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Fifth #OpenMinds on 30th of October 2019
Nov 10th, 2019 by sarbat

Emotional Vulnerability, Contentment and Joy

A Summary of the Open Minds (Khula Mana) LGBTQ+ Support Group which took place on the 30th of October 2019

Thank you to St Luke’s Community Centre for hosting Octobers’ Open Minds (Khula Mana) LGBTQ+ Support Group. The group was facilitated by Dr Kuljit Bhogal on behalf of Sarbat and Taraki. This is a summary of some of the group discussion.

Responding to feedback from previous sessions, the small group conversations were extended to give people more time to get to know each other. People had the option of discussing the main topics or a topic of their choice.


During the large group discussion some of the group reflected on how much they enjoyed hearing so many different perspectives on being LGBTQ+ and Sikh / Punjabi. We shared some of our coming out stories and we had an interesting discussion about how we can have honest and meaningful conversations with our parents, even when they are reluctant to have them.
It was interesting hearing some of the personal stories of having ‘honest conversations’ with our parents. The experience of the group was that these conversations take time and it’s not always easy to ‘be heard’ by our families.


There were a range of positive and negative stories about how people had tried to explain and educate their parents about being LGBTQ+. Some attendees felt that seeing their parents as people as well as parents helped them to understand some of their negative attitudes or behaviours. Sometimes having this understanding helped improve potentially difficult conversations or made them less painful. The conversation moved onto the differences between the male and female experiences in Sikh Punjabi families. Women felt “lost” in families. They felt their role was simply to
provide a male child and look after the household. We talked about the fact that gender roles are very difficult to challenge and that much of society is organised around the needs of the straight cis-gendered man.
Some Punjabi families are more open minded than others. We talked about the fact that it is difficult to hear these stories as there is no single source of information about the culture of Sikh Punjabi people. Media representation of the Sikh Punjabi LGBTQ+ experience can be negative or too simple.
Next month’s meeting will have a joint male and female chair. The topic will be gender and gender roles in Punjabi (Sikh) families and culture.

The meeting will be held on the 27th of November 2019. (6-8pm) at St Luke’s Community Centre and tickets can be found on Eventbrite.

Please contact us at khulamana@gmail.com if you would like to find out more.

Fourth #OpenMinds on 28th of August 2019
Sep 12th, 2019 by sarbat

Race / ethnicity and being an LGBTQ+ Sikh 

A Summary of the Open Minds (Khula Mana) LGBTQ+ Support Group which took place on the 28th of August 2019 

Thank you to St Luke’s Community Centre for hosting August’s Open Minds (Khula Mana) LGBTQ+ Support Group. The group was facilitated by Dr Kuljit Bhogal on behalf of Sarbat and Taraki. This is a summary of some of the group discussion. 

 

We started our discussions in small groups. People were asked to think about whether their race or ethnicity had any impact on their day to day experiences of being LGBTQ+ and Sikh/Punjabi. We then came together as a large group to develop these discussions further. 

 

We talked about the idea of identity and it was interesting to hear that some people feel much more comfortable with labels like ‘British Asian’ or ‘Punjabi-Sikh’ than others did. Being born and raised in the UK didn’t guarantee that people felt completely British and for some members of the group, they felt like they didn’t belong in the UK or in India. In contrast some members of the group felt at home wherever they were and hadn’t experienced any negativity due to their perceived race or ethnicity. 

 

Some members of the group felt that growing up without ethnically diverse role models made their lives harder. They also felt that more Sikh/Punjabi LGBTQ+ role models in mainstream media might make it easier for the topic to be discussed in Sikh/Punjabi communities. 

We heard from members who had knowledge of the amritdhari Sikh community. Being an amritdhari Sikh and openly LGBTQ+ may mean that you lose the support of the Sangat. This could be devastating for some people and as a result they choose to keep their sexuality private. There are no specific spaces for LGBTQ+ people from the amritdhari Sikh community and this is a hidden group which may need further consideration by Sarbat. 

 

We spent some time talking about the challenges that women specifically face in the LGBTQ+ and Sikh/Punjabi communities. Women are constantly negotiating pressures to conform to mainstream ideals of behaviour, appearance and sexuality. Romantic or sexual relationships between women are made harder due to the lack of safe spaces for women to meet. We also talked about the fact that Sikh / Punjabi women may want a separate support group for them to meet outside of the monthly Open Minds group.  This item will be discussed at the November Open Minds Meeting. 

