⟵ Back to Articles

Sikhi & Sexuality

State of the Panth – Report 6

Wednesday
,
9
September
2020

Sikhi & Sexuality

State of the Panth – Report 6

Wednesday
,
9
September
2020
State of the Panth
Sikhism
⟵ Back to articles

Sikhi & Sexuality

State of the Panth – Report 6

Wednesday
,
9
September
2020
Sexuality is a confusing and often avoided topic. It is generally relegated to being a "private" matter, and therefore not openly discussed or engaged with, even within close circles and small communities. Due to the taboo of discussing sexuality, many people struggle individually, often turning to religion for guidance or, more concretely, moral pronouncements.

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.

Download the resources below.

Revised:

This Content has been made available for educational purposes only. SikhRI does not make any representation concerning the completeness of the Content. This Content is not intended to substitute research or a deeper understanding of the topic. SikhRI encourages readers to read multiple authors to gain a complete understanding of the topic.

Sikhi & Sexuality – Report

This is the full, downloadable PDF of the the State of the Panth report "Sikhi & Sexuality."

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).

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.

DownloadDownload

Download Now

Sikhi & Sexuality – Report

Fill out the form to the right to access this resource.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Sikhi & Sexuality – Raw Data

This is a download of the raw source data that was generated for the State of the Panth report "Sikhi & Sexuality."

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.

DownloadDownload

Download Now

Sikhi & Sexuality – Raw Data

Fill out the form to the right to access this resource.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Written By

Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

Harinder Singh is the Senior Fellow at the Sikh Research Institute. He holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering from Wichita State University, an MS in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas, and an MPhil from Punjab University in the linguistics of the Guru Granth Sahib. 

View profile ⟶
Researcher

Jasleen Kaur is a Research Associate at the Sikh Research Institute. She has received a Religious Studies B.A./M.A. from the University of Virginia, focusing on South Asian Religions through the lens of literature and poetry.

View profile ⟶

Share on Social Media

Latest Articles

Friday
,
20
May
2022

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (1718-1783) was one of the most outstanding leaders Sikhs have had. As a leader, he prepared the Sikh community to take control of its own destiny in the most troubled times and write a chapter on its own in the annals of history.

Jassa Singh Ahluwalia (1718-1783) was one of the most outstanding leaders Sikhs have had. As a leader, he prepared the Sikh community to take control of its own destiny in the most troubled times and write a chapter on its own in the annals of history. His leadership helped the Sikh community through multiple genocidal campaigns and turned out sovereigns in Panjab, a North-Western region in South Asia.

READ More ⟶
Monday
,
21
March
2022

Paigham-i-Goya: An Expression of Love

A new translation and brief essay on the fifty-second ghazal from Bhai Nand Lal’s Divan-i-Goya.

A new translation and brief essay on the fifty-second ghazal from Bhai Nand Lal’s Divan-i-Goya.‍

READ More ⟶
Friday
,
11
March
2022

1947: The Sikhs & The Panjab

Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) is pleased to announce the upcoming conference on the 1947 Partition on 1 October 2022. We invite submissions from scholars, writers, leaders, activists, creatives, and those who want to consider the intricate dynamics of nationalism pertaining to the Sikhs and the Panjab during the 1947 Partition.

Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI) is pleased to announce the upcoming conference on the 1947 Partition on 1 October 2022. We invite submissions from scholars, writers, leaders, activists, creatives, and those who want to consider the intricate dynamics of nationalism pertaining to the Sikhs and the Panjab during the 1947 Partition.

READ More ⟶

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed with our weekly updates, important events and more at SikhRI.

Thank you! Your submission has been received.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.