This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Sayra Khanwelkar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

A Suicide Survivor’s Guide For LGBT+ Teens To Get Through The Day

*Trigger Warning*

I’ll begin this post by making one thing clear, I can’t promise you that things will get better because if I did, I would be lying. What I can promise you, is that I can help you get through today.

The first time I tried killing myself, I was 21 years old. I’m 24 now, and I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. Things got better for me after I came out to my parents as transgender because my parents were supportive. But I know for a fact that, for one inspirational story, there are dozens that don’t end well.

The circumstances might be different for you, maybe you are unlucky to have homophobic parents, maybe you are transgender like me but don’t look like the gender you identify with, maybe you live in a country where it’s still a crime to be gay, you can still get through this day. Just follow what I have written below, it worked for me, it mostly will work for you too!

  • I know you are feeling pretty bad right now; what I need you to do at this very moment is to say it out loud. “Yes, I’m feeling bad, I am upset right now and I’m suicidal.” Don’t say it out very loud though, you don’t want your neighbours to break down your door.
  • Now take a deep breath and just accept the circumstances, but don’t dwell on it too much, after all, you are a fighter and fighters don’t wallow in self-pity.
  • Now imagine you are living the way you want, maybe with a partner of your choice, or living as your true gender. Imagine everyone has accepted the way you talk and walk, the way you dress. Imagine how beautiful your life would be. Feels good right?
  • Now make a list of all the things that you could do to make that life possible. It could be something like coming out to your parents and friends, maybe moving to an LGBT+ friendly city, or becoming financially independent. It can be absolutely anything.
  • Now tick those things that you can do today. Not tomorrow or the day after, but today itself.
  • Not much you can do today right? You’ll need some time to do all of these things that you have written.
  • Now think about what you had in your mind before you clicked on this post. You had thoughts of killing yourself. But you need some time to accomplish the things you have listed. So what do you need to do?
  • Maybe, you need to give yourself some time.
  • But it hurts to live right now, am I correct? But you are a fighter, and you can definitely take some pain. Why not try to go through today? Why not try to work on completing your list?
  • Take a moment to breathe. You are going to survive today after all. Maybe you’ll try to do something about what’s on your list, or maybe you’ll watch the latest episode of your favourite TV series. It doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that whether you are alive by the end of the day.
  • If you want to talk to someone, you can talk to an ally, or just drop an email on shlkhanwelkar@gmail.com

Life is definitely hard being LGBT+. I won’t sugar coat it. But believe me, it gets easy once you start accepting yourself and stop caring about what other people think.

Things may not work for all of you, all the time, but they will definitely work for all of you, some of the times.

Ever wondered what the common thread is in all the motivational speeches that we listen on the internet? Time! Yes, time is the constant and everything gets better with time. Things may sometimes not actually get better, but at least, you gain the perspective of looking at these things.

And when you think of killing yourself the next time, think of the fact that you’ll be denying yourself the one constant that’s important, time.

Read this again tomorrow, read this daily if you need to, and there will come a day when you’ll feel no need to look for inspiration on the internet. It will just come from within.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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