 

The next Open Minds meeting will take place on the 30th of October 2019 (6-8pm) at St Luke’s Community Centre.  

Please contact us at khulamana@gmail.com if you would like to find out more.

Bhajneek’s visit to Mill Hill Chapel for Leeds Pride
Aug 9th, 2019 by sarbat

Find out more about our Leeds based Sarbat volunteer Bhajneek’s visit to Mill Hill Chapel for an inclusive Pride fair and an interfaith service.

On the afternoon of Leeds Pride on 4th August 2019, Mill Hill Chapel in Leeds held an inclusive Pride fair and an interfaith service which celebrated and reflected on the common thread of spirituality between our traditions. The service included representation from the Unitarian, Anglican, Muslim and Sikh communities. The Sikh faith was represented by Naminder Singh Soorma of Leeds and Bhajneek Kaur of Bradford. The Sikh part of the service included an introduction to the Mool Mantar and core messages of Oneness. Following this the congregation were led in Naam Simran, and reflected on the message of equality from Guru Nanak Dev Ji. During the service all the different faith representatives provided messages of inclusiveness, drawing on teachings from their respective traditions. The service concluded with a musical interlude.

Naminder Singh Soorma holds a weekly simran session in Mill Hill Chapel on a Tuesday lunchtime from 12.30-13.00 which is well attended by people of all faiths who work in the city centre of Leeds. Bhajneek Kaur is a volunteer and member of Sarbat and runs a monthly spirituality group in Bradford.

Thanks to Mill Hill Chapel for organising a lovely event, and providing a space for Sikh in Leeds to reflect and do simran. Hopefully this will be the beginning of many joint endeavours to promote spirituality in LGBTQ safe spaces.

Mill Hill is a liberal religious community offering an approach to spirituality which is participatory and inclusive. It is led by Unitarians who have their roots in Judaeo-Christian tradition. This is a wisdom tradition which emphasises reason, freedom of conscience and the inherent worth of all without regard to age, ability, race, sexuality/identity or gender. It acknowledges the validity of other approaches to the Divine and sacred.

– Bhajneek Kaur (On behalf of Sarbat)

Sarbat would like more local volunteers to be involved in and around the UK. Please get in touch if you are interested.

Third #OpenMinds on 31st of July 2019
Aug 6th, 2019 by sarbat

The Challenges of Being Sikh and LGBTQ+

Thank you to St Luke’s Community Centre for hosting July’s Open Minds (Khula Mana) LGBTQ+ Support Group. The group was facilitated by Dr Kuljit Bhogal on behalf of Sarbat and Taraki. This is a summary of some of the group discussion.

The Sikh community is a complex and diverse group. This diversity extends to how they practice the Sikh faith and their views on LGBTQ+ issues. Sikhs born in different countries, Sikhs from non-Indian heritage and Sikhs who have joined the faith as adults are also members of this group but are less visible in the UK.

In the group’s experience, the core values of the faith which include kindness, humility and a personal relationship to God are frequently distorted by groups or individuals motivated by ego or self-interest. This distortion also occurs in some Gurdwaras where internal politics seem to be more important than the values of the faith and it has stopped some sections of the Sikh community worshipping in Gurdwaras.

As far as we understand, there is no explicit contradiction in being Sikh and LGBTQ+. The faith requires individuals to recognise and eliminate the 5 vices and this applies equally to everyone. We talked about how the faith states that individuals must develop their personal connection to God through prayer and meditation. The faith does not encourage or promote the judgement of others, especially to exclude or isolate them, for their sexuality, gender or if they have a disability.

Those who had grown up in the Sikh community explained that ‘religious’ rules and practices were handed down to them from older generations with little explanation or dialogue. Although these rules often conflicted with Sikh values, they were required to follow these rules without question. These experiences led some of the group becoming disillusioned with the faith in their childhood and either rediscovering the faith as adults or leaving the faith altogether.

Social rules that are dressed up as religious practices are common across all religions. In the Sikh community, looking religious is a way that some individuals maintain or increase their social status. Sometimes this outward show of ‘religiousness’ is shown by judging the apparent deficiencies of others.

We talked about how power and control in social groups is commonly achieved through shaming or excluding individuals. Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ people are still vulnerable to this kind of shaming and exclusion and trying to be Sikh and LGBTQ+ can be a lonely experience.

