Learning to be inclusive

Though I know people in society, including some in the Buddhist community, have mixed feelings about homosexuality, mostly I think due to how discussing sexuality makes people more reflective than they are comfortable with, I feel it is important to help make people comfortable so they can accet themselves and others, leading to more loving compassion, I hope. I have worked as a teacher with a group of students for three years now to create a safer place for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students at our school. We’ve sponsored guest speakers, social events, and educational discussions. But the one I feel is an act of kindness that stands out ot me was when I was one of those students instead of being their teacher now. I invited different religious figures to speak on our campus about being gay and having faith, and if that was even possible. I had them talk about God and Jesus and all that. I didn’t ask them because I believe in God or Jesus, or because I need to feel God loves me, as neither are really issues for me, but rather because I see so many students suffering because they feel that their God hates them and their families reject them because God says so. I hope that event and the others we’ve done on campus has helped those who wish to beleive in God find his love, and for those families torn apart over this issue, to find compassion and love and reconnection. To continue this hope, we’ve continued to sponer related discussions and events, and this week, I’m pulling together a group of fellow teachers to talk to them about bringing that love into their classrooms, about creating that acceptance, and about maybe looking at their own religious views, that though they may be hesitant to admit it these views are shapping how they treat their gay, lesbian and bisexual students. So we’ll talk, we’ll discuss, and as a buddhist, I will use their langauge and meaning (one of Christianity) to help them to have compassion and love for those they see as ‘other.’

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