India: ‘One can be queer & religious too’

Stressing that being religious and queer does not have to be mutually exclusive, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender (LGBT) activists said that homosexuality was more of a lifestyle choice and religion did not discriminate against a person on the basis of his or her sexual orientation. The activists were speaking on the theme ‘Homosexuality and Religion Can Coexist’, on the second day of the Awadh Queer Lit Fest in the city on Saturday.

The activists argued that certain sections of the society were wrong in interpreting that different religions discriminate against the queer community. Quoting Pope Francis to emphasise her point, a transgender and an LGBT rights activist, Zainab Patel, said, “If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge him as a person?” “Be it Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or Sikhism, foundations of all religions are based on peace, befriending and supporting each other,” Patel added.

Another activist Ritwik said that he comes from a lineage which advocates that humans are complete in their own self. “As per my lineage, it is the soul which meets God after death,” said Ritwik, who practises the Vaishnav sect of Hinduism. A Gorakhpur-based content writer, Alice Bailey, said, “There are lot of churches abroad which actively support the LGBT community. However, churches in India claim that our sexual orientation is a sin and try to heal us. In the Bible, it is mentioned that God will decide on the Judgement Day, whether one is a sinner or not. So, we should leave it to the God to decide that and not any single body.” The speakers also said that there are many verses in the Quran and the Guru Granth Sahib which talk about transgenders and the queer community. Read more via Times of India