Religion continues to be felt as a toxic influence in the lives of many LGBTQ+ people but our discussion kept returning to the idea that much of the toxicity is due to the attitudes of individuals or groups rather than the teachings of the faith itself.

Those that practice the faith were frustrated with not having a voice in religious spaces. They also felt that Gurudwaras in the UK should have diversity training to teach them about sexuality, disability and race. It is hoped that Sarbat and Taraki can take some of these ideas forward in the future.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday the 28th of August (6-8pm) at St Luke’s community centre and the topic will be migration, race and ethnicity and how they intersect with a LGBTQ+ identity.

Please contact us at khulamana@gmail.com if you would like to find out more.

Second #OpenMinds on 26th of June 2019
Jul 9th, 2019 by sarbat

Thank you to L & Q for hosting Sarbat’s second Open Minds (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਮਨ) Sikh LGBTQ support group on the 26th of June 2019. We were pleased to welcome some new faces to the group as we came together to discuss our personal journeys of coming out and the barriers that stood in the way.

The group started the conversation with the idea that coming out is usually not a one-off process. It is something most of us have to go through multiple times over many years. Family members don’t always hear or accept what was said and it can be hard work to keep pushing against this resistance.

Also, coming out may not always lead to acceptance. We discussed how being out (or outed) in your community can make us vulnerable to verbal and physical harm. Sometimes deciding to leave the family or the wider community is the only way to protect mental or physical safety. In other situations, people felt that it was more important for them to compromise and continue a relationship with their family even if it their sexuality was not entirely accepted. Similar ideas about compromise and sacrifice came up a lot of time during the discussion.

We felt that there can be cultural differences in the implications of coming out. We also reflected on how difficult it could be to not have visible LGBT+ role models from the Punjabi community that we could relate to or draw inspiration from. The very fact that there isn’t a universal word or phrase for LGBT+ in Punjabi is a hindrance to the coming out process. The lack of appropriate vocabulary can be very disabling when we are trying to talk about our sexual orientations in Punjabi.

The discussion also highlighted that coming out as a man had very different implications from coming out as a woman. We touched on the idea of privilege and how it is unevenly shared between men and women in Punjabi culture, let alone non-binary or transgender folk. Bisexual people had been told that they should ‘just choose’ to marry someone of the opposite gender and that this lack of understanding can be difficult to correct.

Participants expressed the frustration they feel after coming out when others make quick assumptions about their sexual encounters or relationships. We noticed that this is a boundary that would not be crossed in the case of a straight couple in the Punjabi culture. The group speculated that this might be because coming out appears to be give others a ‘free pass’ to talk about sex or intimacy in a way that would usually be avoided.

Several attendees struggled with the idea of exposing their parents to criticism or judgement from their community by coming out. Some reflected their natural instinct to protect their parents and act as a shield from harsh comments, physical attacks or social ostracization. At the same time, we discussed how such protection can prevent them from processing events, developing their understanding of the situation and evolving their own coping strategies.

Through many charged and emotive discussions, it was clear that coming out is a process where we reveal our very vulnerable parts to those we trust. And it can be very painful or even traumatic to receive negative or aggressive reactions from the very people we placed most confidence on. Some of us have moved through this pain and trauma while others are still working their way through it. It was an honour to hear so many stories and to realise that most of us have been through very similar processes despite our vastly different backgrounds.

Our next Open Minds meeting will be on Wednesday 31st July 2019 at St Luke’s Community Centre. Please do attend even if you haven’t been able to make it to previous groups, we’re open to all. We will start the conversation on the topic of being a practicing Sikh who is also LGBT+. We are planning for our September event to be online only to allow people based outside of London to take part in discussions. Look for details on our website, facebook and twitter.

Kuljit Bhogal and Shraddha Kaur

 

First #OpenMinds on 29th of May 2019
Jun 9th, 2019 by sarbat

 

The Open Minds (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਮਨ) support group started as a collaboration between Sarbat and Taraki to provide a safe space for Punjabi LGBT+ individuals to share stories and provide support to each other. Following a very successful pilot workshop last month, we held our first group session on 29th May 2019. Thank you to all the people who joined us for our first session of Open Minds (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਮਨ) and also thanks to the St Luke’s Community Centre in South Islington, London for their offering their lovely space for our use.

Session Outline Leaflet May 19

We began the group by establishing five virtues borrowed from the Sikh faith – truth, compassion, contentment, humility, and love. These are values that we hope would ground discussions in the group in this and future meetings.

