The focus of this report is to understand sexuality in the context of a Sikh worldview, from a Gurmat (Guru’s Way) perspective, as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle).
A global survey, included in the report, was presented to 1,212 self- identified Sikhs from 31 countries. The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into Sikh thoughts and feelings surrounding sexuality today.
Overall, responses outlined a clear understanding that lust and sex are not synonymous — importantly, neither are sex and sexuality. There was also a clear consensus that Sikh institutions must play some role in providing nonjudgmental support and resources to Sikhs of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
This report presents recommendations based on the Gurmat components on both the individual and institutional levels. Bani, Tavarikh, and Rahit offer guidance to individuals on their journeys in understanding their sexuality, encouraging them to seek guidance from the Guru Granth Sahib, support from their peers, and to develop a personal relationship with IkOankar. The Gurmat framework offers guidance for institutions towards taking the lead on deeper discussions surrounding sexuality and queerness, providing resources, support, and education for teens and adults from the Gurmat perspective, rather than using fear and shame-based teaching. The report concludes that fostering these attitudes of openness, non-judgment, and support at an individual level and amongst smaller communities within the Panth will ultimately lead to larger changes in sexuality being discussed individually and institutionally.
Sexuality is a confusing and often avoided topic. Therefore people often turn to religion, seeking concrete moral pronouncements. The framing of sexuality takes extremes in various traditions, religious and non-religious, with ideas of asceticism and abstinence rooted in the belief that indulgence is worldly entanglement on one extreme and a more tantric indulgence, rooted in the belief that pleasure is a release, on the other. Such moral pronouncements typically place sexuality into this box of negative extremes. For the purpose of this report, sexuality is understood as:
1. How one experiences sexual and romantic attraction (if at all).
2. One’s interest in and preferences around sexual and romantic relationships and behavior.
How does Sikhi shape human behavior, and what is its outlook on issues surrounding sex, pleasure, procreation, and sexual preferences? How does this outlook connect to our ideas about relationships, morality, spirituality, and society?
A survey of 1,212 self-identified Sikhs from 31 different countries was conducted. The purpose of this survey was to gain insight into Sikh thoughts and feelings surrounding sexuality today. Responses outlined a clear understanding that lust and sex are not synonymous — importantly, neither are sex and sexuality — and a clear belief that Sikh institutions must play some role in providing nonjudgmental support and resources to Sikhs of all gender identities and sexual orientations in order to educate and engage with a diverse community, facilitating hard conversations in safe spaces.
The Sikhi & Sexuality report makes recommendations based on Gurmat (the Guru’s Way) as inferred from Bani (wisdom), Tavarikh (history), and Rahit (lifestyle) that can be used by individuals and institutions to provide support to those coming to terms with their sexuality as well as those with questions about sexuality.