Homosexuality in Sikhism is, as in other religions, a very controversial subject. This is especially true in societies that are more tolerant of homosexuality. Most Sikhs however do not strongly disapprove of homosexuality.
Homosexuality in the Guru Granth Sahib
The Sikh sacred text, the Guru Granth Sahib, is the highest authority in Sikhism. It is silent on the subject of homosexuality. However, there are parts of the Guru Granth Sahib that have been interpreted to mean that homosexuality is wrong.
There are five vices outlined in the Guru Granth Sahib that are to be avoided by Sikhs. These vices are called the Five Thieves. They are Pride (a’Hankar), Anger (Kr’odh), Greed (Lob’H), Attachment (Mo’H), and Lust (K’haam). Many Sikhs believe that homosexual thoughts and behaviour are just manifestations of lust, and that it is therefore forbidden.
However, other Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak's emphasis on universal equality and brotherhood is fundamentally in support of gay rights. This view is held by a minority of Sikhs, many of whom have been born/raised in countries that are more tolerant towards homosexuality. Some Sikhs have even gone so far as to describe homosexuals as "the new Untouchables" in reference to Sikhism's rejection of the Indian caste system.
Importance of Family Life in Sikhism
One of Sikhism underlying values is family living. Sikhs are expected to live in a family environment in order to conceive and nurture their children in order to perpetuate God's creation. Any alternative manner of living is prohibited specifically a celibate lifestyle. Most Sikhs assume this means homosexuality, which cannot result in procreation, is unnatural and against God's will.
Acceptance of God's will is seen as central in Sikhism, thus even if a Sikh is attracted exclusively to members of their own sex they are expected to accept God's will, which (in the eyes of the vast majority of Sikhs) is for them to procreate. Many Sikhs who have homosexual desires will try to overcome what they believe is lust by marrying a member of the opposite sex and having children as they are expected to. This has led to a belief among many Sikhs that there are no gay or lesbian Sikhs. This belief can cause much distress amongst young Sikhs who find themselves attracted to members of the same sex.
Those Sikhs who are supportive of homosexuality believe that there is nothing unnatural about homosexuality and that it is perfectly normal for a minority of adults. They believe that the concept of family is not restricted to a man and a woman and their biological children, but can come in many other forms including same-sex couples.
This article incorporates text from "Homosexuality and Sikhism" at Wikipedia.org, and is available under the GFDL license.
- Homosexual Unions - Sikh Sundesh: Sikhism's Universal Message
- Sikhism in the 21st Century - Sikhs.org
- lgtbi sikhs