The theme for this session was family pressure and we started the session by discussing what it means to us and our lives. For some people, there was immense pressure by our families to conform. This pressure came from a variety of sources, from expectations of parents to wider families to the larger communities. For other participants in the group, this was less of an issue and they talked about pressure from a different perspective. To them, a sense of pressure originated in their own aspirations to achieve certain milestones by a particular stage in their life.

 

The group felt that, ideally, families should represent unconditional love, provide emotional and physical support, and a sense of identity and grounding, a place to belong for an individual. But in reality this was not the case for a majority of the participants. They felt that family love came with its conditions and support could only be guaranteed if they didn’t stray too far from the expected path. Sometimes this expectation was communicated in words, and sometimes it was implicit in the way parents rewarded other siblings or relatives who were able to get married to the ‘correct’ partners, have children and live ‘normal’ lives. People also talked about the guilt they feel when they talk about their LGBT+ identity and/or partners as they are exposing their parents to judgement from their community.

 

We considered how sometimes, to protect themselves or their families, LGBT+ indivduals enter ‘marriages of convenience’, contractual arrangements to maintain a facade of heterosexual couple while both partners engage in separate same-sex relationships outside of the marriage. Such sham marriages might offer an escape from extremely challenging family circumstances but they often present uncomfortable, undesirable, untruthful ways to live. The group unanimously hoped that one day such marriages would not be necessary and relationships would simply be accepted for what they are. Group members also acknowledged that worrying about what others’ reactions can cause a disparity between the private and public faces even in heteronormative marriages and such secrets could have a toxic effect on punjabi families in general.

 

We closed that session by discussing how some of the group have managed to find a way through this to live a ‘post fear’ life where they could feel strong enough to be themselves all the time, and how others aspired to such a life. We agreed to talk more about people’s Coming Out stories at the next meeting as a way of learning about each other’s strength and resilience. And if you’re Sikh LGBTQ+ and finding things difficult – please do come along to our next meeting on Wednesday, the 26th of June at 6pm at L&Q, 29-35 West Ham Lane, Stratford, London E15 4PH. Sign up here. Female, trans, bisexual and non-binary persons are particularly encouraged to attend.

 

Follow us on facebook, twitter, eventbrite or sign up to our newsletter to find out more.   

 

Kuljit Bhogal and S Kaur

On behalf of Sarbat and Taraki

 

Summary of the Open Mind setting up on 10th of April 2019
Apr 17th, 2019 by sarbat

Thank you to all the people who took part in the Open Mind (ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੇ ਮਨ) workshop on the 10th of April 2019 or filled in the accompanying survey.

The aim of the workshop was to find out if we need a safe space for Sikh LGBTQ+ people to meet and support each other. It was attended by eight people with different backgrounds but with a shared Sikh-LGBTQ+ identity.

 

We spent some time talking about the difficulties that the Sikh LGBTQ+ community experience in their families and a few shared themes emerged from our personal stories. Being ‘different’ in a “narrow-minded” community was a common issue. We observed how there is little tolerance for the unconventional in a community that places great value on conducting itself in accordance with teachings inherited from the elders. Not conforming with family expectations was sometimes tolerated if people lived their LGBTQ+ life in secret.

The group found it hard to say for certain if the negative attitudes of their family were due to tradition, culture or religion or a complex mix of all three. The consequences of these attitudes often caused significant tension and stress in the family and individual. This could sometimes also cause mental health issues. 

There seemed to be an obvious disconnect between these attitudes and our understanding of the teachings of Sikhi. This theme came up multiple times and will require further exploration. 

Most of the group had felt family pressure to get married with a partner of the opposite sex and live an ‘acceptable’ life. We discussed how not adhering to these demands or wishes resulted in heightened stress and discomfort in family situations. Some of the group had found ways to manage this and some were still working this out.

It wasn’t always easy to know which family members would be more accepting and some people have found more allies in the older generation than they expected to.

Altogether, attendees felt that sharing their experiences with other people was helpful even in the context of a workshop. It was unanimously agreed that there is a need for a regular safe space for the Sikh LGBTQ+ community to meet and share their experiences. The scope of the group was contemplated, with most participants agreeing that the support group should be open to self-identifying Sikh LGBTQ+. It was agreed that three further sessions would be held over the next three months to decide what the long term mission of the group should be. The next meeting is planned for May and a date will be published once a venue has been confirmed.

