Homophobic Pictures in BBT Publications
Posted June 20, 2003
Dear BBT Editors,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA-108) has received several complaints about discriminatory pictures found in some of your publications. In one of the pictures, a gay couple is depicted at the top center of an atomic-bomb explosion under the heading, "The demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world." (Bhagavad Gita As It Is, Deluxe 1989 Edition, plate 27) In the second picture, a gay couple is depicted within a dark ocean, at the bottom left side, amidst drug addicts, butchers and abortionists. They are apparently excluded from the "boat" of Krsna conscious devotees. (Srimad Bhagavatam, Twelfth Canto, 1988 Edition, plate 3)
These unnecessary depictions of gay people as associated with evil qualities and excluded from Krsna consciousness are not only unfair, but they are also out of touch with common social decency and human respect. Gay and lesbian readers--along with their family members and friends who know them to be ordinary, decent people--will immediately catch the dark and homophobic undercurrents within these drawings.
When studying the books themselves we learn that demonic qualities can be attributed to any materially conditioned soul. It is unfair to imply that they are especially associated with certain types of people such as gays and lesbians of the third sex. People should be judged individually by their own personal merits and spiritual advancement, and not automatically stigmatized or excluded as part of some collective group or underclass. This is called prejudice, and it is not a Vaishnava quality. Such demeaning portrayals of a minority group within Gaudiya-vaishnava literature are shameful.
I strongly urge you to discontinue using such pictures in your publications. They would be more at home in a fanatical hate-group's book for children and unlikely to impress any educated person of intelligence or social conscience. Quite the contrary!
I hope you will give this important matter serious consideration.
The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association, Inc.