Earlier in September an open letter was published by TheGayUK written by a couple in Lewes, who challenged East Sussex County Council about the sale of a former school site to a organisation they described as a ‘homophobic sect’.


Within the letter Tony Leonard & Dominic McCartan wrote that the organisation Subud was planning to provide a range of therapies and counselling, some of which they worried would be targeted at homosexuals to “cure” homosexuality.

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Subud have written to us to explain their position – here is the organisation’s response:

Subud Lewes has apologised unreservedly for the text on homosexuality published in ‘Bapak’s Advice and Guidance to Helpers’ and has requested immediate action to remove the statement and any similar offensive written material both nationally and internationally.

As a result to date this publication has been taken down from the website of Subud USA. We are currently in dialogue with the World Subud Chair to review all our publications for any remaining items that are considered offensive.

The World Subud Association “does not discriminate on any basis, including nationality, gender, colour, age, or sexual orientation. Subud is not a religion and is open to persons of all faiths and those who do not follow religions. WSA and other Subud organizations do not have a policy or practice to change the religious beliefs or practices of Subud members (or non-members), their sexual orientation, or their rights to state their views on such subjects, consistent with their own religions and the laws of the countries in which they reside”quoted fromhttp://www.subud.com/organization.html

We are a non-denominational organisation that embraces diversity in every respect.

The offensive paragraph was contained in a letter to a member by the founder of Subud in 1976. He was from Indonesia, of an older generation and different cultural tradition. The comments were subsequently published, out of context, in the aforementioned book in 1988.

We are mortified by the offence this has caused and can still cause to members of the LGBQT community both within and outside of Subud. What is inexcusable and shocking is that the offending comment was retained in a 2013 reprint of the book even though a new replacement book under a different title was published in 2005 which rightly contains no references to homosexuality.

Apart from checking other publications for any offending text we have contacted Stonewall and asked them for advice on other ways we can work to ensure we are truly inclusive and supportive to all our members.

We warmly invite everyone to meet with us at our next open evening on Friday the 26th of September between 19:00 and 20:30 at 26 Station Street Lewes.


Annabella Ashby

Chair, Subud Lewes Group

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