Follow us on facebook, twitter, eventbrite or sign up to our newsletter to find out more. And if you’re Sikh LGBTQ+ and finding things difficult – come along to our next meeting. Female and non-binary persons are particularly encouraged to attend.

Kuljit Bhogal and S Kaur

On behalf of Sarbat and Taraki

Sarbat and Taraki workshop – Scoping
Mar 10th, 2019 by sarbat

Life or work can sometimes fail to provide an open space for those experiencing challenges and difficulties. We would like to help LGBT South Asians discuss some unique challenges they may face within their communities in an informal and relaxed setting. Sarbat Sikh LGBT and Taraki are working in partnership to provide a regular space to talk.

These events will be facilitated by Dr Kuljit Bhogal who will use his personal and professional experience to create a safe and non-judgemental space.


Dr Kuljit Bhogal is leading on this programme of events and being supported by Shuranjeet Takhar but before we organise, we are planning on a scoping event on the 10th of April 2019 in London discussing questions such as

  • Who should the program aim to help?
  • What format should the forums follow?
  • What should the attendees expect from these?
  • What topics should be covered? and
  • Why are we doing this?

Moving forward, we would really appreciate help from organisations based in London in hosting these events. What we are looking for our meeting rooms that can accommodate 15-20 people around a table after work. We will cap the meets to a maximum of 20 RSVPs to make it manageable. We plan on organising these once a month commencing in May 2019. Please join our newsletter and follow us on social media to be informed about these events.

Life can be a lonely place but it needn’t be if we just talk.

Dharam Singh
on behalf of Sarbat

 

Ref

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people say they experience a lower quality of life 

Inequality among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender groups in the UK: a review of evidence

Mental Health Stats – LGBT population

‘Our goal is to halve the male suicide rate’: why no-frills therapy works for men

Gay Loneliness

LGBT Mental Health article

He’s Been Out for Years—So Where’s His Boyfriend and When Does It Get Better?

 

 

 

2017 April – Lockwood Kipling Panjab @ V&A London
Mar 13th, 2017 by sarbat

Come and join us for our first meet and greet event of 2017 at the Victoria and Albert in London.

Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London – This free exhibition explores the life, work and lasting impact of John Lockwood Kipling (1837 – 1911), an artist, writer, museum director, teacher, conservationist and influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement with a particular fascination with Panjab.

 

lockwood_kipling_jpg

We’ll meet just outside the porter gallery (just inside the main entrance) at 1pm on Sunday the 2nd of April 2017 and will have a coffee afterwards nearby. Please register here.

Pawan will be leading the event, just ask for Sarbat and everyone is welcome.

Link : Review from the Guardian

Our October meetup in Birmingham
Oct 25th, 2016 by sarbat

Saran talks about our recent #ComeTogetherInBirmingham meetup event that took place on the 2nd of October 2016.

We came together in Birmingham for our October meetup, the first LGBT+ event organised by a Sikh Darbaar. There were four of us, representing North American, British Asian and Northern European cultures. There was an instant feeling of friendship, of coming home into a relaxed hanging out atmosphere, sharing food and a cuppa. There was an easy flow of getting to know each other. Our stories flowed and were received by each other. We talked about everything from dating to spirituality, and there were many big laughs and lots of humor to the occasion. We also spent some time in the darbaar with the Guru, sharing in the sewa and enjoying some special kirtan.

When we come together to connect as friends, peers and likeminded spiritual beings, we go beyond the surface of things. We go beyond the beliefs that we’re somehow separate, alone, unacceptable, rejected. We come together to create friendships that celebrate us and support us in who we are, we connect to people who are able to understand and listen to our life stories, challenges and spiritual views. There is no agenda but to show up and connect. There is no expectations, just coming together, showing up how ever you are, as you are.

I personally was very excited and a bit nervous about the event, especially as I was representing Mata Tripta Darbar as well as being a non-binary woman myself. It can feel vulnerable to open ourselves up to showing who we truly are. It takes time and effort and lots of self-compassion. It’s an ever-evolving journey to really become who we truly are, to show up in the world as ourselves. This is why I’m so grateful for this meetup, it really showed me the diversity of our Rainbow Sikh community, just even with us four in the room. The unwavering acceptance and recognition that flowed from person to person.

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I really hope you join us for our next meetup on the 6th of November, at Mata Tripta darbar in Birmingham. There’s so much connection and friendship to be had within this community. Please join us in building it, for a fairer, more equal, more compassionate world to come.

