Homosexuality Within Sikhism

Hello everybody!

My name is Sunny and I am a third year student at university currently undertaking a degree in Religious Studies. As part of my course I have decided to look into the sensitive issue of homosexuality within Sikhism and was wondering if anybody could give me there views on such a topic within the Sikh faith and the Sikh panth. I have designed a survey which you can access here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T5VXHBV if you would like to remain anonymous but I would greatly appreciate all the help and support from the members of this forum.

My aim is not to preach or enforce my opinions upon anybody but rather to just gather responses about attitudes towards homosexuality within Sikhism. All information will be treated with respect and if anybody has any questions or queries please do not hesitate to ask me :)


1947-2014 (Archived)
sunny ji

Bravo for taking a big step and deciding to pursue religious studies. I cannot say how impressed I am.

As admin I just have a query or two. As a long time member I will offer a brief take on your question.

To sunnygill19
I need to know if you have human subjects research approval from you college/university to conduct this online survey. If your college/university does not require human subjects approval for projects that are class assignments, let me know. Maybe you could upload pdf of your college/university policy --- nothing big. Or send me a pm with specifics.

To SPN members
I need to caution members that SPN assumes no legal responsibility for any risks associated with taking the survey. To yourself, your computer or your frame of mind.

Having been the author of studies that used online surveys, I can assure SPN members that these are anonymous tools. If you do not wish to be known by name then make sure that you do not identify yourself in any way. Don't, for example, sign off in a comment section with something like "contact me at xxxxx@gmail.com" or "call me at xxx -xxx -xxxx," or type in your name.

Back to sunnygill19 ji

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the sacred canon of the Sikhs, does not forbid homosexuality nor even mention it. Unlike the Hebrew Bible, you won't find language that forbids it. The key to understanding the perspective is through understanding the toll that is taken by lust on the human psyche and our lives and the lives of people around us. As members tackle your question we all need to think about how the impact of lust on our lives shapes the way we think about homosexuality in Sikhi.

I also hope you checked other threads here at SPN on the issue.
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Tejwant Singh

Sunny ji,

Guru Fateh.

I have a better idea. Your post shows that you do have some kind of views regarding homosexuality.

Please share with us first your own views. This forum is based on conversation. Sikhi is open to all. There is nothing anonymous about it nor there is anything to hide.

Let's be open about it in an honest manner.

So, please start the conversation.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
Hello everyone and thank you for the warm response and kind words.

To the admin, I can get my university tutor to clarify that I do not need clarification as I have filled in an ethics form for the particular research that I am focusing on so that will not be a problem.

You are correct Tejwant Singh, I do have my own views on homosexuality within Sikhism and I would greatly appreciate it if i wasn't condemned for my views because they perhaps do not seem to be in line with the general attitudes that I have encountered on the subject especially in regards to close friends and family.

I do not see homosexuality to be seen as negative within Sikhism or rather, ideally I would like to believe that it would be accepted within Sikhism. My reason for such belief is that our Gurus taught about the equality of all human beings and that there is a divine light within each and everyone us and as we are the creation of Waheguru, it is by Waheguru's grace that we, as humans, are made the way that we are even in regards to sexual orientation.

Marriage in Sikhism does not seem to be regarded as the conventional coming together of man and woman as it is in many other faiths but rather the union of one soul that resides in two bodies therefore, for me, personally I would see no issue with same sex relationships or marriage. I understand that there has been emphasis placed upon the Grihasti stage within one's life and the ideals of bringing together a family, producing children and fulfilling the role of a house holder. However, in the society that we live in today there is a huge rise in single parent families and families where two people are not married and the advancements in science means that children can be produce without the conventional methods that were once accepted.

This is just my opinion and like I stated, it is not my aim to preach or enforce my own views and I would very much like to hear others views on this topic :)

Harry Haller

Panga Master
You are correct Tejwant Singh, I do have my own views on homosexuality within Sikhism and I would greatly appreciate it if i wasn't condemned for my views because they perhaps do not seem to be in line with the general attitudes that I have encountered on the subject especially in regards to close friends and family.

I do not see homosexuality to be seen as negative within Sikhism or rather, ideally I would like to believe that it would be accepted within Sikhism. My reason for such belief is that our Gurus taught about the equality of all human beings and that there is a divine light within each and everyone us and as we are the creation of Waheguru, it is by Waheguru's grace that we, as humans, are made the way that we are even in regards to sexual orientation.

Welcome to the forum, there are quite a few of us here that are able to have sensible, intelligent debates that we are unable to have with our families, or fellow Sikhs.

In my opinion your views are fully compatible with Sikhism, and I share them too.


