Thai TV discusses cross-dressing gay Buddhist monks for first time

The Venerable Tanaisawan George Chandha-dhammo has told a Thai current affairs show that he sees no conflict between his attraction to men and his past as a cross-dresser with his current life as a Buddhist monk in the first time the issue has been discussed on TV

Thai TV discusses cross-dressing gay Buddhist monks for first time
28 April 2014

An interview with an openly gay Buddhist monk who used to be a cross-dresser has caused controversy in Thailand with state censors holding the broadcast back for a month before they decided it could go to air.

The Venerable Tanaisawan George Chandha-dhammo, a 28-year-old monk at Vivegvanaram Monastery in Hat Yai, Songkhla province in southern Thailand, gave the interview with current affairs show Woody Talk in March but authorities initially thought it was too controversial to air.

It is believed this is the first time the issue has been allowed to be discussed on Thai television.

In the interview the Venerable George defended his appropriateness to be ordained a monk, saying he lives by the same monastic code as heterosexual monks, which includes abstinence from sex, and that he had left his past life as a kathoey behind him.

‘Transvestites and gays also wish to attain Nirvana,’ the Venerable George says in the interview.

Thai culture includes feminine gay men, transvestite gay men and transgender women under the same cultural identity as kathoeys as a third gender, and the Venerable George had been a cross-dressing gay man prior to his ordination.

The issue of gay monks first hit the news in May of last year when a series of photos emerged on social media of young gay monks posing with their robes arranged like women’s clothing, and the Venerable George was questioned about a photo on his social media.

He replied that because of his past as a cross-dresser other monks often joked with him and that the photo had just been innocent fun.

The show invited four senior monks from other parts of Thailand and asked them if they accepted the Venerable George as a monk.

One said that he did, while the other said that he would have to eliminate all of his feminine traits before he could fully accept him as a monk. The others did not give their position on camera.

The show also spoke to the Venerable Jazz, a famous kathoey performer and model, who had had artificial breasts removed in order to be ordained as a monk a year ago.

Jazz said the operation had been the right thing to do to conform to the monastic code that had been established by the Buddha.

The show’s host left viewers with an open verdict on whether kathoeys who had been transvestites were acceptable as monks, simply saying that all Buddhist should strive to be the best people they can be.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson tie the knot

Late last month, both were arrested for a a fight they had in their Arizona home
A Eurovision dilemma for Denmark

A Eurovision dilemma for Denmark

Debate rages as to which city will be selected to host the 2014 international song contest.
No thumbnail available

Mother of bullied suicide boy denies he was gay

At the funeral in Rome, Italy, the mother of the 15-year-old boy who hanged himself says that 'the only pink was that of his sensibility'
No thumbnail available

Lover threatened to kill Britain’s top gay cop Brian Paddick

Senior police officer turned politician Brian Paddick has revealed he was in an abusive relationship
No thumbnail available

Hero who helped save life of Gabby Giffords target of recall and anti-gay smear campaign

Daniel Hernandez Jr. is member of a school board in Arizona
No thumbnail available

'Fearless' Ellen honored at comedy award

Lesbian comedian Ellen DeGeneres hailed as a trailblazer at Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
No thumbnail available

Gay kiss exhibition in Rome destroyed by vandals

Police are investigating after a group of young thugs had attacked a photo exhibition, an installation already the subject of protest by the Catholic Church
No thumbnail available

Russian gang leader who tortured gays on camera jailed for 5 years

Maxim 'Machete' Martsinkevich, leader of the group ‘Occupy Pedophilia,’ will spend the next 5 years in a Russian penal colony – but the penalty is for his racism not his persecution of LGBTIs
No thumbnail available

Aussie swimming champ Ian Thorpe explains why gay rumors upset him

The only part that I'm frustrated with is that people think that I'm lying."
South African lesbian teen commits suicide after mom beats her

South African lesbian teen commits suicide after mom beats her

The 18-year-old woman leaves behind a heart-breaking letter after being beaten for being a lesbian