Everyone at Sarbat is really excited about our regular events in Birmingham continuing from the 6th of November 2016. A dedicated space on our online forum has been created for you to discuss items that you may wish to discuss during our Birmingham meets. We hope to see you there.

If you wish to have such events in your city/local gurudwara please get in touch.

Everyone pictured here gave their permission to be photographed and shared. Sarbat would never post your photo without consent.

2016-2017 – Monthly Sarbat meetups in Birmingham
Oct 16th, 2016 by sarbat

We are proud to finally announce our monthly meetups in Birmingham taking place on the first Sunday of every month. Please come, meet like minded people, share stories and make new friends in a safe & accepting spiritual space.

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  • Sunday 6th of November 2016
  • Sunday 4th of December 2016
  • Sunday 1st of January 2017
  • Sunday 5th of February 2017
  • Sunday 5th of March 2017
  • Sunday 7th of May 2017
  • Sunday 4th of June 2017

These events cater to needs of LGBT+ Sikhs but others are welcome to join in.

Please share this message with your friends and contacts, it’s time for us to #ComeTogetherInBirmingham

Place: Mata Tripta Darbar, 176 Streetly Road, Erdington B23 7AL
Time: Japji program/paath at 11am and langar at 1pm
We’ll serve tea and nibbles.

For further information – call/text/whatsapp Saran on 07575 756 765 or
Amrita on 07707 913 356 or email at amo151(a)hotmail dot com

Click here for a discussion board thread dedicated to our #ComeTogetherInBirmingham events where you can talk about updates and potential topics for discussion.

2016 Oct – #ComeTogetherInBirmingham 2nd October 2016
Sep 21st, 2016 by sarbat

 

Sarbat is back after our warm summer break with a return to Birmingham.

We’re gathering together for tea and snack on Sunday 2nd of October at 1pm. The venue is Mata Tripta Darbar, housed within the Northside Welcome Centre, 176A Streetly Road, Birmingham, B23 7AL.
sarbatcometogether-001
This is a safe space for all genders and sexualities to come and get together and make new friends.
There will be a short Gurdwara program Sunday morning 10am, all welcome to come to that and hang around until the Sarbat meet at 1pm.
This event is open to people of all religion (or non-religion for that matter), race, gender, political opinion and sexualities. Sarbat never discriminates.
Please share this message with your friends and contacts, it’s time for us to #ComeTogetherInBirmingham
For more information, contact Saran on: 07575756765 or Amrita on: amo151@hotmail.com
🌈❤✨
(Update) Sarbat Picnic on Sat, 16th of July 2016
Jun 4th, 2016 by sarbat

 

Testimony from the organiser – This summer, Sarbat held its first ever Lesbian picnic in the beautiful surrounds of London’s Regents Park. A truly memorable day, bringing together wonderful Sikh Lesbians, from far corners of the UK.
It was fascinating to meet such accomplished Sikh Ladies, each with a unique experience of being a Sikh Lesbian.There was plenty to talk about including the struggles of growing up as a Sikh Lesbian, family pressures, Sikhi and homosexuality, civil partnerships, and yoga/meditation.
Being proud Sikhs, we did our own Kirtan in the park, which was beautifully led by a lady Granthi and accompanied by a talented guitar player.We indulged in lots of food, good discussion, Kirtan and played catch too!
What more could you ask for? Gatherings like these make one appreciate that we are not alone in our struggles and that there are many of us out there with a similar story. It’s so important to get to these events, and I would encourage any of you who might be thinking about it to just come.
Some valuable friendships have grown out of these meet ups. We hope to keep up with regular sarbat meet ups and there are plans for one in the Midlands and one up North in the next couple of months so look out for those!


What better way to enjoy the summer than with a picnic in the beautiful surrounds of Regents Park, London.

This will be only our second Sarbat LBT (Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans) women meet-up in London, following the success of our coffee meet-up in April.

Please note that this event is aimed at LBT Sikh women. 

 

SarbatLesbianPicnic.001

 

Date: Saturday 16 July 2016

Meeting Point:Venue : Starbucks, 1A, Euston Tower Podium, 286 Euston Rd, London NW1 3DP
Closest Tube stations: Warren Street, slightly further out is Euston Square
Closest Rail – Euston Station

Please arrive on time at 12pm. When you arrive, look out for a table with a small orange flag, the Sarbat team will carry this for easy recognition.