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
sunnygill19 ji thanks for your posts and your topic of research. I wish you good luck indeed.

I agree with your post and spnadmin ji's post as to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji being a love for all teacher versus hater or marginalize others or some teacher. I too have not come across any positive or negative comments specific to Homosexuality in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Of course Akal Takhat Sahib has weighed in to state that it is a no-no for Sikhs to aim for or live as. So Sikhism code of Ethics interpretation is that it is not consistent with Sikhism.

We do need to recognize that life is many faceted. There is religion and there is culture to name two key aspects. Punjabi culture mocks, ridicules and demeans Homosexuality. For me it is perhaps a stronger part of how Homosexuality is perceived in real or practical living within Punjabi-Sikh environs. In non-Punjabi Sikh situations or so called more liberal non-Punjab cultural settings, it may be quite different. Your own views and your post probably expresses that. I believe you need to take a note or follow up on this aspect in your research and studies.
I do believe there may be note you should take about "Homosexuality" and "Homosexual Marriage" as probably there will be differences of opinion there as well and likely a significant difference. I cannot see a "Man" holding another"Man's Palla/cloth over the shoulder" while circling Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in prakash/in-service. I know it will draw chuckles if not hostility from a large portion of the Sangat.

Good luck and Sat Sri Akal.
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I do believe there may be note you should take about "Homosexuality" and "Homosexual Marriage" as probably there will be differences of opinion there as well and likely a significant difference. I cannot see a "Man" holding another"Man's Palla/cloth over the shoulder" while circling Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in prakash/in-service. I know it will draw chuckles if not hostility from a large portion of the Sangat.

That is the exact issue and real core of this matter !!
I think that we are many years away before this can happen.
Gay marriages have only recently been legalised across the west.

Within sikhism, I'm sure it will eventually happen but not in my lifetime!
Saying that, we have to remember that Akaal Takht (the governing body) did issue a statement a few years ago that it would NOT allow gay marriages in sikhism.
The jathedar spoke against gays and homosexuality and claimed it had no place in sikhism.
This all happened just after India's controversial first 'gay marriage' that took place after some High court battles!!

We also have to remember that ALL the gurus spoke very hard about wiping out caste and not having any castes or groups of people that were classed as 'untouchables'.

However, the way some of us 'oldies' speak, we are just in effect making ALL gays the 'New Untouchables !!'
Therefore, this in my opinion is ''AGAINST" Gurmat pronciples, regardless of what the Jathedar claims !!

I do believe that it can and will happen in the future because the way the newer and younger generations think and accept gays, they treat it all as the norm.
To them it is no big deal and they are aware that you have both gays and non-gays in this world.

Whereas people from my generation had to be instructed and taught about the human rights, especially me as I was raised as a typical old school brit.
In fact, to call someone 'gay' or a 'pufter' was considered such a derogatory remark, that no one dare said or 'talked' about such issues!!
I remember that even in a tv programme called 'Grange Hill' that focused on all the issues that a kid could face in a british school like bullying, racism, sexism, drugs,sex before marriage, one night stands.....etc..
ALL of these issues were dealt with in episodes except for Homosexuality and gays.
There was always a fear and taboo factor that prevented anyone from addressing this issue.

To me and most of the one's in my generation, it doesn't come quite as a natural acceptance like it does to the younger generations.
I will be absolutely honest here, even though some may be offended. But I actually realise that it is the way I was raised that makes my way of thinking!!
For if my kid comes up and tells me they are gay, I would be like ''OK but are you really sure'' ?? (In the back of my mind I will need convincing but I will still be 'trying' to reassure that I'm here and listening!)
I would ask questions like ''Have you tried looking at men/women''....etc ???
It would be more like the questions you ask when someone thinks they are really ill or has some serious deficiency !
I would try very very hard not to make it an issue or problem, but I know that deep down, I would still be thinking 'why' or 'why can't they be like us-their parents?'

You see, I know that I have this weakness in this total acceptance issue since I have just adapted with the times and society, whereas the generation of my kids will have grown up knowing that figures like Ellen, Ricky Martin, Elton John,Jodie Foster ....etc...were ALL famous, successful and very nice people as well as being gay.
To them, it is more acceptable and a way of life.
They already know that you don't treat gays any differently in any way just through the way they are raised, whereas my age group had to be taught.

But I know that if my kids have children in the future who come up to them to tell them they are gay, then they would handle it in a completely more civil and no worrying manner unlike us elders!

