Hinduism views on homosexuality
Homosexuality remains a contentious issue especially in countries, which accept homosexual activities. Hinduism views on homosexuality are diverse, partly because Hindu Holy Scriptures does not mention homosexuality explicitly. Moreover, Hindus regard homosexuality as a complex issue owing to different religious lifestyles among faithful. Generally, once a Hindu is born twice, he or she is prohibited from participating in homosexual activities. For example, Manusmrti 11:174 mentions men and women. On the contrary, the Kama Sutra records that sex between people of the same gender, “is to be engaged in and enjoyed for its own sake as one of the arts.” This implies that the stance of Hindus on homosexuality largely depends on the context of the act.
Deeper understanding of Hinduism views on homosexuality
Homosexuality has long history in India, dating back in the ancient days. Early texts like the Rig Veda consider sexual activities between women as manifestation of a feminine world, characterized by pleasure and fertility in defining sexuality. Thus, Hinduism views on homosexuality vary widely, with debates happening against a strong Hindu background on love, sex and marriage.
Hindus consider love as an eternal force. Many see it as devotion between the two parties regardless of whether it is a romantic or platonic engagement. They further opine that love is crucial for one to attain Moksha, which is the liberation from the cycles of rebirths. Today, Indian men who are transgender engage in sexual activity with other men. This is because they identify themselves as a third separate sex, even though many go through customary castration. According to Hindus, a man who has sex with a transgender man, commonly known as Hijras is not gay. Additionally, in Kama Sutra homosexual activities are permissible in some caste while others do not recognize such conduct.
Hindus opposition to Homosexuality
It is very clear that Hindus have a divided opinion concerning the issue of homosexuality. In particular, opponents of same sex relationships argue that romantic love can only happen naturally between a man and a woman and that it is impossible for people of the same gender to experience it. Thus, according to Hinduism views on homosexuality, sex between two men or two women can only happen as a product of lust, which is wrong. This implies that homosexuality is also wrong.
In addition, among other reasons, Hindus recognize marriage because it allows continuity of one’s family lineage. Since homosexual couples cannot naturally procreate, their union is unacceptable. Another teaching outlaws premarital and extramarital sex. Since homosexuals cannot marry, Hindu laws do not allow them to engage in sexual acts and relationships.
A summary of Hinduism Views on Homosexuality
While a section of Hindu teachings oppose homosexuality, some Hindus do not heed to these teachings and argue in favor of homosexual acts in the society. Proponents of same sex unions, acts and relationships opine that Hindu sacred texts do not limit romantic love to only a man and a woman. Therefore, there is no religious basis to disallow homosexuality among the Hindus, even if other religions hold opposing views.
Proponents of homosexuality also contend that this orientation is not a product of lust. Their argument is based on a belief that homosexuals can also experience romantic feelings just like heterosexuals experience in their relationships. Furthermore, Hindu homosexuals argue that the three functions of marriage, which the Dharma Shastras documents are invalid because the books are not binding. Moreover, the Prajaa may be interpreted in different ways, which do not necessarily involve procreation. For this reason, the issue of continuity of family lineage cannot be a reason to either outlaw or support homosexual behavior. On this account, supporters of homosexuality argue that they have a right to marry.
Another instance in which Hinduism views on homosexuality differ is regarding sexual expression among loving individuals. Proponents argue that such expression is not about lust but about love and devotion to another person’s happiness. Thus, homosexuals should be allowed to express their love sexually without any limitation based on their orientation. From this analysis, it is evident that Hindus hold diverse opinions on same sex relationship. While some sources of scripture like the Veda outlaw homosexuality, proponents argue that the early writings are not binding and do not explicitly, recognize men and woman in romantic relationships.
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by GSN Contributor