Jasvir Singh, a well-known family law barrister and main Sikh contributor to the UK’s Radio 4’s Thought For The Day, has publicly come out as gay. Despite facing opposition and death threats from some members of the British Sikh community, Singh, who was recently awarded a CBE for his work in promoting equality and advocating for vulnerable groups, has chosen to address his sexual orientation head-on.
In an interview, Singh shared his experiences as a gay Sikh and how he has never felt his faith to be in conflict with his sexuality. He revealed that the Sikh religion, in which he grew up, has a central tenet of equality and that his interpretation of the Anand Karaj (Sikh marriage ceremony) does not prohibit same-sex unions. However, the Sikh religious leadership of the Akal Takht in Amritsar, India restated their position in 2005 that same-sex marriage is unacceptable.
Despite this, Singh and his husband, who is white and British, have been unable to get married in a gurdwara (Sikh temple) and are still working towards a way to raise their future children as Sikhs. Singh says he wants to send a message to gay Sikhs facing difficulties and that he is proud of who he is and cannot separate any part of his identity from the rest of himself.