Our mission statement.
Sarbat is a volunteer led group addressing LGBT issues from a Sikh perspective. We empower our members to encourage discussions, tackle homophobia/biphobia/transphobia and build bridges within and beyond their communities.
- Awareness and Conversations : We want our volunteers to move the conversation forward about issues faced by LGBT Sikhs. We anticipate this would be done by increasing awareness, engaging in social media and addressing homophobia
- Social and Support : We want our volunteers to create and continually develop spaces where LGBT Sikhs meet each other and find support
- Resources: We want our volunteers to develop and provide useful resources about the Sikh perspective on LGBT issues not only for our community but those outside it
Our core ethics.
- The concept of Seva or selfless service – i.e. not expecting any material reward for volunteering @ Sarbat
- Treating others with equality and respect
- Acknowledge the five fundamental human qualities which our Gurus extensively advocated – Sat (truth), Daya (compassion), Santokh (contentment), Nimrata (humility), and Pyaar (love)
- Confidentiality and discretion
What is the origin of the word ‘Sarbat’?
The word Sarbat derives from the final line of the Ardas (the congregational Prayer of Supplication).
Nanak naam chardi kala, terey bhaney sarbat da bhalla
Nanak says that with God’s name comes happiness and well-being, and with Your blessings, may there be peace and prosperity for all mankind. The term Sarbat translates to ‘the whole of mankind’.
Are you a religious group?
We are a mixture of both practising and non-practising Sikhs. We are not a wholly religious group but we all share common Sikh values. Some of us find aspects of being a Sikh intertwined with the Punjabi culture and some of us don’t. We understand that we can’t be all things to all people – and that’s fine.
Where are you based?
As of now, most of our volunteers are based in and around London where most events take place. These volunteers have in the past travelled extensively to organise events elsewhere but moving forward, we want local volunteers to take ownership of futures events. We are proud to have organised events in other parts of the UK and beyond- Birmingham (2011,2017), Manchester (2012,2017), Leeds(2013,2018), New York (2013), Leicester (2015) and Bradford (2018).
How do you share information about events?
Our newsletter is the primary source of information about Sarbat which we encourage you to join. All meetings and events are also shared on our social media. Recent newsletters can be found here.
Are you only open to LGBT Sikhs?
The meetings are open for all to attend as we believe in equality for everyone but the issues discussed are usually relate to Sikh values shared by our members. Our events are aimed at adults.
How do I become a volunteer and organise events in my city?
We would welcome you to be involved. Please send us a succinct project proposal with specific information on nature, target and impact in your area. Eventually a volunteer would become part of the Sarbat board once they have organised three events or been actively involved organising events for over eight months. Once part of the board, they would be expected to shape the future of Sarbat – which includes charity registrations and funding applications among other roles.
Are you able to represent Sarbat at an event/podcast/media/news story etc I am organising?
As volunteers, we try our best to give time to running of the group despite our busy lives. We get a lot of invites to attend/represent Sikh LGBT perspective at events and seminars so are only able to consider invitations in return for a contribution towards our cause. We are not able to answer each and every email in detail but what we can do is to maintain an active presence, ensure our volunteers organise events and provide spaces for like minded Sikhs and allies to meet each other.
Can you share a survey/research proposal etc. among your membership?
As long as what you wish us to share is aligned with the kind of support group we are, we would ask you to email us an image (png or jpg – pdfs cannot be shared on social media) poster with all relevant details and/or weblink for us to share on our social media. We reserve the right to not share if we deem it unsuitable or irrelevant to who we are and what we stand for. We will likely ask for a contribution towards our work.
What is Sarbat’s perspective on marriage of convenience (MOC)?
“Sikh teachings espouse living a true and honest life. Anand Karaj, is one of the most religious of acts one can partake in Sikhism. It is not just, as many would describe, a ‘wedding ceremony’. It goes far beyond that. You need to ask yourself a few questions, whether you are a practising Sikh or not. “
“Are you prepared to commit such an act of deceit in front of your Guru? Furthermore, to do so in the presence of your family, would it not place a life long burden on your conscience, which you would not wish to carry? “
“If every gay Sikh behaved in such a manner, the gay (Sikh) cause might as well wave a white flag now and bury any hopes of ever moving forward and being accepted for whom we are. I refuse to join the ranks of those who have trodden that path. ” (Contribution by Sarbat volunteer, Kam Singh)
Which side of the political spectrum do you fall under?
Sarbat is politically neutral.
Find more about our code of conduct here.
Finally, we are absolutely humbled by the various messages of support we get from all over the world.