On Rainbow Sangha - Guest: Michael Vermeulen
European Buddha Podcast Nr.22

In this episode we talked about Rainbow Sangha! It is a a non-sectarian network of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists, friends and allies, open to all Buddhist traditions. It´s aim is to connect queer Buddhists, including friends and allies, and facilitate spiritual friendship; to make the queer Buddhist communities visible and end the isolation of LGBTQIA+ Buddhists - giving voice to queer Buddhism and support engaged Buddhist actions motivated by values such as non-discrimination and human rights.

In our episode we talked about why the Buddha-Dharma can be called a Queer-Dharma and how Buddhist Communities can be safe-spaces for those that face discrimination and violence in our societies.

Chair & contact: Dr Michael Vermeulen: mmdv68-ebufilo@yahoo.co.uk

Some articles by Dr Michael Vermeulen on Buddhism and LGBTQIA+

  • Michael Vermeulen, The Rise of Rainbow Dharma: Buddhism on Sexual Diversity and Same-Sex Marriage, in: Heiner Bielefeldt (Ed.), Articles on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Sexuality: the UN Special Rapporteur on Religion or Belief’s Compilation, United Nations, 2016
  • Michael Vermeulen, The Buddhist Pioneers of Same-Sex Marriage in the West: a little known history of compassion in action, European Buddhist Magazine, issue 1, 2018
  • Michael Vermeulen, Meditating Under the Rainbow: why Queer Dharma can refresh and transform your practice, European Buddhist Magazine, issue 3, 2019/20
  • Michael Vermeulen, Dharma for all: a very short history of Buddhism as a Safe Space for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI), European Buddhist Magazine, issue 8, 2021/22

Further Reading

  • David Schneider, Street Zen - The Life and Work of Issan Dorsey, Shambhala1993
  • Winston Leyland (Ed.), Queer Dharma - Voices of Gay Buddhists, Gay Sunshine Press, 1998
  • Kodo Nishimura, This Monk Wears Heels - Be Who You Are, Watkins, 2020

The Safe Space Alliance


A safe space is a space that does not tolerate violence, bullying, or hate speech towards the LGBTQIA+ community. It is a space where they can attend without fear and are treated with dignity.

This is indicated by adding this logo to the website. The EBU and several Buddhist monasteries and organisations are already showing this.

There is a clear need for LGBTQIA+ Buddhists and their families to know what communities are safe to them without the risk of being exposed to aggression and hate-speech.

It is therefore very important that all Buddhist organisations indicate on their website & venues that LGBTQIA+ people are safe by joining the safe space alliance. Please have a look into this if your organisation has not done so yet.

Dr Michael Vermeulen is a Buddhist philosopher and writer. He publishes and gives lectures on Buddhist contributions to contemporary philosophical questions such as Buddhism and the environment (Eco-Dharma), Buddhism on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (Queer Dharma). He was the Representative of the European Buddhist Union (EBU) to the European Union from 2011 to 2015. and studied Philosophy, Medicine and Theology & Religious Studies. Currently he works as a medical doctor and writer.

Dr Vermeulen is a co-founder of the European Rainbow Sangha (the EBU network for LGBTQI+ Buddhists, friends and allies.

The "European Buddha podcast" inquires how the wisdom of buddhism is lived and practiced in the „West“. Every last Friday of the month, Emilia Raunio and Martin Landschein welcome guests from various traditions on different topics. See more

Meditating under the rainbow - EBU Magazine 2019
Meditating under the rainbow _ EBU Magzine Winter 2019
Welcoming the Rainbow - A Guide to Queer Inclusion for Buddhists
Welcoming the Rainbow - A Guide to Queer Inclusion for Buddhists
The rise of Rainbow Dharma - UN Special Rapporteur on FORB Sep 2017
The rise of Rainbow Dharma - UN Special Rapporteur on FORB Sep 2017
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