Discussion about Sexuality

Discussion about Sexuality
In April 2021 the Chai in the City Open Group for Punjabi men met virtually to discuss the topic of sexuality. Here are some reflections from the brilliant team who facilitate and contribute towards those conversations.

This month’s session was to discuss the subject of sexuality. As always, a warm welcome was offered to all who attend. This month had a real international and open feeling with participants coming from across the UK, Europe, and North America. The session started with introductions and setting the scene as well as setting the safe environment for open discussion. The importance of having the opportunity to talk without prejudice and to listen to others is always at the heart of the forum and to that end if’s a fundamental ask for the virtual forum to have cameras on, this helps the connection between all.

After a whole group introduction, the group divide into smaller groups in breakout rooms to discuss the subject. To help guide the discussions three questions were posed. For this month’s forum they broadly focused on how the conversation around sexuality occur in the Punjabi community; how can sexual orientation impact on mental wellbeing and how can we be allies to those who are marginalised due to sexual orientation.

The conversations included the development of personal sexuality and how we learn about sexuality within the community, and sometimes the self-learning in the absence of conversation within the families/peers. As well as how sexuality is sometimes reinforced by gender roles and expectations within the community from both tradition and religion.

The conversation in both groups discussed the experience of sexual orientation and how some people felt guilt due to privilege and others felt marginalised or conflicted by theirs. There were opportunities to talk about how both religion, cultural and social expectations all play a part in the response and experiences of group members.

The theme of mental wellbeing was a clear thread through the discussions and how the impact of both internal and external conflict can affect how we feel as whole.

One of the biggest questions which challenged all was how we can be supportive allies for those who are marginalised. There were ideas and experiences shared amongst the group as well as links to external resources and support. What came across from the group clearly was the true desire to support and promote an open/receptive environment where everyone was valued.

download now