Dear A,

I know you’re feeling lonely. You feel like there is no one in the world like you, nor anyone you can relate to. I know you feel that this loneliness and uncertainty will be everlasting because no one, including yourself, understands you or your experience.

You are unsure about both your sexual orientation and your gender identity. You feel different because you are not like other girls who like boys, and you feel you don’t relate to them. You know that you like girls, and this makes you feel strange and isolated. I want you to know – what you’re feeling is not strange. You are not alone in feeling this way. These feelings seem so eternal to you now, but as you grow older, this feeling of internal struggle will move on to one of clarity. You will also come across a sense of community and belonging. You will have many people that you call a friend.

While you are discovering yourself, things with your family will become difficult. You will feel like you don’t belong within your family. You will think your parents care more about your siblings than you. Your father won’t speak kindly to you, and sometimes your family will say things no one should have to hear. Your family will also force you to behave like a daughter. Believe me: I know what it is like to wake up in the only home you have ever known and not feel understood or accepted. Because of this, life might feel too difficult to go on, but you will always push through.

You are the strongest person I know. You would much rather leave home than be forced to live in a way you don’t want. Soon, you will leave home and move to the big city, Kathmandu. Once in the city, people will try to involve you in sex work, but you will resist the pressure. You find it difficult in Kathmandu, to begin with, but you make ends meet by doing odd jobs. You won’t ever tell your parents that you are struggling.

Things will be better. Strength, confidence and resilience will become an important part of your character.

You will be in a different phase of your life, one in which you realize there is a word for people who feel what you feel: trans man. You will be proud of this newfound clarity. As I promised, you will meet many like you, and for once in your life, you will feel understood.

Life will get better. Eventually, your family will accept you, even though they used to try to force you to change. During your journey, your siblings will remain a source of comfort. You used to paint houses with your brother, but later you will become a human rights activist working for LGBTIQ+ communities across Nepal. You will study psychosocial counselling to help people with mental health difficulties. Who would have thought that this would be your journey?

You will find someone you love. You will move into a house with them. You will pay your own rent. You will be independent in the truest sense. There is a lot to look forward to. I am proud of you.