The UK has only just in the last few days had MP's voting in majorities for legislation of gay marriages.
I know that this would have been impossible just over a decade ago.
People and the younger generations are moving forward towards a wider acceptance of all gay rights.
Hopefully, there will not be any of our own defined 'untouchables' in the future to come.
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Brother Onam

Since it seems most everyone is coming down on more or less the same side of the issue, let me add a different voice please.
Speaking more broadly, I think there is a unconscious human tendency to believe that we are forever progressing. We are indeed ever moving, but whether that motion takes us forward or not is not as clear. It is human nature to lean towards a feeling that we are at the apex of evolution so far, and that whenever things are developed, it is 'progress'. Cars are improvements over horse drawn carriages; jetliners are improvements over prop airplanes and sailing vessels. Smartphones are improvements over letters...Also that societies are becoming more enlightened, accepting, tolerant, civilized. There is a certain jingoism and arrogance that supposes we are ever on the march towards betterment.
I believe in the sight of the Most High, it may well be that what we regard as 'progress' is instead self-delusion. It's possible that in the scales of Truth, Delhi, Moscow or Pittsburgh, or Paris, were better as forests. That eating fruit from the tree was better than 20 aisles of exciting, colourful dried, canned or packaged groceries. That hearing a symphony of birds was better than a million people walking around absorbed in a cyber-reality brought to them through wires and a hand-held device.
In the West, the apparent arbiter of what is cool, desirable, enlightened and correct, in our rush towards progress, not only is embracing homosexuality the new 'correct', but if one even questions it now, that person is branded a rube, a bigot, a holdover from the dark ages, -some kind of savage.
So in this great spiraling ascent to our golden enlightened destiny, we gloat about how wonderful we've become. All the while, virtually everything we touch, like King Midas in reverse, becomes fouled. It may be argued that rather than enlightenment and glory, the indicators point towards dissolution and collapse. The sun, the universal life-giver, has now become toxic, and we are cautioned to stay out of its exposure without protective creams. The water, that universal life-giver, is poisoned, from streams, groundwater, to the very oceans. The air, without which nothing, including fish, can live, is now so toxic, we are given ozone warnings about when to best stay indoors. Out societies are rife with cussing, ultra-violent video games, one psychotic mass shooting after another; the beautiful clothes and traditions from all around the globe are fast giving way to the ubiquitous baseball cap and jeans. The art of conversation and writing are, in one generation, being reduced to ''lol, like, omg, I'm like, c ya!'.
And in the defining of all this progress, it may be considered that, just perhaps, the acceptance of homosexuality as the only enlightened stance, may also be another fragment of how things in fact are going to pieces, rather than another self-congratulatory stride towards wonderfulness.
By the way, in the continued effort of mental colonialism and 'calling the shots', America has taken it upon herself, now that she has evolved to this rarefied perch of enlightenment, to mock, pillory and berate countries in Africa that happen to view homosexuality as a deviancy or perversion. Visiting heads of state are scolded and pressure is brought to bear at various levels to communicate that Africans are backward and ignorant because of their hesitancy to get with the program. They have the temerity to look at anal intercourse as a deviation from natural sex.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Brother Onam ji

In several threads you have voiced the opinion, in one way or the other, that the US is a bastion of wickedness and political abuse. I can be more specific if you require. In the preceding post you characterize the US as "sitting on a perch" lecturing Africans. The policy of the US is: gay rights are human rights; human rights likewise are gay rights. The US is not alone sitting on a perch. Here is the United Nations stand based on a resolution put forward by South Africa.


Following tense negotiations, members of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly voted in favor of the declaration put forward by South Africa, with 23 votes in favor and 19 against.

Backers included the U.S., the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Those against included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan. China, Burkina Faso and Zambia abstained, Kyrgyzstan didn't vote and Libya was suspended from the rights body earlier.

The resolution expressed "grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity."

More important, activists said, it also established a formal U.N. process to document human rights abuses against gays, including discriminatory laws and acts of violence. According to Amnesty International, consensual same-sex relations are illegal in 76 countries worldwide, while harassment and discrimination are common in many more.

"Today's resolution breaks the silence that has been maintained for far too long," said John Fisher of the gay rights advocacy group ARC International.
To me the result indicates that the US joins hands with South Africa.

African countries would surely be immune to any lectures by anyone, including lectures by the UN Human Rights Committee or by the US,. This was the reaction of African and Muslim representatives. See this link http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/08/ozatp-un-gays-idAFJOE82702T20120308

You are free to express your opinions regarding the thread topic. However, I would pray you be more balanced in your condemnation of the United States. Make room for other countries to share all this condemnation, including South Africa, if you see reason for condemnation.

