Not our Fairy Tale
by Rama Kesava das
Posted May 25, 2003

Dear prabhus,

Please accept my dandavat pranams. Sri Sri Guru Gaurangau jayatah!

I am writing in response to Tirthapada prabhu's recent article, "The Fairy Tale Of GALVA". It is with incredulity that I read it here on VNN. Tirthapada's tone is interesting, and he tells a nice story of our param-guru Srila Prabhupada. However, he then makes a blundering mistake, as do most critics of GALVA: He immediately assumes that GALVA condones and/or promotes illicit sex.

I do not like to speak ill of others, but I am flabbergasted that people always think of and describe gay or lesbian persons as being promiscuous and always wanting sex. This is simply not true. Tirthapada and others like him have a very poor understanding of sexual orientation. He makes the unnecessary implication that gays, etc., are always breaking the regulative principles. By his logic we would witch hunt all heterosexual grhasthas too, even if they swore they only had sex for procreation. This is sheer hypocrisy.

Devotees of whatever sexual orientation should be respected for their devotion and whatever spiritual standing they have, regardless of what we think they are up to. If they live singly, celibate, then fine. If not, then they should be encouraged towards monogamy in order to curb the desires of the flesh, in something analogous to a heterosexual monogomous situation.

I would also remind Tirthapada that the third gender (trttiya-prakrti) has been described in various Vaisnava texts since Vedic times, and not just in kama-sastra.

I would also remind Tirthapada that the Christian Church does not allow same sex marriages. Tirthapada exhibits misunderstanding regarding this and sexual orientation. Tirthapada says we are doing away with all our teachers past and present. This is untrue. It is Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta that false renunciation is as dangerous and destructive as the desires we try to overcome. Therefore people should be encourage to accept that which is helpful, and discard that which is not, in line with the teachings of our sampradaya. Wanton depravity is clearly not helpful, but regulated relationships are. Being attracted to members of the same sex is not the same as indulging in same-sex acts. This attraction does not mean that such a person is unchaste. Such idiotic arguments border on libel and slander, when they basically tar everyone with the same brush of promiscuity. I personally take offence to being told that I sleep around like a brazen hussy. I don't, and gay devotees don't.

I ask Tirthapada to kindly respect those people and their relationships, and not come to conclusions as to people's private lives.

You may wonder why GALVA even exists, though, based on my arguments of being all-inclusive, and forgetting sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian people have always been a part of society from Vedic times, and they should be encouraged to pursue spiritual life. However, with Tirthapada's homophobic sentiments being reflected in many quarters, it is no wonder that we would like a voice with which to defend ourselves against such invectives and tirades of abusive name-calling.

Further information can be found on the GALVA Resources site at http://www.nine9.ukshells.co.uk/galva108/

Your servant,
Rama Kesava dasa
rama.kesava.bvts@pamho.net