We hope to be able to leave Starbucks at 1230 to make our way to Regents Park, which is about a ten minute walk away.

Wear comfortable clothing and footwear as we may play a sport (rounders or football) or go for a stroll around the park. Bring snacks to share.
Be prepared for rain!

Contact Number for the day: If you are unable to meet at Starbucks, call/text our number 07414 772 493 and we will tell you how to get to us.

Towards Marg – A talk by N Kamatkar – 19th May 2016
May 6th, 2016 by sarbat

Towards Marg is an exhibition exploring South Asian LGBT identities in the UK’s political and cultural scenes. Sarbat has arranged a special talk by curator Niranjan Kamatkar, Artistic Director at Wise Thoughts.

Towards Marg (part of the Alchemy Festival 2016) features the photographic work of artists Charan Singh, Raisa Kabir, Balbir Krishan and Sushil Mangaonkar. ‘Marg’ is Sanskrit for pathway, and the exhibition looks at the various journeys South Asian LGBT people are taking through life in this country.

Wise Thoughts is a London-based arts charity dedicated to creating and platforming LGBTQI arts and culture. Established in 1999, they work on projects involving LGBT and BAME artists, filmmakers and practitioners. They also organise multidisciplinary art showcases such as GFEST Gaywise FESTival, London’s annual LGBT cross-art festival, held in November.

Please come at 19:30 for a 20:00 prompt start at Level 2 Foyer (Green Side) at Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre London on Thursday, the 19th of May 2016. Just ask for Sarbat. This event is open for all to enjoy – please join us. Call/text us on  07721097805.

SouthBankCentre4

2016 May – Lesbian Coffee Social Sun 01/05/16
Apr 24th, 2016 by sarbat

After a fantastic Spring Walk and Talk event, we are proud to organise our exclusive Sarbat Lesbian coffee social. A friendly and relaxed event to meet other like minded lesbians.

Far too often issues pertaining to our lesbian sisters are overlooked – Sarbat wants to change that. Our next coffee social is on Sunday, 1st of May 2016 at 2pm in Starbucks 126 Baker Street, W1M 1FH.

Just ask for Sarbat when you get there or call/text us on 07414 772493 (on the day).

focuslesbian1

Moving forward we’ll be looking for volunteers who can help us out with organising events and look after the website (e.g. forum).

Feel free to bring a friend or family – it’s a safe and confidential event as requested by some of our members. Just have a quick look at our code of conduct.

2016 Apr Sarbat Spring Walk in Windsor Great Park
Apr 11th, 2016 by sarbat

Dear friends

(Note New Time)

What better way to welcome spring than a long walk and talk – The historic path connecting the Windsor Castle Grounds to the Copper Horse and the Deer Garden. On Sunday the 24th of April 2016 – We are meeting at Esquires Coffee shop at 12 noon for a prompt start at 1230 pm.

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The most well-known image of Windsor Great Park is arguably the iconic view down the Long Walk, towards Windsor Castle at the far end. This tree-lined avenue stretches down towards the ancient fortress, illustrating the regal grandeur and Royal heritage of Windsor Great Park.

To access the Long Walk and Deer Park, you can park at one of the car parks dotted along the A332 near Windsor, however visitors often park in Windsor town centre and walk along the High Street to enter Windsor Great Park through Cambridge Gate, which is located next to Windsor Castle.

The ever-changing landscape of Windsor Great Park is home to an incredible array of flora and wildlife, making it a great place to explore nature’s beauty during spring.

We recommend good shoes, waterproofs, packed lunch+snacks, a camera and water.The organiser of the walk Dharam is familiar with the park and it’s history.

This walk is open to all. Just mention Sarbat and join in. Feel free to bring a friend or two. The more the merrier. Total walk time 3.5 to 4 hours with a lunch break around the deer park.

 

In case of inclement weather we may consider changing this event to visit to the Windsor Castle. So please visit this page closer to the date for the most up to date info. A mobile phone number will be posted here for you to contact.

 

See you there

2015 Aug – Sarbat in Leicester with Trade LGBT
Jul 10th, 2015 by sarbat

Sarbat is joining forces with Leicester based LGB&T health charity Trade on Sunday 2nd August 2015 2-4 pm for our Health and Wellbeing event.

