Gay Thai monks told to curb their flamboyant behaviour

Gay Thai monks told to curb their flamboyant behaviour April 28, 2009

THE flamboyant behaviour of gay and transgender Thai monks, who are often be seen wearing revealingly tight robes, carrying pink purses and having effeminately-shaped eyebrows, has become a source of grave concern to Buddhist leaders.

This picture of a monk and his young friend was used last year by Bangkok Today to illustrate a report about gay Thai monks
This picture of a monk and his young friend was used last year by Bangkok Today to illustrate a report about gay Thai monks
The BBC reports that Buddhist preacher in Thailand – Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedhi – has announced plans for new guidelines aimed at curbing their queeniness.
The “good manners” curriculum – the country’s first – is being introduced in the northern province of Chiang Rai, which apparently has the greatest number of gay and transgendered monks.
The senior monk told the BBC he would address issues like smoking, drinking alcohol, walking and going to the toilet properly He said he was particularly concerned by effeminate activities among novices.
Thailand has a very large and visible population of transgender men (kathoey), and Phra Vajiramedhi acknowledged that it was difficult to exclude them from the monkhood. But he hoped his course could at least persuade them to curb their more extrovert habits.
If successful, the “good manners” course, at the Novice Demonstration School, would be replicated at other Buddhist monasteries and seminaries, he said.
Last year, according to this blog, another senior monk – Phra Payom, abbot of Suan Kaew temple in Nonthaburi – said that on his travels of the nation’s temples, he has found most gay and kathoey monks in the North, though he has no idea why. The South has very few, while other regions contain a mix.
He complained:

They are an eyesore. They want to be gay, but haven’t worked out how to do it yet.

Gay monks are not confined to the young. Some temples have gay monks aged in their 50s and 60s, who have been in the monkhood ten years or more. If gay monks are caught doing anything naughty, they can be chased out.
Phra Payom added:

However, they are often clever at arranging flowers, speak nicely to people, and can help senior monks putting on functions, so they end up staying.

Phra Payom said that Thai television soaps, which often include gay characters, offer role models to Thai youngsters, which might explain the increase in gays and kathoey in the region.
NOTE:  Bangkok Today ran the picture above to illustrate a shock-horror story  about the profusion of gay monks in the North. Their faces were obscured, but someone later posted a copy of the original picture on the internet.
HAT TIP: Robert Stovold

"I'm reading some sarcasm, but it's Patheos that instituted the nannybot for comments. If you ..."

Lawsuit threatened after bigots were tossed ..."
""And then the disciples witnessed Lord Jesus turning water into wine......and his blood into grape ..."

DIY Communion: demand for Jesus’ flesh ..."
"But the website is Patheos, and therein lies the problem. They have a long list ..."

Lawsuit threatened after bigots were tossed ..."
"The Bible Belt has a higher rate of divorce, unwed pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, and STIs. ..."

Gay-hating Texas MD and three pastors ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • 'If gay monks are caught doing anything naughty, they can be chased out.'
    Ooh ooh. Chase me.
    Ooh, and if you catch me, be sure to give me a good spank. I'm such a naughty monk.
    Ooh get me. What am I like?

  • Mr Gronk

    What is the sound of one hand reaching around?

  • They will be chased out. They want to be gay but don't know how. This is so civilised. Imagine what the story would be if we were talking about gay Muslims in an Islamic context!

  • Alan C

    #Thai television soaps, which often include gay characters, offer role models to Thai youngsters, which might explain the increase in gays and kathoey in the region.#
    So they obviously think being gay is a lifestile choice, silly Monks:-)

  • Gay Thai monks, eh? I'm sure there a joke with Prik Stik Dung Hól in there somewhere…
    …or maybe not.

  • They have rules about "properly" going to the toilet? Geesh, and I thought Islam was restrictive.
    He complained:
    They are an eyesore. They want to be gay, but haven’t worked out how to do it yet.

    Is his complaint that they're actually doing "it" wrong or that they just don't have the right degree of fabulousness for him? Maybe he just needs to give them some fashion tips or something.

  • \\"Maybe he just needs to give them some fashion tips or something.\\"
    Well, for a start, Buffy I would suggest he tells them to lose the pink handbags. Pink and orange clash so badly.

  • Robert Stovold

    "….their more extrovert habits"
    Were the monks wearing nuns' clothing?

  • Mike

    This is going in the favourites for when somebody tells me not "all" religions discriminate against gayness. This lot would obviously like to, but have to do it in a subtle way… not having any ancient book with passages saying "if thou stick it up the bumhole thou shalt burn in hellfire" to fall back on.

  • Norman Lycan

    Thailand is the sex capital of the world. You can go there and have sex with someone of any age and any gender for a reasonable amount of money. The only drawback is that if you go to a brothel, the price for the hooker is very reasonable because the house is making as much money from voyeurs who pay to watch you do the deed. Be sure your purple helmeted soldier is wearing his raincoat.
    And while I'm definitely gay friendly, Thailand is a place where children are being exploited for sex. And it's always about money. Tolerance is one thing, and minor sex slaves is another. The same shit is happenning in the Balkans.
    NL

  • anonniemuss

    For what it's worth, there are as many different kinds of buddhism as there are buddhist practitioners. The type of Theravāda buddhism practiced at monasteries in Thailand is quite different from Theravāda as practiced in the western world, and both of those are quite different from the Vajrayana buddhism practiced in Tibet, etc. etc. etc. Compare, for example, the militaristic buddhism of Burma with the aesthetic zen buddhism of Japan. Also, the fact that many buddhist traditions focus on the practice of sitting in meditation and observing one's mind rather than on learning a set of rules (such as those in the ancient book you refer to) means that individual buddhists will have very different understandings, even within the same tradition. For these reasons I don't think it is very productive to compare, for the sake of argument, buddhism with other religions. Some people who consider themselves students of buddhism don't even think of it as being a religion. It is entirely possible to be a dedicated practitioner of buddhist meditation without being "religious."

  • Gay Theravadan

    I know this is an old topic, but as a gay Buddhist of the Theravada tradition, which is what is practised in Thailand, I felt I wanted to put my perspective forward. I have no problem with some of the senior monks taking issue with this kind of behaviour, and I'll explain why.
    The issue here isn't that it's considered wrong to have sex with people of the same gender, or wear a pink handbag or makeup as a male. The issue is about what it means to be a Buddhist monk. When you take that vow of ordination, you're essentially saying that you realise how empty the sensual pleasures are, how pointless ego and vanity are. Regardless of what your sexuality was before you became a monk, what's important now is that you are working to divest yourself of all of that, because Nibbana (Nirvana) is what you're trying to achieve.
    Now, if you either don't agree with any of that, or you're still attached to those things, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. No true Buddhist will judge you for those things. But if these monks feel that way, why are they monks? They should disrobe and go and enjoy themselves doing those things, because they're obviously not ready to distance themselves from them. I don't agree with the judgemental comments made by those senior monks about these other gay monks, but I DO agree with the idea that they don't belong as monks.
    By the way, in my community I'm openly gay. I'm not a queen or anything, but everyone knows it, and I bring my boyfriend to all the Buddhist functions, and introduce him as that. No monk has ever had a problem with it, and the only lay people who have had an issue with it are those that are judgemental and closeminded anyway, and who cares about that sort of person?
    I can't, of course, speak for any of the other traditions, like Tibetan Buddhism, since I have little experience with those.