Brother Onam

I hear you, SPNadmin ji,
I'll be conscious to spread my derision more evenly. Sincerely though, I appreciate the response and just want to say, as a Sikh, it is incumbent to always stand for Truth, especially in these times of almost universal frowardness and duplicity. In times such as these, anyone wanting to defend truth will necessarily step on a lot of toes and make a lot of waves. And, to be sure, viciousness and ignorance are by no means the exclusive property of the US. I find that as far back as human records reflect, we find evidence of atrocities.
Sacred Love Above All. Waheguru
I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody that has contributed to this forum post that i started as the response has been more overwhelming than i had expected considering the sensitive topic which i am currently focusing upon.

Thank you for sharing your views and ideas, it has been a great help and i am genuinely delighted to see that some of you agree with my opinions and views.

I would further like to understand if, as a result of the legalization of gay marriage within this country, would that pose any infringement or negative undertones to Sikh understanding an teaches? If the legalization of gay marriage a positive or negative in regards to Sikhism and if so why would you think this would be case?

From the survey that I have posted on the internet which you are all still welcome to complete, I have asked if there is an issue with homosexuality within Sikhism and I have been receiving some very interesting ideas and answers! Is anybody aware of any issues of homosexuality within Sikhism or is it purely based on the basis of the Anand Karaj Act?

Many thanks,



Sunny Gill ji,
This is a very interesting topic and one I am increasingly trying to speak to my parents generation about and trying to challenge them. I think a lot of Sikhi is mixed up in culture and it is important to tease the elements apart. A lot of modern day Sikhi attitudes stem from culture rather than Gurbani.

My personal view is that Gurbani talks about lust. Generalising and saying that 2 homosexual men or women in a committed monogamous relationship are being controlled by lust more than a heterosexual person who sleeps around makes no sense!!

I often here the argument that the union of man and woman is the only natural state despite much evidence against this stance. I feel we approach this whole issue from the wrong standpoint. Rather than focussing on homosexuality we should be talking about lifestyles.

I know wikipedia is not a great source but just to demonstrate my point about it being natural

Here is some more food for thought:

Homosexuality: Nature or Nurture​

Ryan D. Johnson
April 30, 2003​

In recent decades, many hotly debated topics have come under the scrutiny of sociobiologists, trying to determine their causation and origins. One such topic is homosexuality. Originally thought by the American Psychological Association (hereafter referred to as APA) to be a mental disorder, research into its causes, origins, and development have consequently led to its removal by the APA from its list of diagnoses and disorders [1]. Many different theories can be found regarding the root of homosexuality, as far back historically as Ancient Greece.

The current debate is whether or not homosexuality is a result of nature: a person's environment and surroundings, or of his biology and genetics. The debate endures because both sides have the ability to create a scientific environment to support their cause. For example, biological theorists may argue that a monkey and human child, reared in the same setting, will develop with vastly different outcomes, while social theorists may argue that monozygotic twins, one reared normally and the other raised in seclusion for 18 years, will also develop with vastly different results, but different even more from the first scenario [4].​

In debating sexual orientation, much is unknown; according to Charles Darwin, "...we do not even in the least know the final cause of sexuality. The whole subject is hidden in darkness." [2]. Although the APA currently states that sexual orientation is not a choice, rather that "...it emerges from most people in early adolescence with no prior sexual experience"[1], social theorists argue that an individual's upbringing can directly influence this [sexual orientation]. Also tied in with many of these debates is the morality of homosexuality. But the purpose of this examination is not to prove whether or not homosexuality is right or wrong,but rather to establish a thorough understanding of the biological and social theories surrounding the cause of homosexuality.

Let us first look at the biological debate. Biological theorists have found substantial instances of anatomical, genetic, and endocrine evidence to support their argument. Experiments in biological research date back as far as the late 1930's, beginning with the pioneering research of Alfred Kinsey (for the University of Indiana) on human sexuality. Kinsey had two goals for his tests: 1) to find out how many adult males engaged in homosexual behavior, and 2) to suggest theories about it came to be [9]. When asked if they had engaged in homosexual sexual relations, a large percent of the population tested answered "no", however when asked if they had engaged in same-sex sexual relations, the percentage answering "yes" nearly doubled. The experiment yielded that 30% of males had experienced at least orgasm in a homosexual act. The results of this research became the widely popularized Kinsey Scale of Sexuality. This scale rates all individuals on a spectrum of sexuality, ranging from 100% heterosexual to 100% homosexual, and everything in between [7]. While establishing that as many as 10% of adult males reported having sexual relations with a same-sex partner, this research did little more than to put the word homosexual into common language.​

