I have never considered myself to be a religious person. But as certain things in my life recently have made me realize, religion still remains an important aspect for many individuals, and accepting their own sexuality for religious people is often a very tough task. Sikhism as a religion is very tolerant and advocates equality.
There have been articles by various people about how there are no references to homosexuality and homophobia in Guru Granth Sahiband if our Gurus had considered it an important subject to be dealt by religion, they would have addressed it. One such article was published in Gaylaxy magazine itself previously.
However, Punjabi culture is often not so tolerant. Here, there is a need to distinguish between Sikhs and Punjabis. While Sikh religion clearly forbids discrimination of people on the basis of caste, class, gender, etc, the caste system is still prevalent in Punjab.
Punjab along with Haryana has the most dismal sex ratio in India. Female foeticide and the desire of a male child runs very high among Punjabis.
Yet, our Gurus had clearly treated women on par with males. When the Khalsa Panth was established by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, all Sikhs were given the title of Singh and women of Kaur meaning Princesswhich was clearly to remove the identification of the caste of a person on the basis of his title. That Guru Gobind Singh Ji accorded the title of Kaur Princess itself denotes the high significance and respect he gave to women. Women participated in Langaras, fought as warriors alongside men against the Mughal forces.
Yet, in Punjab and among most Punjabis elsewherethe story today is somewhat different, and can be gauged by the low sex ratio in Punjab. To be precise, Sikh religion and Punjabi culture are not always the same, though often they are confused to be the same.
Punjabi society in general is very patriarchal, conservative, and as the recent stance by some of the religious heads in the Sec case proves, homophobic. This however stands in direct conflict with the religion. The aim was to give the Sikh community a unique identity and develop a clan of fearless people.
This was especially significant during the Mughal period as Hindus were either being persecuted or forcefully converted to Islam.
Thus, our Guru developed a community which would be easily identifiable at a time of atrocities, yet would be fearless and brave enough to fight against oppression and injustice. Now, when a LGBT Sikh fears coming out, fears the society and hides his identity, he is going against the very things that the Gurus taught. Guru Gobind Singh Ji never wanted his followers to hide their identity, yet, when you live in the closet, that is the exact thing that you do- hide your true identity.
If anything, Sikh religion is not against alternate sexuality, neither does it preach a person to live in fear or hide his identity. It is when you, as a Sikh, are living in closet, living in fear that you are going against the religion, against the preaching of the Gurus. Fellow brothers and sisters, if you are gay, or if you are being open about it, remember, that is what our Gurus would have also wanted you to do.
"Sikhism and homosexuality and christianity" you are a LGBT Sikh and open about it, you are not going against the religion; instead, you are just being a true follower of the Guru.
Sukhdeep Singh is a Facebook addict who works as a software engineer by day and transforms into a writer at night. He is also the founder and editor of Gaylaxy magazine. This article was previously published on Gaylaxy Magazine and has been re-published here with their consent.