How is homosexuality viewed in non-Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions?

Just curious, how do current non-Judeo-Christian-Islamic cultures and their associated religions view human homosexuality as a behavioral trait?

I lived in Japan for a year, and have had Japanese lovers for over 30 years (serially, not at the same time) so I have some experience in this area but it’s probably not definitive. Here are some reflections.

The primary religions in Japan (Buddhism, Shinto) don’t have much specific to say about homosexuality as such. However, Shinto especially would probably look down on anything that might detract from a healthy population growth and good solid family life.

Outside of what you might think of as the “usual” professions (entertainment, hairdressing, fashion design) homosexuality is still regarded as strange; that is, not immoral, just weird enough that if you were openly gay you wouldn’t get promoted in the usual way in your office job, for example (only slightly worse than if you just never married). I think most Japanese still think that men who are gay are “bent” and abnormal, and so would be unreliable professionally and probably personally. But if your best friend told you he was gay, you would probably still be friends because you knew and liked him before you would have judged him by the stereotypes.

I think most Japanese people would assume that they don’t know anyone who is gay. My partner is Japanese (and gay, for the record) and I think everyone in his family knows, and they treat me very nicely when I visit. But we absolutely don’t talk about it with them. And if we got married, we wouldn’t tell them. Like pretty much everyone in the world, if there is a group with a questionable reputation, and you don’t know any counter-examples personally, you will tend to believe what you hear and judge accordingly. Add to that Japan’s general preference for uniformity and compliance with custom, and you get their cultural blindness on this issue.

eta to add this caveat: most Japanese people that I have interacted with in the past 20 years have been in my own generation (boomer) so attitudes among younger people may have changed there, as they have here.

In the very scriptural view of Theravada Buddhism, homosexuality is viewed as more-or-less coeval with heterosexuality, in that neither are as good as celibate monkhood. There is a word in Pali, “pandaka,” that is hard to translate - it refers to some kind of person, and that sort of person is not allowed to ordain as a monk. In some renderings, it refers to any sort of homosexual man (and explicitly mentions men who swallow the semen of others). It also includes men who were born with intermediary or hermaphroditic genitals, or who were born with whole genitals but lose them later. (If, for instance, you get your balls torn off in a tragic accident, ala the Duke from the Incal, then - regardless of your sexuality or gender or gender presentation - you instantly become pandaka.)

The monastic community is still trying to figure this out, but the general understanding among Buddhist lay-people is that it’s fine. Having sex isn’t as good as not having sex, but once you’ve decided not to reach for that lofty peak, you can have whatever sex you want (except adulterous sex, which is always forbidden.)

In Confucianism, it’s definitely not okay. Your ancestors spent 10,000 years to get your family line where it is, and you owe it to them to carry that line on. Who you happen to want to have sex with is basically irrelevant to anything. Homosexuality-- at least homosexuality without having a straight family life-- is a dereliction of duty.

In the Maoist era, it was a crime against the state, and seen as an example of the decadent perversions of capitalism. All sex was subject to intrusive controls, and illicit sex of any type could get you killed.

In modern China, it seems a bit mixed. People will say they don’t approve and would be heartbroken to have a gay child. But in cities the gay scenes are thriving and nobody would bat an eye at, say, a gay coworker. Definitely still a lot of stereotypes and untrue rumors, but people are slowly becoming accepting.

I always wonder about principles involving/invoking one’s ancestors and one’s family line, including some I have held. What difference does it make? Your ancestors are dead! They won’t mind.

Being dead, the ancestors don’t have much to keep them occupied BUT mind. Plus, they outnumber you.

You don’t want to run afoul of them. :stuck_out_tongue: