call for a change in attitudes regarding LGBTQ individuals and issues. A more open and compassionate community is a stronger, and more resilient community.

I think this quote by Gyalwang Karmapa is relevant here, “Love and compassion are like seeds within us. Like the seed of a tree, these seeds require nurturing so that they can develop. We develop the seeds of love and compassion through patience, through diligence, and through compassionate action.”


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