Hi,
I just found out about this group. I am a group member in the Forest Hill District, Newark NJ. In my district besides my lover and I, we have 3 District leaders who are gay, we have 2 gay YMD, and 1 gay MD. The other members in our district are very supportive of the gay members. As part of my mission for kosen-rufu, I write skits using Buddhist issues and themes. Well for our March District discussion meeting, I wrote a skit on finding absolute happiness from a gay perspective. The main character was unhappy. His best friend suggested that what he needed for happiness was a man. A gay Buddhist enters and tells him about being happy through chanting and persuades both of the guys to come to a Buddhist meeting. Of course, there is going to be hot men at this Buddhist meeting. So, they go to the Buddhist meeting and all ends well. Originally the skit was written straight and the gay version was an after thought. Since I didn't want the actors to feel uncomfortable, I asked the actors who are both gay given the straight and gay version, which did they want to perform? The actors felt the gay one was much more funnier and agreed to do it. On the day of the skit, I realized there was a child in the room. So, I went to the child's mother and I warned her the skit involved homosexuality and she may or may not want to remove her son from the room. She removed him from the room. A day later my chapter chief who has a gay daughter called me and said although she believed the skit was great, the powers that be thought I could have changed some of the language to be considerate of guests and so the parent would not have had to have her child leave the room. She suggested that in the future I use words like "looking for a partner" to replace a male character stating "looking for a man." Instead of saying "are there going to be hot men at this meeting" say "are ther going to be hot people at this meeting." She basically wanted me to hide any gay induendo and replace it with ambiguous terminology. In this way parents who weren't ready for their kids to be exposed to homosexuality or guest would not be offended. After my conversation with my chapter chief, I called my lesbian district leader. I told her what the chapter chief said. My district leader got very mad about it. She said that if we used words like "hot women" in a straight skit, no one would be bothered. I agreed with her and told her that I had originally written the skit straight. I didn;t expect what was coming next. My district chief blamed me for making the cause to make people feel uncomfortable by warning the parent of the only child in the room about the gay content of the skit. She argued that by discussing the skit with the parent, I was in fact giving my power away. She said I should have went on with the skit without telling anyone about the skit's content. Afterward, the parent could decide how she wanted to handle the idea of homosexuality with her kid. My district leader made me realize just how much my homophobia came out during the skit. I would like to get some feedback on this issue. How should things of this nature be handled in the SGI?

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Hi Bobby,

Your District Chief was right on. I thought the whole idea was positive about you having the ichinen to have a skit with gay people as the characters. You then went to someone who would have went along with her growth about the gay issue in a positive way and watched the play, but you threw fundalmental darkness in her mind about gay people. She then begin, with the help of your negative feelings about yourself, think that gay is wrong. I am a gay female and I just came back from FNCC LGBT. Linda Johnson lectured about how fundalmental darkness comes in the forms of all the negative thoughts that come in the mind to stop you from having a strong practice.The one that you passed on was fear from you to the member with the son.
I definitely agree with you that I helped create fear in this member with regards to her son; I know I have some homophobic tendencies. My lover is always getting on me about being more open. But what about the suggestions from my chapter chief where she encouraged me to use more ambiguous words in my skits in the future. I take responsibility for my part, but I don't think it's right that some leaders in my chapter hold similar homophobic fears. What do you think about how I should address their fears in the future?
Chant Daimoku .for you and the Chapter leader To get rid of the phobia..
I really don't know how much the chapter leader is behind this because she has a gay daughter herself and openly admits it. Knowing my Chapter Leader she was just being a messenger for the powers that be. I want to create more skits from a gay perspective, especially because we have so many gay people in my district; however, I want to feel free to write what I deem appropriate without censure. What I'm asking is whether you think this is an issue that needs dialouge now or is it something I should just chant about until the next time I actually write a gay skit and then deal with it?
You know one of the things that first made me realize that this Buddhism is the correct religion for me is back in the NSA days when I walked in the small taikan in Manhattan and saw a drag queen in full bragalia sitting in there chanting. Now this was in the 80's pre the Rupaul experience and during the mist of the HIV epidemic. Since that time, I have always tried to be as open as possible in the organization with my sexuality. Until the incident with the skit, I have never had any problem with being homosexual. As far as the content of the skit the language was certainly suitable. I mean I only changed about four or five words when I converted the skit from a straight skit into a gay skit and it was funny. I want to thank you for sharing your insight. I have attached the skit for your review. Thanks Bobby.
Attachments:

Bobby, 

 

I know I am 2 years late, but I simply adore your skit. Thank you. I am on the leadership team for the SGI-LGBT in Houston, Texas. We have just started revitalizing (July will actually make a year) and I am hardly ever visiting this site. But something within told me to come and I am glad I did. I would like to incorporate your skit in our next meeting in June. Is that ok? If so, I will try and video it and send it to you. Let me know.  

I myself am a homosexual. It's not something that I choose its just something that I am. Anyway, I mean some people are not ready to acknowledge the fact that homosexuals exist, that we are like everyone else, and that we should be treated as an equal. Your Chapter Chief was only looking out for the people who may have been offended and didn't want you to suffer the backlash of the effect. Your District Chief was also right. I do believe that homosexual themes should be displayed in SGI. Not the children's ministry because they are too young to be exposed to it but the SGI needs to realize that they're homosexual that are devout and willing to practice. So, yes I do think that SGI needs to have more homosexual themes but do not force the homosexual themes on them.
Gotcha.
hello

i am new to sgi & to this group. but as a writer--to you, another writer i believe you should write freely without any censorship. without any fear or phobia. years ago i wrote a poem about a gay friend of mine---the publisher asked me to change a few things in the wording. so that i wouldnt sound so gay & pro-gay. i refused. so my poem was not published by that magazine.
also when i first started going to sgi meetings---i asked during our group study what or how they felt about gays. there were lots of members present. they all reassured me that they welcomed gays & even told me that they participate at gay pride each year. that it was okay. that i didnt have to change & sgi wasnt against it.
so knowing this---i know my teacher would say chant about it. but i think the issue needs to be addressed now. go with your gut feeling.
Hi, just wondering how it all turned out. Are you censored or did the heirarchy relent?
Well, my chapter leader has asked me to try and make any future skits asexual. She wants me to use terms like "partner" instead of "boyfriend." You know to make it more ambigous and less direct. Since this incident, I have not attempted any gay related skits. Not because I have not wanted to, but I just have not created the opportunity. All and all, in the end, I guess I have been censured, but my spirit has not been crushed. Thanks for the interest and sorry for the delay in response.
Welcome to the SGI. I'm sorry for the delay in response, but I have not checked this site for awhile. I remember one of the things that encouraged me to continue practicing some twenty years ago is when I walked in the New York community center and wittnessed a drag queen in full makeup chanting. It was then that I knew SGI was the place for me. Until this incident, I have never been asked to not be open about my homosexuality. The chapter leader who confronted me about the skit has a gay daughter. She recently invited me to her daughter's wedding reception, which I attended. To my knowledge, homosexuality has never been presented in this fashion at a discussion meeting. Perhaps, because it was new territory, people did not know how to handle it. I'm not making excuses for their behavior, but I'm trying to have compassion. My gut feeling is that somewhere, someday, I'm going to write and perform another gay oriented skit. Then I'll see what will happen. I'm on a mission to expand this universe. Since you're a writer, maybe we can collaborate on a very gay skit for the SGI.

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