Homosexuality & Being a Sikh

Homosexuality & Being a Sikh

Here at SikhNet we often get questions from users on all kinds of topics that normally people might be hesitant to talk about in person. Here is a video of me reading one such question to Guruka Singh. The topic of the video is about homosexuality and what that might mean to people who are Sikhs.

I have no idea how many Sikhs have same gender partners, however this topic is brought up from time to time by people who have expressed a lot of hardship in dealing with other Sikhs who are judging and criticizing their sexual preference.  I think it is important that we be open to talking about things like this and not be judgmental. I personally know a number of same gender couples that are really awesome people and would never think to judge or criticize their preferences.  A person’s sexuality doesn’t make the person.  Who are we to judge someone else. In any case….here are Guruka Singh’s thoughts on the topic….

For those that are interested, there is a website www.sarbat.net which has information and a support forum for Sikhs who are LGBT.

4 Responses to “Homosexuality & Being a Sikh”

  1. Prithi Hardkaur says:

    Vahiguru ji ka khalsa
    Vahiguru ji ki fateh.

    I wondered how this topic would be approached, but nothing quite prepared me for the number of times I'd smile during the course of this video (and the jhoota one made me laugh out loud!) Guruka is such a treasure.

    With regards to the content of the video, I agree that seeing a conflict between sikhi and sexuality presupposes tension between religious law and homosexuality whereas that is totally assumed. It is brought into the equation from outside and used to justify existing prejudices. The argument against what's "natural" is a common one, for example. You always hear about same sex relationships being unnatural, but what about plastic? that's"unnatural"- or piercing holes in your body to stick metal through it? And yes, Guruka, even giraffes can be gay! :)

    Similarly, and in the same vein, people may point to individual lines of gurbani that they feel justifies or condemns one thing or another, but we need to read each part in the context of the whole to even begin to understand its meaning.

    Something that was mentioned in passing but not explicitly expressed is that many Sikhs (probably 99% in the UK) will say that same sex couples cannot effectively co-habit because, unable to have children they are physically restricted from upholding gristi jeevan. I would say that the context in which that particular requirement was framed was vastly different to the present climate and was merely there to emphasise that you can seek to merge with God without detaching yourself from productive society and becoming a wandering ascetic. Having a job to work hard at, a marriage (also to work at!) and children (to work for!) aren't distractions away from your spiritual path, but the spiritual path itself. They are part of the journey, not an obstacle to it. In the present day where overpopulation is a topic of debate and the average person has more opportunities to offer something back to society, I'm not really sure whether the grsiti jeevan argument stands.

    As for Guruka's comment regarding sexuality and being a sikh, I think he's right to call attention to our attachments and exactly where we see our identity springing from. I have known people in the "LGBT" community who have been totally identified with their sexuality as a major part of who they are, and it was overtly advertised that way to others. Personally, I feel it's important to be accepting of your own sexuality and of others', but also not to fall into the trap of identifying with it and let it define who you are. Sexuality is over-advertised and overrated these days and it's easy to forget that we're just a human being having an experience. To reiterate Guruka, if we're not attached to labels then who cares for attachments to either your sexuality OR your religion?

  2. Sat Mittar says:

    I think perhaps the questioner was wondering if there is anything in the Sikh Scriptures that specifically addresses homosexuality.

  3. Harjinder Singh says:

    I wanted to give this a little thought before I offered my thoughts on this and I have come to effectively two answers.

    There's my answer, based on I suppose my ego and what it has taken in during its years through my upbringing, culture and social interaction and then there is the answer that I conclude from the teachings of our Gurus'.

    In the case of latter, – homosexuality, just like heterosexuality isn't addressed and has no reason to be addressed, I think the video pretty much delivers the same message and I think we confuse the issue by taking lines of Gurbani and effectively lower it to our level by using those lines to "approve" or "dismiss" our arguments. Both sides are as guilty as the other, attempts to define what a single word means without taking the whole context of the line, shabad and the entire Guru Granth Sahib into consideration.

    I think Guruka was looking for an example when he comes up with "apply-orange" but I think one that puts in better context is something like "I am a white human being" or "I am a brown human being" or a "black human being". As if prefixing what you really are – a human being – with a term to identify yourself further means you are any different from each other. You are a human being, you are a human being, You are a Sikh, you are a Sikh, let's not complicate it any further but prefixing other labels to it.

    Now the first answer, based upon my ego, if you like. I don't have a problem with people being heterosexual, homosexual, bi-sexual, tri-sexual, whatever you want to call it. I am happy to work, conduct business or be friends with anyone of any of the previous based entirely on how they are as a person and not what brand of sexuality they are.

    I DO have a problem, so to say, in people flaunting it and advertising it for whatever purpose. What you do in your bedroom behind closed doors, is your business, I don't need to know about it.

    Now, this is where it gets messy, if you like. I do feel very uncomfortable with the idea of a same sex Anand Karaj ceremony. I'm happy for homosexuals to be what they are but I do have trouble reconciling them celebrating this union through a religious act which exists for the union of man and woman. I know this issue isn't addressed or even part of the original question but I suspect (a wild leap, yes) that those who seek to "promote" sexuality would see that as the end game if you like.

    I also see the link provided after the video as being a contradiction to the original video, where the video is saying "why do you feel the need to identify your religion (belief system) with your sexuality?" The link below does just that. The first message from the site is it's definition which says "LGBT Sikhs".

  4. Brian Singh says:

    Just one thing to point out. You guys should learn to pronounce the work SIKH properly. It is not SEEEKH, just SIKH. If we don't say it properly, how can we expect the others to.