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Reaffirming Our Inherent Dignity

Photo by Otis Richardson.

by Ericka Jones, Selina Carroll, Ron Goode, Briana Boche and Will Moody
SGI-USA Courageous Freedom Group Leaders

At the inaugural LGBTQ+ conference held at the Florida Nature and Culture Center (FNCC) in 2001, Ikeda Sensei sent a message to the participants, saying: “Buddhism upholds equality and expounds supreme humanism. All human beings have equal rights. There is no difference whatsoever in their inherent dignity. So, no matter what you may face, please live with pride, confidence and courage” (April 17, 2015, World Tribune, p. 6). 

When our LGBTQIA2S+[1] auxiliary group was named the Courageous Freedom Group in 2015, we made a powerful determination to transform the ignorance, prejudice and disrespect for life found in our society. We determined to do so by revealing our true identity as Bodhisattvas of the Earth through our own human revolution. 

Now, 23 years after Sensei’s declaration, we have seen great strides in our society to prevent discrimination based on sexuality, romantic preference and gender identity. However, there is much left to be done to transform mistrust into understanding and hate into compassion within the human heart—this is the eternal mission that we have joyfully taken on as Bodhisattvas of the Earth to propagate the Mystic Law! To this end, as we look forward to our wonderful districts reopening in people’s homes this summer, we are excited to announce two Courageous Freedom activities: 

1. Virtual Introduction-to-Buddhism meetings will be held at the territory level. 

2. Our annual FNCC Courageous Freedom Conference, themed “Emerging Courageously to Transform the Land,” will be held in August. 

These activities, open to all LGBTQIA2S+ people and allies, are places for us all to reaffirm our inherent dignity and discover how we can each become a pioneer of worldwide kosen-rufu. See you there! 

June 9, 2023, World Tribune, p. 4


  1. LGTBQIA2S+ is an acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two-Spirit and the countless affirmative ways in which people choose to self-identify. ↩︎

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