Five questions with Param Singh, a young gay Sikh living in Australia, who believes everyone should have the freedom to love and be honest with themselves
What was it like growing up?
It wasn’t difficult at all; it felt normal, the first crush, those feelings and all those tricks to see and meet my crush all of it just felt very natural. Sometimes I wondered why am I attracted to males and my mates are to females but I didn’t care about finding why that was. God knows how many times I fell in love in my teens and growing up in India around those Bollywood movies and music just made life just like a fairyland. So I embraced it because to me to love someone and show your affection was beyond the issue of gender and race. And this was taught to us in Gurubani or Sikh Bible.
Anyway life isn’t a story from some fairy tale; after I graduated from college family members started talking about my marriage and all that stuff. My whole world fell apart, I had no idea how to express myself to them; I am the only one I know who’s attracted to same sex. I was in such a dark place for a few years. Anyway with some other family issues around no one bothered to talk about my marriage for a few years. Deep down I knew that this isn’t going to work in India, even if I tell them about me (mind you I had no courage at that point in my life) there is no way they gonna say yes it is okay to be gay and we will accept you and love you no matter what.
How did you come out?
I moved to Australia at the age of 23 for university and few years later I had graduated and was working as a teacher. Well that was the perfect timing for my parents to say son lets get you a wife. I was like here we go again lol. I was dating someone at that time. Everyday the nagging of my parents and relatives created some sort of chaos in my life. I thought to myself this is not what I want. It’s my life, I need to live the way I want. They need to be told the truth about my sexuality. I wasn’t going to say yes to whatever they had to say and agree to marry a girl. So I sat down with a glass of wine and thought do I really want to marry a girl, make family happy and ruin her life or I can tell them the truth, be the worse son ever, save someone’s life and release that pressure off my chest. Well I chose to come out. And it was one of the best decisions of my life that I have ever made. My parents denied it and one of Aunties (that lives in Delhi thought she will have an open mind but I was wrong), she also denied it and suggested few other things that I wasn’t going to do. Few years later same stuff happened again I had to explain them again (This time with some details). Mum still talks about me marrying a girl and I always go “mum you know what I want”. Anyway cat is out the bag and is alive.
What has been your inspiration in life?
Coming to Australia was another best choice that I made. This culture and way of life have helped me to grow as a human and except who I truly am. There’s a lot more freedom here as compared to India in so many ways. Exposure to media, lifestyle and culture truly inspired me to learn about different genders, races and individuals. Speaking of media I came to know about few tv shows like Queer As Folk and Sex & the City. Well let me tell you these two shows and stories in it gave me a huge amount of confidence to do things that I would never do. Samantha Jone’s character in Sex And The City and her attitude towards living life to the fullest without worrying about what others have to say influenced me so much. All of this helped me so much to say that I am a gay Sikh, I am proud of who I am and I am going to embrace it no matter what.
What has been some of your greatest achievements?
I will say my greatest achievement is the lifestyle that I have now have which I always dreamed of in my teen years. I have the real freedom to love anyone, freedom to say to this world that I am a Gay Sikh and freedom of living my life the way I want. It wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t come to Australia and travelled around the world.
What is your message to the world?
I would say to others, be strong. I know it is easy to say but as our Shri Gurus have taught us to fight for the truth, you need to fight for yourself and your truth. Stop pleasing others. You will exhaust yourself if you think you can please everyone in your life. It is your life, know the value of life and every day in it, make the most of it, live every day of your lives as it is your last day. It is not going to be easy; I still have some bad days even now. You deserve to be respected, you deserve happiness and you deserve to fall in love and be loved.
Param Singh is an out and proud gay Sikh male living in Australia. We here at Sher Vancouver, think Param is a role model for young queer people of colour everywhere. If you have any questions and/or want to share your feelings with Param, feel free to contact him via facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karam.param or instagram:- singh_brah