Being an LGBTQ+ identifying Sikh can be incredibly difficult in the dating world. In any form of sexual relationship the first thing people look at is your physical appearance. Feeling sexy and wanted by a partner can work all sorts of wonders for your self esteem and body image. Don't ever sacrifice your image to fit certain ideals of beauty, there is nothing more sexy than confidence in your own skin, others attract that energy.
If you have casual romantic partners, there are many things to consider for your Sikhi and mental health. Spiritually, exhausting efforts for you next sexual fix is draining and the fire of desire burns away at you. In turn, this can have an effect on your mental health where by the gratification of quick sex no longer has its desired effects.
With dating being so restrictive for those who are not 'out', there are higher chances of LGBTQ+ youth under 16 placing themselves in danger on adult dating apps. Also, at risk of sexual exploitation and placing their health in danger.
ਕਾਮੁ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੁ ਕਾਇਆ ਕਉ ਗਾਲੈ ॥ ਜਿਉ ਕੰਚਨ ਸੋਹਾਗਾ ਢਾਲੈ ॥
kaam krodhh kaaeiaa ko gaalai || jio kanchan sohaagaa dtaalai ||
Unfulfilled sexual desire and unresolved anger waste the body away, as gold is dissolved by borax – Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Raamkalee on Pannaa (page) 929
Where is the crime in loving?
Telling people to not date is impractical, everyone needs human interaction and love. There is this narative created by the Sikh community that has criminalized loving relationships and is very much clutching on to arranged marrigaes. The recitiation of romantic stories from the ages have been used to highlight the relationship between a Sikh and their guru. However, using gurbani in its literal meaning has been used to demonized human feeling.
The lovers Laila and Majanu are well known in all the quarters of the world.
The excellent song of Sorath and Bija is sung in every direction.
The love of Sassi and Punnü, though of different castes, is everywhere spoken of.
The fame of Sohni who used to swim the Chenab river in the ht to meet Mahival is well known.
Ranjha and Hir are renowned for the love they bore each other.
But superior to all is the love the disciples bear their Guru, they sing it at the ambrosial hour of morning. ~ Bhai Gurdas Ji Vaaran - Pannaa 27
Having been within the khalsa fold for 11 years I have witnessed many of the customs and norms within the subcultures of orthodoxy. Romance is banned amongst the orthodox, yet there are many secrets amongst them kept under the carpet;
- Unmarried Sikh couples misscarrying
- Unmarried Sikh couples aborting
- Unmarried Sikh couples meeting up secretly
- Unmarried Sikh couples engaging in risky sexual behaviour
It is clear to see that there are many social issues that go undiscussed, the current model of not addressing these things force people to rebel and 'get up to no good'.
The Sikh marriage rights are performed when two souls come together in the presence of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the master) and Laavan are read. Thus binding two souls into one. This is also a spiritual marriage of these souls to their lord god. The idea that marriage is for procreation, is false. Nowhere in Gurbani (master’s revelations) does it command people to marry only to bear children. Although you can be born into a family of Sikhs, your Sikhi is to be earned. Furthermore, if marriage is only for procreation then there would be limitations put on sterile women, and men passed the age of virility, however, this is not the case. Again no such things have been mentioned in any Panthic Maryada (community conduct). Moreover, The Lavaan are non-gender specific, and so same-sex marriage is possible (In Theory).
Laavan (Sikh Marriage Rights) - https://tinyurl.com/ybraqv28
ਕੂੜੁਮੀਆਕੂੜੁਬੀਬੀਖਪਿਹੋਏਖਾਰੁ|| koorr meeaa koorr beebee khap hoeae khaar ||
False is the husband, false is the wife; they mourn and waste away – Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji written by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Aasaa on Pannaa (page) 468
But where do we draw the line?
This is something that must be collectively agreed upon as a nation. I am no leader nor an elected spokesperson. I pray for the day we can discuss such topics and address many pressing issues faced by our community, instead of sweeping them under the carpet.
Can we be openly LGBTQ+ and a Sikh?
For the baptised Sikhs I say this. Marrying the same sex in an Anand Karaj (the official Sikh marriage act) is currently a no go. However, nothing stops you from having a spiritual or civil ceremony, you don’t need to alienate gurbani (scripture) from your life in this matter.