Karen Hooker executed the first psychological test done to test for biological determinism in 1957, on a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health [2]. The study was meant to explore the relationship between homosexuality and psychological development and illness. Hooker studied both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Both groups were matched for age, intelligence quotient (IQ) and education level, and were then subjected to three psychological tests. These three tests, the Rorschach, Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and the Make-A-Picture-Story Test (MAPS), were then analyzed by psychologists, and the results were tabulated. The results of Hooker's experiment yielded no significant differences in answers on any of the three tests. Because both groups' answers scored very similarly, she concluded a zero correlation between social determinism of sexuality.​

As a result of Hooker's finding, the APA removed homosexuality from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychological Disorders in 1973. In 1975 it then released a public statement that homosexuality was not a mental disorder. In 1994, two decades later, the APA finally stated, "...homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a moral depravity. It is the way a portion of the population expresses human love and sexuality" [2].​

D.F. Swaab conducted the next noteworthy experiment in 1990. This experiment became the first to document a physiological difference in the anatomical structure of a gay man's brain. Swaab found in his post-mortem examination of homosexual males' brains that a portion of the hypothalamus of the brain was structurally different than a heterosexual brain. The hypothalamus is the portion of the human brain directly related to sexual drive and function. In the homosexual brains examined, a small portion of the hypothalamus, termed the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), was found to be twice the size of its heterosexual counterpart [2].​

At the same time, another scientist, Laura S. Allen made a similar discovery in the hypothalamus as well. She found that the anterior commissure (AC) of the hypothalamus was also significantly larger in the homosexual subjects than that of the heterosexuals [2]. Both Swaab's and Allen's results became a standing ground for the biological argument on homosexuality. The very fact that the AC and the SCN are not involved in the regulation of sexual behavior makes it highly unlikely that the size differences results from differences in sexual behavior.

Rather the size differences came prenatally during sexual differentiation. The size and shape of the human brain is determined biologically and is impacted minutely, if at all by behavior of any kind.​

Simon LeVay conducted another experiment regarding the hypothalamus of the human brain in 1991. LeVay, like Swaab and Allen also did a post-mortem examination on human brains; however, he did his examinations on patients who had died from AIDS-related illnesses. He examined 19 declared homosexual man, with a mean age of 38.2, 16 presumed heterosexual men, with a mean age of 42.8, and 6 presumed heterosexual women, with a mean age of 41.2 [3]. LeVay discovered that within the hypothalamus, the third interstitial notch of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH3) was two to three times smaller in homosexual men then in heterosexual men. The women examined also exhibited this phenomenon. LeVay concluded the "homosexual and heterosexual men differ in the central neuronal mechanisms that control sexual behavior", and like Allen and Swaab,agreed that this difference in anatomy was no product of upbringing or environment, but rather prenatal cerebral development and structural differentiation [2].​

Another line of testing done to support the biological perspective are neuroendocrine studies. The neuroendocrine viewpoint's basic hypothesis is that sexual orientation is determined by the early levels (probably prenatal) of androgen on relevant neural structures [7]. If highly exposed to these androgens, the fetus will become masculinized, or attracted to females. This research was conducted on rats at Stanford. The adult female rats that received male-typical levels of androgens sufficiently early in development exhibited male symptoms of attraction. The same was true in the reverse when applied to the male subjects.

The female exposed to high levels of the hormone exhibited high levels of aggression and sexual drive toward other females, eventually trying to mount the other females in an act of reproduction. In the males, the subject who received deficient levels of androgen became submissive in matters of sexual drive and reproduction and were willing to receive the sexual act of the other male rat [7].​

A popular route of experimentation in general psychology also did not elude the biological argument. Twin studies have become a highly debated area of experimentation. Ernest Kallman conducted the earliest twin study. He found a 100% concordance between monozygotic (or identical) twins (MZ), and only a 12% concordance for dizygotic (or fraternal) twins (DZ). Although discredited with methodological problems, the early experiment paved the way for a much-publicized team to conduct their twin studies.​

J. Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard also studied the gayness between MZ twins, DZ twins, and non-related adopted brothers. They examined how many of the sample population examined were gay and how many were straight. They found that 52% of MZ twins were both self-identified homosexuals, 22% of DZ twins were so, and only 5% of non-related adopted brothers were so. This evidence, repeated and found to be true a second time, showed to the biological camp that the more closely genetically linked a pair is, the more likely they both are to exhibit gay or straight tendencies. Later experimenters found similar evidence in females. One such scientist is Dean Hamer. Hamer examined the possibility of homosexuality being an X-linked trait. He examined the family trees of openly gay men, and thought he saw a maternal link, leading him to investigate his theory of X-linkage. He took 40 DNA samples from homosexual men, and genetically examined them. He found that there was a 'remarkable concordance' for 5 genetic markers on section of the X-Chromosome called Xq28 [2].​

