Established at Jamyang London Buddhist Centre during LGBTQ+ History Month in February 2022, the Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gathering is an affinity group created to serve as a dedicated space for Queer identified or LGBTQIA-identified people studying Buddhism or practicing Buddhists, as part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.
This space seeks to affirm and uplift LGBTQ+ members of the Jamyang London community and is intended to be a space where people can share experiences with others and engage in meaningful discussion about the intersections of Buddhism and LGBTQ+ identity.
By creating this affinity group within the Jamyang London community, we hope that members of the Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gathering can see themselves reflected in the stories of their fellow students and practitioners, while unpacking the nuances of their lived experience in a conducive and supportive setting.
The Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gatherings take place throughout the year and generally include guided meditation with an informal discussion hosted by our EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) coordinator Kunsang Kelden, as well as other guest facilitators.
The Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gathering plans to continue evolving the group to include more frequent gatherings, exploring partnerships such as the one which began with the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre, and the addition of monthly Rainbow Sangha Coffee Chats at Jamyang London Buddhist Centre beginning in September 2023. A resilience-based LGBTQ+ retreat is also being planned, hoping to offer a space of acceptance, reflection and support in which to cultivate mindfulness, embodied kindness and wisdom through meditation.
This group has also been awarded a grant for the 2023 LGBTQ+ Futures: Faith Fund from the Consortium for Stronger LGBTQ+ Communities. The Consortium shared an announcement listing Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gathering of Jamyang London Buddhist Centre as one of the 2023 community grant recipients.
Upon learning that the Rainbow Sangha – LGBTQ+ Buddhist Gathering was among this year’s recipients, Kunsang shared, “The award of the LGBTQ+ Futures: Faith Fund community grant has given us an opportunity to better sustain the Rainbow Sangha and explore ways in which we can deepen our commitment and increase the frequency of our gatherings. We are fortunate to receive the grant this year and will continue our journey in supporting the LGBTQ+ members of our community by offering this space for folks to feel even more welcome at Jamyang London. Whether it’s just for coffee and a chat or engaging with intersectional discussions about LGBTQ+ identities and exploring meditation, Buddhist practice and study together.”
The LGBTQ+ Futures: Faith Fund is a grant programme of the Consortium for Stronger LGBTQ+ Communities, a national specialist infrastructure and membership organisation. They work to build the resources, sustainability and resilience of LGBT+ groups, organisations and projects across the UK, so that they can deliver direct services and campaign for individual rights. The LGBTQ+ Futures: Faith Fund awards community grants which are available for non-profit groups, organisations and projects that are led by and for LGBT+ people of faith. This funding is dedicated to LGBT+ faith-led organisations or groups with the primary purpose to support LGBT+ faith communities. For more information, please contact [email protected]