Question: Is being gay or lesbian unacceptable in Buddhism? What are the effects of being so? How do I know if I’m prone to being homosexual?
Answer: From our knowledge, there is no record of the Buddha’s teachings saying homosexuality is unacceptable. As with heterosexuality, both sides are subject to lust, which is eventually to be transcended as part of Dharma practice, for liberation to be possible. In the mean time, the Third Precept of respect for personal relationships by avoiding sexual misconduct such as infidelity is equally applicable for both kinds of sexuality. E.g Although there might be no gay/lesbian marriage between two, the equivalent of expressed commitment might be there.
The effects of being gay/lesbian are wide and varied, as in the case of heterosexuals too. Some live lives exactly like heterosexuals openly, while many more keep their sexuality secret in fear of discrimination by society. In this sense, some homosexuals might live more troubled lives. However, for those who have no fear of discrimination and can handle it well, they might not feel troubled at all. Then again, there are heterosexuals who lived troubled sexual lives too, who fret and suffer from discrimination in similar ways.
If general attraction, attachment and lust arises continually and strongly from same gender persons, one might be gay/lesbian. However, the truth is, in the rounds of rebirth, everything is dynamic. People can change their preferences, although in the realm of sexuality, it is a slower long-drawn process. E.g. most are born homosexual or heterosexual due to past life influences, and do not so much consciously choose to suddenly change their orientation in this life. If any form of sexuality is fixated upon as a form of attachment from life to life, it would be impossible to transcend sexuality altogether.
All in all, be it heterosexuality or homosexuality, everyone sexual in nature is still trapped by lust, which means no one is particularly better off and all should strive towards the eventual dissolution of lust in good time, as lust is one of the key factors that fuels the rounds of otherwise endless rebirth. In this sense, being homosexual or heterosexual is equally okay, yet equally not okay too! This is why, for monastics, being more focused on Dharma practice, practise to renounce all forms of sexuality.