Hamer hypothesized upon examining the family trees of the same men that on each subject's mother's side, there were markedly larger numbers of homosexual men, all stemming through the maternal lineages. This observation, along with his startling discovery on Xq28, led his findings to be dubbed the "gay gene study". The statistical probability of the 5 genetic markers on Xq28 to have matched randomly was calculated to be 1/100,000 [2], lending even more support to his findings.​

This finding of a possible 'gay gene' prompts a look into two evolutionary concepts, and how they are affected. The Superior Heterozygote Theory states the phenotypic (actual) expression of homosexuality is the result of homozygosity for recessive (non-expressed but present) genes [11]. In simplification, if the person's genetic code is heterozygotic (one homosexual gene and one heterosexual gene), if the homosexual allele (half of the genetic code) is the allele passed on to the next generation, it will become the phenotype. Heterozygotes are only capable of being passed through to the next generation by mothers (as the Y-chromosome is incapable of heterozygosity), this again links homosexuality to X-linkage.​

While all of this scientific experimentation and conclusion seems evidentiary, sociobehaviorists are not convinced. This opposing point-of-view proposes that homosexuality is the result of environmental factors, not biological ones. Most social theorists see childhood elements as the largest contributing factors to homosexuality. Often they examine childhood play patterns, early peer interactions and relations, differences in parental behavior toward male and female children, and the role of gender constancy in the household [9].​

The social argument for homosexuality dates back to the ancient Greeks. Aristophanes, in his Symposium investigates homosexuality, although not termed as such, as a desire by men to share a long-term fulfillment of the soul. He believed that two souls are longing to be together, and the sexual desire alone is not strong enough to create homosexuality, but that the cultural environment allows or forbids the relationship to occur [10]. In Greece is it well known that many men engaged in same-sex relationships, however, these were not equal relationships, they were older men to young boys going through the transition to adulthood. Two instances where the culture is a causative agent of homosexual expression are in New Guinea and Crete. In some tribes in New Guinea, young boys ages 8-15 are inseminated daily by the young male warriors of the tribe. In Crete, every adolescent boy undertook a homosexual relationship as a rite of passage into manhood [10]. In these two instances, the homosexuality is accepted; however, it can be argued that it is also forced, not a natural expression.​

Most psychoanalytic theories, however, stress the role of parental and family dynamics, not the society as a whole. Behaviorists believe that some sexual and gender identification differences result from roles imposed by family and friends upon children, such as the masculine and the feminine stereotypes. Problems with this are there is no evidence, social or biological, to support that homosexual children were raised differently than were the heterosexual children. Also, with reinforcement of gender identification norms, one would be led to logically deduce that all of the stereotype reinforcement would ensure a heterosexual outcome [7].​

While it is agreed that an element of gender ID is based on the decision made by parents on how to raise the child, the other element is formed with the development of language skills, naming of sexual behaviors and the naming process related to these behaviors [9]. Gender ID is learned over time, and other contributions include the frequency of parental interactions, tolerance of aggression levels, and the vigor of play during childhood. In this, another theory is acknowledged, the Parental Manipulation Theory. This theory is that one or both parents are able to neuter and control offspring to promote their (the parent's) evolutionary fitness, ensuring the passage of genes into the next generation. By selecting only heterosexual practices as acceptable, the parents are attempting to promote their passage of genes [5]. However the Kin-Selection Theory contrasts this. This theory states that it doesn't matter how the genes are passed to the next generation, so long as they are passed along. For example, regardless of a homosexual outcome, the very similar genetic makeup of siblings will still allow for the passage of the family genetics along to the next generation [9].​

Two predominant social theorists on homosexuality are David Halperin and Jean Foucault. Although both social theorists, both have largely contrasting ideas on the environmental contributions to the formation of an individual's homosexuality. Halperin believed in Planophysical theory. This theory believes that homosexuality is a freak of nature, an error. His theory follows in the tradition of psychological theory on this subject. Halperin was a Freudian psychologist, and places stock in Freud's idea that homosexuality is derived from a failure to resolve Oedipal issues [10]. Although Halperin has a large following from interest groups such as Christian coalitions, his theory is largely disrespected by the psychological community at large, as it provides only a result, not a cause. He fails to produce any scientific evidence. He does, however, provide examples. He postulates that a weak father and strong mother, with an unresolved Oedipus complex will lead to a weak, and then homosexual, son, because the mother has too strong of an image, compared to the weak state of the father. Psychologists argue that this same arrangement would also possibly lead to a stronger son, striving for compensation of his father's weakness.​

