By Clandest Singh
Special to The Post
Pritham bhagauti simar ke, Guru Nanak layee dhiaae…
With these opening lines of the daily ardaas, a prayer that Sikhs perform daily across the globe, I would like to welcome you all to this brand new blog series.
These articles were inspired by an inner urge to do something to reach out to the public, South Asian and non-South Asian alike.
This work is intended to provide an insight to what life is like to live as a ‘minority within a minority’ - to show it feels to be marginalized from all ends, to know so many people are going through what you’re going through, suffering in the same solitude, that same stoic manner.
Being gay is hard enough, being a gay person of South Asian decent in North America is even harder.
Now being a South Asian-North American gay person who is also a devoutly religious person - wooo! Ain’t that a doozy?
When I bring this topic up, I can’t help but see the awkward shifts of people in their seats and the uncomfortable arm scratches and side-glances.
Why is this reaction so prevalent?
Why is it such a knee-jerk reaction?
Lack of discussion and lack of exposure.
This blog will hopefully provide, a dynamic look into the life of gay brother, a gay brother in faith, a gay brother in humanity.
From a Sikhi perspective, the Scripture and God I talk to daily focus on kindness, equality, and the oneness of humanity.
So why do we draw such arbitrary lines?
I will discuss more about homosexuality and Sikhi in this series.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Part One - Journey Out of the Closet
You typically hear people talk about how they always felt a little different, how they always kind of felt a sense of disconnect from the ‘norm’ of society.
I was no different, for as long back as I can remember, I was that kid that oddball kid who never quite fit in with the crowd, always on the side or playing with the girl.
However, unlike some, my journey out of the closet began with my venturing deeper into it.
I still remember it vividly.
I was watching a classic Bollywood flick with the family, my older cousins had come over and like older teen-aged brown male cousins do, were making snide comments about the actresses in the movie, and I remember looking at the movie and not seeing where they were coming from.
That night I remember having a war with my brain: “How could this be? Guys? I can’t like guys? Does that even exist? I thought gay was just a jeering remark you make at a friend? This can’t be right.”
I convinced myself that I was indeed an abomination and I began a destructive path of self-hate that would follow me throughout my high school years.
I would constantly down-trodden myself, remaining isolated from everyone.
I refused to get too close with anybody.
Little did I know I wasn’t really helping anyone.
I was doing much more harm than good.
If only I wasn’t such a disgrace, if only I wasn’t such a disgusting human being… or so I thought.
I remember I would do my prayers and cry and cry and cry until the pages of my English-Gurmukhi gutka (prayer book) would bend and fade from the water damage by my tears.
I would beg for forgiveness for any past mistakes I made.
I would beg God to take it away, to make me straight.
I would give anything, anything for it to go away, anything for me to just be normal, anything to stop being who I was ashamed of being.
Six years went by, but no avail…
Part II of this series will be published next week.