Sarbat Leicester Social 03

We are very fortunate to be joined in by Rusi Jaspal, professor of Psychology and Sexual Health at De Montfort University, who will be delivering a talk on the specific mental health issues faced by South Asian LGBT communities , and also Makinder Chahal, South Asian LGBT Support and Health Promotion Worker at Trade, who leads on the Humsafar South Asian LGBT support service.

The programe for the event will be as follows:

2:00-2:30pm – Arrival time/refreshments
2:30pm – Welcome message on what Sarbat is, what it does and how you can get involved (Dharam)
2:35pm – The Sikh Perspective (Pawan)
2:40pm – Introduction to Trade (Makinder)
2:50pm – Lead discussion on identity and mental health within South Asian LGB&T communities (Rusi)
3:10pm – Open discussion (Rusi, Dharam and Makinder to facilitate)
4:00pm – Close
4:15/4:30pm – Food at Gujarati vegetarian restaurant (suggestions please)

The event will be hosted at the Trade Office in Leicester and is open to all, regardless of background, ethinicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, and safe space policy will be in place.

Address : Trade, 2nd floor, 27 Bowling Green St, Leicester LE1 6AS , A convenient 10 minute walk from the train station.

For more information please contact Makinder directly on makinder@tradesexualhealth.com or call 0116 254 1747. Please RSVP by emailing makinder@tradesexualhealth.com and a voluntary donation to Trade for refreshments will be highly appreciated.

Sarbat will be livetweeting the event (use #sarbat) and are really looking forward to welcoming you all.

 

2015 Jan – Sarbat says #JeSuisCharlie
Jan 9th, 2015 by sarbat

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The right to freedom of expression is crucial in a democracy – information and ideas help to inform political debate and are essential to public accountability and transparency in society. The right to free expression would be meaningless if it only protected certain types of expression – so the right should protect both popular and unpopular expression, including speech that might shock others.

The recent attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo offices is a direct attack on this fundamental right. We at Sarbat value the power of freedom of speech and its contribution in on our efforts to make the LGBT rights universally acceptable in the Sikh community.

In this moment of solidarity we have chosen “How important is Freedom of Expression and are there any boundaries”, as a topic of discussion for our next meeting, on 18th of January at 15.30 PM in Starbucks (124 Southampton Row WC1B 5AA).

We look forward to meeting you and please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries or suggestions. Prior to coffee social some of us are visiting the British Museum exhibition on Germany. Please book tickets for 13:00 hrs – Tickets need to be booked in advance if you wish to attend the exhibition. We will be outside the exhibition at 1300hrs and it would be great if you could inform us beforehand in case you join us.

If you have any questions please call the sarbat phone on 07779 575 099. Please be aware that we may not have reception at all times so a text message will be better. The discussion session will be chaired by Sarbat Facilitator Dharam. 

2014 Nov – LSESU LGBT Panel Talk
Nov 22nd, 2014 by sarbat

 

LSESU LGBT Panel Talk – As part of LSESU Pride Week – Please join us and representatives of various faith groups taking part in a panel discussion about LGBT issues from a faith perspective.

The event is being held at the Faith Centre, Saw Swee Hock Student Centre (1 Sheffield Street, London WC2A 2EY) from 17:30-1900hrs on Wednesday the 26th of November 2014.

Further details are available here or via an email directly to the organisers info@lsesulgbt.org.uk . See you all there.
LSE

2014 Nov – The Singh Project
Nov 5th, 2014 by sarbat

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Sarbat would like to invite you to our last event of 2014 – “The Singh Project”, on 15th of November at 12 PM at Framers gallery, London. The Singh Project is a photo exhibition that showcases the beauty and diversity of the two most ubiquitous symbols of Sikhism: the beard and turban.
With over 30 million Sikhs in the world, there is an incredible amount of diversity within the community, and the Singh portrait project by London-based photographers Amit and Naroop, is all about highlighting the diversity of these men who all share a common faith.
Venue: Framers Gallery, 36 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JT
Nearest Tube: Goodge Street
Agenda:
• Exhibition- we request all to gather at the main entrance and the tour of the exhibition will start at 1205 PM.
• After event café- we invite you to an after event social gathering at a café nearby. We will discuss the events that were held in 2014, and we request your feedback in improving our future events and in setting the agenda for the next year.

If you require any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us here, via twitter or Facebook and we look forward to meeting you all at the gallery and for a social evening afterwards.
The Sarbat phone will be manned on the day (except at times when during the talk it may be switched off) and you can reach us on 07779 575 099

 

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