Messages and governance

Sarbat Survey 2018 – Findings

Sarbat carried out an online survey inviting responses from it’s immediate membership as well as the wider Sikh community. We had over 120 responses which have been condensed to form this note. The findings discussed in this note will direct the way Sarbat, as a Sikh LGBT support group, will serve the community it represents moving forward.



Q1 – Is there a need for a LGBT group aimed at supporting Sikhs?
Your responses
  • 92% of you said YES
  • 5% stated they were UNSURE.
  • Less than 2% responded NO.
Sarbat’s response – Sarbat will continue to operate as a support group aimed at LGBT Sikhs as there is definitely a need.


Q2 – Who should attend Sarbat’s events and meetings?
Your responses
  • 50% said Anyone supportive of LGBT issues
  • 21% said Sikhs only (LGBT and non-LGBT)
  • 11% said LGBT Sikhs only
  • 10% said LGBT people of any faith or non faith
  • 8% specified a response (detailed below)
Sarbat’s response  – This issue has been raised by a few attendees in the past since they (rightfully) see Sarbat as a platform for discussing LGBT issues with other Sikhs. Many however wish to widen the events to include LGBT individuals regardless of their faith. This does offer its share of challenges and the best way forward would be to respect that although the focus of our group is on the Sikh LGBT sphere, organisers could clarify who is it they wish to address and help as part of their event. Volunteers could continue to organise a mix of events to cater to as diverse a range of individuals as possible. We do acknowledge that we wouldn’t be able to please everyone.


Q3 – What do you want to gain by attending Sarbat events? Multiple responses
Your top responses
  • 72% wanted to meet other Sikh LGBT people
  • 56% wanted to gain support around LGBT issues affecting them
  • 48% wanted to connect with the Sikh faith
  • 28% wanted to meet other people (not necessarily Sikhs)
Sarbat’s response – Again this echos some pointers from the previous question. Sarbat’s raison d’etre is to support LGBT issues affecting Sikhs. It is up to volunteers adhering to the principles of selfless service (seva) to ensure this continues by assessing the suitability of events . Some of you also wanted to meet supportive family members and partners.


Q4 –  What types of meetings would you like Sarbat to organise? (Multiple responses).
Your top responses
  • 80% said social meet-ups
  • 75% Educational/Cultural events around LGBT issues
  • 67% Educational/Cultural events around faith
  • 65% Support group sessions
  • 54% Gurudwara visits
  • 53% Outdoor activities
Sarbat’s response – Many of you mentioned that you wanted to meet other LGBT Sikh individuals. You said that this was for a multitude of things including sharing experience, building a better understanding of the Sikh faith and to form lasting friendships. You wanted Sarbat volunteers to facilitate dialogue by organising a variety of events.


Q5 –  Who should be responsible for organising Sarbat’s meetings?
Your responses
  • 50% Sarbat volunteers (from the area where the event take place)
  • 29% Members on a rotational basis
  • 15% Any member with personal experience of LGBT issues
Sarbat’s response – Sarbat will continue to rely on local volunteers to run events. Any geographic location will require local support specific to the region i.e volunteers who are able to gauge the level of interest in the local Sikh community and organise relevant events. Majority of people want events which are organised ‘for’ them rather than ‘by’ them which inherently means that Sarbat’s role will be directly limited by the availability/schedule of people who identify themselves as volunteers


Q6-  How often should Sarbat’s meetings be held?
Your responses
  • 48% Monthly
  • 29% every 2-3 months
  • 8% a couple of times a year
  • 7% 6 weekly
  • 7% weekly
Sarbat’s response – Sarbat events require local volunteers and event frequency is dependent on their ability to plan and organise effectively. A monthly frequency is not reasonable or even feasible.


Q7  – Would you be willing to donate a small amount of money e.g. £10 (or equivalent) once a year in order to fund the activities of Sarbat?
  • 74% Yes
  • 26% Not sure or No
Sarbat’s response – Great to hear that people are willing to donate money, probably need to consider how to take that forward. We are open for your suggestions although one way would be to request voluntary contributions at the end of each meetup in case a venue has required funding.


Q8 – Are you aware of Sarbat’s web and social media presence (e.g. Website, facebook, twitter and newsletter)?
  • 60% Yes
  • 40% No
Sarbat’s response – Sarbat realises that respondents are probably inherently biased positively here. The people who don’t know about Sarbat probably wouldn’t have responded to the survey in the first place as they wouldn’t have heard about it.


Q9   Do you have any comments or suggestion for Sarbat? 
Some pertinent points
  • Please open locations worldwide – requires local volunteers
  • Provide service to Indian lgbt individuals to ‘help them migrate to more accepting countries’ – For the record Sarbat provides no such service and since the recent ruling in India Re: Sec 377, we anticipate tremendous strides to be made there
  • Engage with Sikh leaders, Gurudwaras and scholarly debates – please provide suggestions
  • Raise awareness and improve visibility – please get in touch
  • Requesting transparency in terms of a committee/board style – unrealistic given the number of people involved
  • Clear unused profiles on your Sarbat social media page – Please tell us how


Note produced by Dharam Singh on behalf of Sarbat.

2 replies on “Sarbat Survey 2018 – Findings”

Thank you for the summary of the findings Dharmender, and the very helpful and practical responses to the findings.


I run an initiative called Taraki, which wants to change how Punjabi communities approach mental health.

We recently undertook a survey regarding Punjabi cultural values and how they may impact mental health. A topic which came up several times was that LGBTQ+ individuals did not feel comfortable discussing their mental health in a faith space, despite their readiness to engage with the Sikh faith.

I was wondering whether someone from Sarbat wanted to have a chat about how we can begin to reconcile this chasm? I can maybe help organise a question and answer session by a Sikh educator with Sarbat?

I think this gap needs to be bridged, and I’d love to help with this. Do let me know if you want a call!

Many thanks,


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