Dear S,

I know you are having a hard time understanding yourself. So let me tell you how I see you. You are open. You are unafraid. You are accepted – by your friends and family. Perhaps not now, but they will accept you in time.

You may not know it yet, but you are not alone, and it is okay to feel a little lost when discovering yourself. As you get older, you will find your people, your community. They will understand your experiences and your journey. These people will form organizations to guide, support and advocate for LGBTIQ+ communities. They will embrace you and encourage you to open up to your family. As you first begin to understand your identity, you will turn to your younger sister and share this with her. You will learn that your younger sister will always be there for you, and you can tell her anything. Later, you will discover that your older brother is gay. You will learn that he was verbally abused in school and faced discrimination. For example, he will be unsure about which bathroom to use, and when he reports the abuse he hears, his teacher will tell him to just wear female clothing and avoid associating with other males. You will learn that your siblings will always support you. As for your parents, although they are hesitant towards your LGBTIQ+ friends, they will gradually understand and become accepting. The same as they did with your brother.

Things might be tough right now; your two elder sisters are married and have now started working away from home. Your father is also working away from home, and you have been left with the responsibility of heading the household and supporting your sister. You are becoming self-reliant, and in time, this quality will mean that others will be able to rely on you too.

For example, after overcoming your anxieties about sharing your sexual orientation, you will begin to wonder about others who are in the same position as you or cannot be themselves. Being self-reliant taught you to look after not only yourself but also others. You will realize that had you have been alone; this journey would have been far more difficult. This motivates you to begin working for LGBTIQ+ organizations to campaign for justice on behalf of LGBTIQ+ communities. Through your work, others in the community will feel confident and empowered to be themselves without fear. Nevertheless, there is much work to do because although things have improved since you were young, it is not over until everyone has the right to live how they choose.

As for your friends, some will lean on you and look to you for support as they share their experiences of violence and discrimination. Your friends will share that people verbally abused them, calling them names like “chhakka” and “hijada,” beat them and then took them to the police station. You will gather up your friends and rush to the police station together to release them. You will apply pressure to the police and fight for justice. The perpetrators will be punished, and you will be successful in your efforts.

When you grow older, you will stand in your own decisions. You will tell your family that you do not wish to marry a man and become bound to household chores. And although people will reach out to your parents with hopes of marriage, your parents will stand by you and support you. They will tell them that the decision to marry is yours and yours alone.

Remember, you are open. You are unafraid. You are accepted.