Sardar Singh / Canada
“’Padh-LikhKe Bada Ho Ke Tu EkKitaabLikhana
ApaneSavalon Ka Tu Kud Hi JavaabLikhana’
‘When You grow up and get educated, write a book.
You will write the truth to your own questions.’
The ever-bonding song my mother planted in me. I don’t think even she quite understands the foundations she laid. I was born to rise, I was born to lead, I was born to shit disturb. Silently telling me to do more but publicly cutting my wings for doing just that. I could sit here and recall all these painful and traumatic journeys that life has taken me on, but I am tired of that. I am tired of exploiting my pain. I want to take you on a journey of liberation and reclamation.
After being outed in 2013 all I heard was ‘if you want to be gay, go do it somewhere else’. So, I did just that, I knew I could not be left alone in peace if I stayed in the UK, so the day after graduation I packed my bags and ventured across to Toronto. I was free, finally free, I could live however I saw fit for me. Get up when I want, eat, and drink what I want, go where I want and dress how I want.
Time…Time is a healer. I had space to breath, play and learn. I learned that I was not just a lazy depressive, but I was living with Complex Childhood PTSD. I learned I was emotionally neglected, I had no idea of boundaries, selfcare or what traumas impacted how I functioned alone, in public or in intimate relationships.
I landed well on my feet here, I started serving at a bar. When I launched the Queer Sikh Network in 2018 I no idea how impactful it would be, but that opened my path into the world of HIV/AIDS activism. I became a Gay Men’s Health Programs Coordinator and that led to becoming a researcher at UofT. With the skills I have learned through my work, I’ve relearned how to be gentle with myself, set boundaries, verbalise my thoughts and feelings in ways that has healed relationships at home.
My relationship with my family has never been stronger. We went from telling me to be ashamed and hide to, morning coffee chats with mum about non monogamy and sex positivity. Today I stand proud and tall like a peacock embodying all its spiritual meaning because there is nothing more powerful than a person who has healed, reclaimed power and ready to serve.”