Same-Sex Relationships

I was asked what is Taoism’s view on homosexuality was today.

My initial personal reaction to this question is:

It doesn’t matter what Taoism or any other religion says about same-sex behavior. Religion doesn’t stop people from being people. People will always contain in their nature: all the Yin Yang aspects of humanity itself. Some people will embrace with acceptance same-sex activity as being natural. Others will find same-sex activity to be a threat to their ego, their sense of self, and hence attack the behavior.

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Some people will embrace a religion just to support their personal views and justify their feelings as right or wrong. Taoism steps away from this and reminds us we are human first. That in being human, we will have this wide range of nature to accept. Same sex relationships are not a religious issue no matter what anyone says; sexual preferences are an interpersonal topic. People are always people for both good and bad. Learn to understand people, not religion, to help find peaceful answers to such questions.

Taoism is a practice of acceptance. People make a mistake to think that since Taoism is a religion of acceptance, which Taoism must declare a universal standard of acceptance. Taoism cannot declare such a single answer, since acceptance is a personal journey for each seeker to resolve, in their terms for finding wholeness.

Questions such as acceptance of homosexuality are rooted in ego in scope. Ego-based questions cannot be answered from a universal perspective: despite ego’s insistence that it’s universal in nature. So in the end, “ego” based questions must be answered by each person. Giving any single general answer would always create interpersonal conflict. To a Taoist this problem is easily avoided by leaving the question unanswered from a larger perspective. To recognize this question is personal in scope for each individual to balance in their life.

Taoist practice teaches a person to embrace ego lightly. So while Taoism doesn’t answer the question directly, Taoist practice resolves the “homosexuality & religion” conflict.

Taoism Teaches:
Not every question should have an answer.

When this answer bothers a person, then it’s a sign that their ego is working with issues that are personally hard to find acceptance.  Such feelings indicate a personal internal conflict deeper than this question itself. In fact, this is often why a person seeks a universal answer to this question: as a means to end a more profound personal conflict. Move the issue outside of the internal realm to find final absolution or solutions outside of their nature.

A Historical Taoist Perspective

If Taoism is a practice of acceptance, this means that one’s sexual preferences are their own. It’s fine to be who you are. No one has the “right” to tell you how you should be. So in this sense, Taoism ignores the question of same-sex relationships and leaves it to each person to decide for themselves. Generally speaking, Taoism promotes healthy sexual relationships between partners since sex is part of human life. Taoism also encourages a person to balance all their energies, including sexual energy. This does leave much open to personal interpretation.

Historically, some Taoist practices frowned upon any sex since it reduced one’s vitality and distracted a person from immortal development. Other Taoist schools believe in ample sex to better exchange energy.

As a result, you will find all sorts of answers when reviewing older texts or ask Taoists from various schools of thought.

Some Taoist sects would be upset over same-sex activities. However, they would claim so not because it’s sex between same-sex partners, but rather they consider sex in general as a distraction. Also, some Taoist sects could consider such a balance to be going outside a traditional Yin Yang (male/female) balance.

So the actual answer again ends up depending on who you ask. Hence, it is an issue outside religion.

Explore Your Essence

First: Learn how to trust your intuition.

Second: Let go of judgments that hold you back.

Third: Remove conflict and anger from your relationships.

Fourth: Be kind to yourself and pace your life to match your essence.

My final answer would be this:

You are what you are…

Homosexuality or any sexual orientation doesn’t enter this statement at all on purpose. Because you are human, you define yourself, not others. Don’t beat yourself senseless over what your desires are or your nature. To do so limits your nature and prevents you from becoming enlightened. Learn to release desire and work towards acceptance of your nature and the larger universe as a whole. So a person is what they are no matter what sexual orientation they are naturally. If any sexual orientation is due to others forcing you to be that way, then it’s wrong, since it has been forced upon you.

The important point is to know attachment and desire can prevent a person from discovering their full nature and embracing their life story. No activity should distract you from exploring the potential of your life. So sex is fine but not at the cost of the sex preventing a person from living wholly.

However, “right” and balanced actions don’t always factor in real behavior. People do hurt each other for seemingly no good reason. So always tread carefully. Many people have pain regarding this issue. As a result, people will lash out due to their inner conflict by trying to resolve their inner nature. This personal question always needs to be answered with kindness and never by self-judgment.

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Taoism and Sexuality Questions

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I’m writing this more for myself than anyone else but to be honest I hope it reaches a lot of people. For the record I’m gay and generally pro-lgbt so let’s get that out of the way. This is one of those cases where the Dao as named/described by the Dao de Ching is at the very least questionable as the Dao. Too much favor in water that flows downards as opposed to the steam that must sometimes rise. Daoists in the traditional sense have a very “you may believe in whatever you want, so long as no one is… Read more »

Thank-you, this is a great article.
My humble opinion on LGBT community: who am I to judge those around me or and in the world. I’m not walking their path, and because of that, it doesn’t mean that they are wrong. We are all spirits learning and working within ourselves, in Coexisting, in the collective consciousness.

Thank you

I consider myself an atheist, however I am interested in history and philosophy and therefore belief systems and religions. Many anti-theists would describe themselves this way. I particularly do like some buddhism/taoism/zen stuff however my knowledge on it is still limited. I like the idea of balance and symmetry (particularly because I love physics) and suppression of ego. I really like Alan Watts reflections. I just wanted to share this view by Aristophanes in Platos Symposium (the Greeks were another culture very accepting of homosexual relationships, even considered noble): “His speech is an explanation of why people in love say… Read more »

As a young man who had a hard time finding myself. I find this story to be very interesting and I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to post this.

I just think that as far as the yin/yang/male/female issue is concerned, there are varying degrees of masculinity and femininity in both hetero and gay couples. In just about every gay couple I know, there is one partner who is a little more masculine or feminine than the other. Therefore, aren’t they engaging in the same yin/yang exchange that hetero couples are? Also, there’s more about gay relationships than just sex–even anonymous encounters have to have at least a modicum of emotion involved. No religion can tell me that genuine love for another human being, no matter what genders are… Read more »

I grew up in Asia and I think the Taoist belief would be that two people fell in love in a past life with people of the same gender so they were reincarnated that way.

I think the issue is not personal or religious; is a matter of biblical principles for those who believe in the true God, and he, as Creator, has established rules on everything that exists; then the answer is there, and is therefore not proposing human knowledge, philosophies, religions, etc..; certainly those who are not Christians (clarifying that religion and Christianity are not synonymous) or are atheists, then can issue many arguments (with human imperfection) to give an answer on the subject.

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