Chakra Discussions

Sociological research on gays in ISKCON

by Vrsabha das

Posted March 2, 2005

Hare Krishna!
I am a student in the "Bhaktivedanta College" (Radhadesh). As an assignment for the sociology course I have chosen the topic "Gay devotees in ISKCON". My plan is to do a systematic study with two goals in my mind. a) To contribute to much better relationships between devotees of different sexual orientations in ISKCON, and (of course) b) to pass my exam.

This questionnaire is not only for present day ISKCON members, but for former ones as well.

I would kindly like to ask all gay devotees who are reading this letter to help me in my research by answering the following questions. You don't have to write your names and all questions are optional. No identifying information (including your email) will be shared with anyone. It should take about 20 min. to answer this questionnaire.

My plan is to forward the final results to ISKCON's GBC board and have a paper published in the "ISKCON Communications Journal", with the idea of removing some stigmas and facilitating proper understanding of the issue. You may find it interesting to read my article "Accept gay devotees and their non-ISKCON marriages" posted on Chakra website on 22nd Jan. 05.

Now, here is your chance to voice your emotions and ideas to contribute to a positive social change in ISKCON community. Please send your answers (as soon as possible) to vrsabha@eircom.net or by a letter to Vrsabha das, Bhaktivedanta Collage, Petite Somme 2, 6940 Septon/Durbuy, Belgium

Thanking you in anticipation.

Y.S. Vrsabha das


QUESTIONNAIRE

1) What is your gender?

2) Where are you from?

3) Are you a present or former ISKCON member?

4) Do you live in the brahmacari/brahmacarini asrama at present?

5) How would you describe your type of homosexuality? (For example: ordinary gay person, bisexual, transsexual, etc.)

6) Do the local devotees know your sexual orientation?
a) None
b) Some
c) All

7) Do all your straight Vaishnava friends know that you are a gay person?

8) Do you already live with a homosexual partner?

9) Would you like to be married to a partner of the same gender? Why?

10) Would you like to be married to a partner of the opposite gender? Why?

11) What is your emotional need?
a) Close friendship
b) Physical exchange
c) Both
d) Other (What?)

12) Would you like to have gay-marriages introduced in ISKCON? Why?

13) Do you think that gay-marriages would harm ISKCON in any way? Why?

14) Do you think that ISKCON gurus have a proper attitude toward gay Vaishnavas?
a) I don't think so
b) Very few
c) About half of them
d) Most of them

15) As a gay person, do you think that ISKCON offers you a fair opportunity for spiritual advancement?

16) Have you ever considered committing suicide?

17) Do you feel alienated in ISKCON?

18) Do you consider leaving ISKCON for lack of understanding of gay issues?

19) Do you think that spiritual groups other than ISKCON better understand gay people and accommodate to their emotional needs?

20) What would be your message to ISKCON leaders in this regard?