Fearless Atmosphere
by Niscala d.d.
Posted February 19, 2003

Dear Malati,

Your suggestion that gay devotees be discouraged or forbidden to live in our ashrams, shows a general assumption on your part that gays will break the regulative principles if they live with members of the same gender. This would be laughable were it not alarming, for it is not a suggestion to be taken lightly. One must seriously look at the probability of this happening before we exclude any sincere souls from full access to the all-encompassing mercy of Lord Chaitanya’s movement.

Could gay people be a problem (apart from making homophobics face their fear)? Generally, the ashrams are comprised of mostly heterosexual members. Intercourse with them by a member of the same sex is out of the question, and if by chance two gays find themselves in the same ashram, still the likelihood of anything happening is remote. Firstly, they have to be attracted to each other- obviously! As we know, being heterosexual does not mean that one is attracted to all members of the opposite sex, and of the ones that do hold attraction, for anyone of any principle, sex is not an option unless there is commitment--to serve, respect and love each other--with fidelity, as in marriage or something similar.

Gay people, at least ones of good character, work under the same principles as above. It is a terrible mistake to think that they are more degraded in their principles. There are of course, degraded gays, just as there are degraded straight people. Srila Prabhupada described the cause of degradation to be one of insatiable lust. Having tried sex with one’s spouse, one expands it to other opposite sex partners, same sex partners, animals, or (God forbid!) children. If from this one concludes that all gay people choose to be so due to insatiable lust and are devoid of the principles that control sex life, one’s sense of logic is tragic.

However, it is not a case of being unable to reason. Fear, makes us lose our sense of reason. For example, there have been many counterproductive GBC laws that were put in place and are kept in place, due to fear alone- the banning of reform books, of learned Gaudiya Matha gurus, of their disciples, of ritviks (rather than trying to reason with them, and failing that, at least giving them prasadam), of whistle blowers, and of truthful analysts. But this is opposed to satya and sama darshan. When we have fear, we cannot have honesty, look within ourselves, see our weaknesses and overcome them. False ego dictates to us that we must not be seen as fearful, so we construct another reality, so that the fault is not ours, but another’s. But constructed reality is itself illusion, and we become enmeshed in self-deceit, more lost to ourselves, and certainly more lost to the path of self-realization...

In this example, the fear is homophobia, to a greater or lesser degree. We haven’t tried to understand gays as a different kind of person- and celebrate that diversity. We see the materialists celebrate this diversity through sexual degradation, however, while upholding the principle of austerity, we should try to see that within material diversity, there is a common spirit of a soul connected eternally with God- and making a step towards Him by wanting to live in His temple. This is definitely a cause for celebration.