Jean Foucault argues, "...homosexuality became because we made it so" [11]. Foucault says that the category of homosexuality itself was only created a mere one hundred years ago, after a German neologism coined some twenty years later. Foucault gives root to the social derivation of homosexuality believing that homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality, only "after it was transposed from the practice of sodomy into a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul" [10]. The theorists believe that the homosexual had been an aberration, and had then become a species, justifying itself with a new word.​

Although both theorists represent the major ideas of the socioenviromental belief, there are three differences in the two theories. The first is based on the depth of desire. Foucault believed that the depth of desire is only sexual preference, that it is nothing more than superficial tastes and preferences. Halperin contrasts this with saying that homosexuality does go deeper than superficial tastes, and that homosexuality is a psychological condition, with much deeper roots than mere sexual preference. The second major difference is that Foucault did not divide people into categories. Halperin acknowledged that there are three general categories of people in respect to sexuality: heterosexual, gay men, and lesbians.

Foucault groups gay men and lesbians into the all-inclusive term of homosexual. The third difference is that Halperin see homosexuality as a symmetrical and equal relationship, Foucault believes that historically, as far back as the Greeks, before the term was coined, homosexuality has always been unequal, differences in race, age, education and social status influencing the 'superficial' tastes and preferences of the men influenced.​

We have examined many causes for homosexuality in the preceding pages, both biological and social. And although an interesting topic of debate, no one theory or experiment leads to a definitive answer. Some believe that the characters found on Xq28 are the Holy Grail of homosexuality research, the elusive 'gay gene'. Others may place stock in the theories of Foucault and Halperin. Perhaps Simon LeVay did reveal to us that anatomy is the key to understanding the difference in sexual orientation. Perhaps there is no one answer, that sexual orientation, whether homosexual or heterosexual; gay, straight, lesbian, or bisexual, all are a cause of a complex interaction between environmental, cognitive, and anatomical factors, shaping the individual at an early age.​
<center> <hr color="#7071AB" size="1"> </center> WORKS CITED

[1] APA Online. “Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality”. Online. 11 April 2003. Available http://www.apa.org/pubinfo/answers.html.​

[2] “Biological Basis for Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available​

[3] Bull, James J. and Pease, Craig M. “Biological Correlates of Being Gay” Online. 11 April 2003. Available http://www.utexas.edu/courses/bio301d/Topics/Gay/Text.html.​

[4] Fujita, Frank. “The Nature-Nurture Controversy.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available http://www.iusb.edu/~ffujita/Documents/nn.html

[5] Hoback, Wyatt. “Lecture 21. Sociality.” Online. 11 April 2003. Available http://www.unk.edu/acad/biology/hoback/2002bio470/470lecture21.htm.​

[6] Moberly, Elizabeth R. Homosexuality: A New Christian Ethic. James Clarke and Co.; Cambridge, MA, 1983.​

[7] Pillard, Richard. “NPR Letters on the Biological Basis of Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available http://cas.bellarmine.edu/tietjen/RootWeb/ npr_letters_on_the_biological_ba.htm

[8] Sullivan, Andrew. Virtually Normal: an Argument about Homosexuality. Alfred A. Knopf; New York, NY, 1995.​

[9] Thompson and Devine. “Homosexuality: Biologically or Environmentally Constructed?” Online. 8 April 2003. Available http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/Research/ HNatureProposalsArticles/Homosexuality.biologicall.html

[10] Thorp, John. “The Social Construction of Homosexuality.” Online. 8 April 2003. Available http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/thorp.html

[11] Taylor, Tim. “Current Theories on the Genesis of Homosexuality.” Online. 11 April 2003. Available http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/homes/timt/ papers/twin_studies/theories.html.​


Additionally I have seen research looking at homosexuality as a result of conditions in the womb. Poor baby being discriminated for something they have no control over!! Homosexuality has been in existence, its just that is was hidden for most of history due to culture.
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Thank you for your response, it really means a lot!!! As a Sikh this whole debate on nature versus nurture becomes reductionist for me as surely by Waheguru's we are all here and it is by Waheguru's natural grace that we, as individuals, are who we are. If feel as though homosexuality within Sikhism is an issue that needs to be tackled in this day and age and hopefully my research enables others to stand up and speak about such a topic within our community as, at the end of the day, we are all human beings. If we cannot treat individuals who are homosexual within our own community with the respect that they deserve as human beings surely we are not following the ideal teachings of equality which our religion purports to advocate.

I am really interested in seeing as to why people in our community view homosexuality as wrong. Would you say it is from a purely cultural perspective or are there any other factors as to why it vehemently accepted as no among the Sikh community? By the generosity of a member on this forum is was given a link to an organisation in Vancouver which is accessible here http://www.shervancouver.com/index.html that offers support to homosexuals and transgenders among the South Asian community. I feel this is such a fantastic website and organisation that is addressing the issues that I am researching and I fully support such groups. What are your views on this?

