European_Douchebag via Reddit
This photo of Balpreet Kaur was posted on Reddit. The college student wrote a comment to explain that her facial hair is a reflection of her faith as a baptized Sikh.
A photo unknowingly taken of Ohio State University student Balpreet Kaur, who has sideburns and a beard, was posted on the website’s “funny” thread, prompting a string of cruel comments. When the neuroscience student saw them, she added a message of her own.
“Yes, I’m a baptized Sikh woman with facial hair,” Kaur wrote. “Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body — it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being (which is genderless, actually) and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will.”
Kaur continued to school callous commenters on her religion, explaining that she wasn’t upset or offended — if anyone wanted a photo, “they could have just asked and I could have smiled.”
“To me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are,” she wrote. “So, if anyone sees me at OSU, please come up and say hello.”
Kaur explained that when she dies, “no one is going to remember what I looked like.”
“However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating chance and progress for this world in any way I can.”
Balpreet Kaur via Twitter
The sophomore is a member of Interfaith Youth Core, a group that promotes tolerance and encourages young people to learn about multiple faiths.
The Reddit user who posted the photo, “european—douchebag,” has since apologized.
The 20-year-old from Melbourne, Fla., who asked to remain anonymous, told the Daily News he understands why people are angry, saying “it was an ignorant post.”
He posted an apology on Reddit and also reached out to Kaur.
“It turns out she went to my rival high school where I grew up [in West Chester, Ohio],” he said. “She was glad in a sense that I posted it so more people could see, and so much positivity came out what started as a negative thing.
Talking to Kaur “completely opened my eyes,” he said.
“I never even thought about how she felt or what she was going through. I really admire her faith.”
The Reddit community condemned the post and hailed Kaur for her graceful response.
“I almost cried reading this,” one user wrote. “I wish I had a soul a quarter as beautiful as yours.”