I just saw some great pictures from the Vaisakhi celebration in Los Angeles, California and it was really great to see the below photo showing Khalsa women as Panj Piaray as well as Granthi. You don’t see there very much. Too often I think many Sikhs get stuck on the gender issue with the thought that only men can be part of the Panj. Khalsa has no gender and the Panj is not exclusive to men. I grew up learning about Sikhi as Genderless. I don’t recall Guru Gobind Singh saying, ‘If there are five MEN together then I will be present…’. I have always understood it as if there are ‘five Sikhs’… (whatever the gender) then Guru Gobind Singh is present.
I think it is great seeing images such as these which empower Khalsa women as well as give way to change which is happening slowly.