My other area that I have been looking at is the Grihasti stage within Sikhism and the idea of becoming a house holder, getting married and having children. However, should this stage be constrained to heterosexual couples only? Is there any problem with two males or females getting marries (especially now as the result of legalization of gay marriage) and having children (albeit not naturally)?

Brother Onam

"I'm really interested in seeing as to why people in our community view homosexuality as wrong".
The evidence of this Creation is that there is a divine order in place. If you observe the honeycomb, the changing of seasons, the orbits of planets and moons, the formation of crystals, the scattering of seeds, the flight of hummingbirds, the journey of salmons, the cycles of evaporation, purification and rainfall; it is all played out in awesome order.
Please consider:
Sparrows; they emerge in the spring, males find females, mate, follow an ancient, unwritten science of creating a nest. They lay eggs, incubate them, young emerge, learn to fly... and the cycle repeats.
Groundhogs; they form intricate social communities and dig elaborate underground networks. Male and female reproduce, the young are nurtured underground in nesting areas until they strike out on their own.
Tigers; they follow precise social interactions, male and female fulfill their various roles, pair off and reproduce, giving birth to tiger cubs, which, after weening, learn to hunt, and the cycle continues.
Whales, roam across the vast realm of ocean, communicate in a mysterious language they percieve even across great distances. The male whale will find a female and impregnate her with his seed and they proceed to raise and protect the young whale calf until it can manage the underwater world on its own.
You get the picture. Now please consider the homosexual. They grow up as children, eating the prescribed diet of humans, male pairs off with another male. They create a 'nest', a bed, where they engage in sex, deposit their seed in the colon. Nothing comes of it except a stinking (imagine!) mess, they then reproduce by going to adoption agencies to rear offspring.
All I'm saying, my sister, is can we agree this is an aberration, a deviance from a prescribed order? Can we acknowledge that in a world of such divine, intricate sense, this is a perversion of the Divine Way? I am not saying it's evil, that homosexuals ought to be beaten, incarcerated or pilloried. I am simply saying, in this current spirit of embracing and celebrating and parading homosexuality as 'beautiful and natural', is it wrong to view it as rather a violation of the divine way?


Homosexual behaviour in animals has been documented.

Evolution can explain the pheonmena your have described, Brother Onam ji.

I find myself offended by your description of gay sex. Not all Sikhs view homosexuality as an abhoration. But I'm sure this argument has been made on other threads previously cited.
Onamji, thank you for your response :)

You say that we should question that homosexuality, whilst not evil, could be seen as a deviance or violation of the Divine way and that everything is ordered. Whilst I certainly understand your perspective and how things should be seen in an ordered way why would homosexuality be seen as a deviation from that path? Surely if Waheguru set everything into motion to be ordered then homosexuality surely fits that mold as if we say homosexuality is a deviation from that path then we are crossing into issues of Sikh Theology and questioning the power of Waheguru and issues of free will/ pre destination.

My point is that homosexuality, in my opinion, is just a natural part of the greater plan and grace of Waheguru. In Gurbani humanity is described as the bride longing to be reunited with the groom (Waheguru) therefore when humanity as a whole is mentioned as female (males alike) surely there should be no issue with homosexuality within Sikhi as Sikhism promotes the equality of all human beings regardless of sexuality. You mention the issue of adoption when dealing with homosexuality and those individuals rearing offspring through those alternatives but surely it is just the same as a heterosexual Sikh couple who cannot have children naturally.
Ishna thank you for you post!!

I wholeheartedly agree with your point, homosexuality should not be seen as abhorrent within Sikhism, especially when at its heart lies the equality of all human beings. Do you think that homosexuality will ever be accepted within Sikhism? If we look past the stigmatization that culture has undoubtedly impeded upon our communities ability to look past such issues where else is there any evidence from Gurbani to state that we should be against homosexuality?


Do you think that homosexuality will ever be accepted within Sikhism?

Well 'technically' it was never not accepted.

But, like anything, communities rarely agree to a consensus on any matter. Communities are but loose groups of people who share a common interest. Beyond that, there is a myraid of different opinions on most things.
Do you believe that someone like me, who is so vehemently researching homosexuality within Sikhism can ever make a difference and change the tide of the 'norm'? I think that unless people start to challenge the accepted norms within our society issues such as homosexuality will never become properly addressed. Like you have stated homosexuality has never not been not accepted but to me as someone who carries out research in the community it seems as though is has become accepted as wrong.