Zoroastrianism and sexual orientation

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Homosexuality in Zoroastrianism is, as in many other religions, a controversial topic. Orthodox Zoroastrians tend to favor the suppression of homosexuality in their community.

Homosexuality in scripture[edit]

The most sacred scripture of Zoroastrianism is called the Avesta. The oldest portion of the Avesta are the writings of Zarathustra himself and called the Gathas[1]. Within the Gathas, there is no mention of homosexuality, nor indeed, sexuality in general. Reformist Zoroastrians who reject the later writings in the Avesta as being corruptions of Zarathustra's original teachings believe this makes homosexuality not prohibited.[citation needed]

However, most Zoroastrians of Asia accept the entire Avesta as their religious guide, including the Vendidad, a collection of 22 Fargards or precepts concerned with religious purity and moral codes. The traditional Zoroastrians argue that the Vendidad was always an inherent part of Zoroastrian oral tradition, only compiled later than other parts of the Avesta. [2] [3] [4]

The Vendidad states:

"The man that lies with mankind as man lies with womankind, or as woman lies with mankind, is a man that is a Daeva [demon]; this man is a worshipper of the Daevas, a male paramour of the Daevas"

This passage has been interpreted to mean that homosexuality is a form of demon worship and thus sinful. Ancient commentary on this passage suggests that those engaging in sodomy could be killed without permission from the Dastur.

Zoroastrianism has been said to have a "hatred of male anal intercourse", reflected in at least one mythological tale. When Ahriman, the "Spirit of Aridity and Death" and "Lord of Lies", sought to destroy the world, he engaged in self-sodomy. This homosexual self intercourse caused an "explosion of evil power" and resulted in the birth of a host of evil minions.[1]

Apart from the Vendidad, the Pahlavi scriptures, later religious Persian books considered sacred by many Zoroastrians, also strongly forbid sodomy. [5]

Bisexual Zoroastrians[edit]

Two noted bisexual Zoroastrians have been the rock star Freddie Mercury and Swedish pop star Alexander Bard.


  1. ^ Long, p. 68

Further reading[edit]

  • Long, Ronald Edwin (2004). Men, homosexuality, and the Gods: an exploration into the religious significance of male homosexuality in world perspective. Haworth Press. ISBN 978-1-56023-152-3. 

External links[edit]