I am currently in the research phase of writing a fictional novel set in 18th century India. I know this has nothing to do what so ever with science and lesbian scientists, but in my readings I have come across the progressive Hindu view on love, including same-sex love.
In the article, Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India in the Feminist Review, Ruth Vanita discusses how in modern progressive Hinduism and medieval Hindu texts there is acceptance of same-sex love. This acceptance is based on the idea that love is the product of attachments formed in former lives and that these attachments persist from one birth to another (rebirth) and that marriage is supposed to outlast one lifetime. That a couple in love, whether same or opposite sex, of a different class or caste, must have been lovers in a former life and that they are destined to be together. Through this belief, same-sex couples in love and wishing to marry achieve some acceptance. Some Hindu practitioners/scholars have suggested that same sex couples must have been cross sex couples in a former life and that marriage is the union of two spirits/souls and the spirit is sexless.
Although I am primarily an atheist (with some spiritual beliefs) and am skeptical about the concept of reincarnation, rebirth and past lives, the concept of love outlasting a lifetime and that two souls/spirits have been previously in love is an extremely romantic and wonderful view, even of it is not physically possible. And this concept and way to explain same sex love touches a cord with me. The feminist in me however doesn’t totally like the idea that same sex lovers were cross sex lovers in a past live, for the reason to explain same sex love in the concept of heterosexual love, but nonetheless this is an interesting concept.
I think that it is an extremely positive thing, that one of the world’s largest religions has, in some sections, an accepting view of same sex love. It would be great if Christianity and Islam were to develop a more accepting view (there are some areas of Christianity and Islam (Sufism) that appear to be a bit more accepting that other areas of these religions).
Vanita, R (2009) Same-sex weddings,Hindu traditions and Modern India, Feminist Review 91:47-60