QYSSA: Queer Youth Solidarity, Support & Affirmation: An online Support Group From Online Only | TheMindClan

QYSSA: Queer Youth Solidarity, Support & Affirmation

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  • Fees Type: Paid
  • City: Online Only
  • Languages: English, Hindi, Gujarati
  • Meets: Twice A Month
  • Participant Limit: 15
  • Notes: There is a suggested donation of between Rs 50/- and 200/- to support the continuation of this kind of work.
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  • What Is QYSSA: Queer Youth Solidarity, Support & Affirmation About?
    QYSSA aims to bring young queer/LGBTQIA+ and questioning youth together to a space where we can collectively unpack what is going on in our lives and individual journeys of discovering our selves. This space is for sharing, listening, offering experiences, asking questions, learning to ask for help and allowing ourselves to be held empathetically by those willing to stand with us. This group is also open to queer youth from across South Asia (anyone who can push through multiple time zones and make it there on time, is welcome!)
  • What is your founding story?
    Both the facilitator and the organisation have been doing work extensively on mental health and community building, but over time we realised that no matter how much we do, the heartbreaking reality that young queer children are struggling to live and grow in their family settings has only gotten more apparent. Post 2020, Anahita has personally been approached by many such young individuals, who have felt at the end of their rope and completely alone and helpless. While one on one conversations and interventions continue, together with QueerAbad, we wanted to create a space for these young folx to come to and see and hear each other. Find solidarity in each other’s experiences and remember they are not alone. We wanted to at the very least be able to open up possibility where young queer people could come and find joy and affirmation in their identity, not just hardship and helplessness.
  • Who are the facilitators behind QYSSA: Queer Youth Solidarity, Support & Affirmation?

    Anahita Sarabhai (she/they) is a queer, disabled, intersectional feminist activist, educator, artist and facilitator. They have worked with and for the queer community both professionally, as the founder-director of QueerAbad, and personally for the last 7 years. They are trained in Queer Affirmative Peer Support Counselling, have a Mental Health & Counselling certificate from Bharati College, Delhi, as well as being a certified Nonviolent Communication (NVC) facilitator.

    They have also been teaching and facilitating workshops with teenagers and young adults, especially from marginalised communities, for over 10 years focusing on issues of gender and sexuality, mental health, self acceptance and care and telling one’s own stories, to name a few.



    Notes: The above information may change from time to time, and is shared with you to understand the background of where the support group comes from.
  • When was your support group founded? How has the journey been since then?
    We are at the very beginning of QYSSA, though many earlier versions of it have existed. Our first meeting was in Feb 2021.
  • Who is your support group for?
    This group is solely for people below the age of 25 who identify as queer, +LGBTQIA or are still questioning and exploring their gender and sexual identity.
  • Explain your group's approach towards helping a person's mental health care.
    We strongly believe that the answers we need can be found in one another and our own shared experiences. With a focus on self reflection and collective learning and growth, we hope that this time will ease the process of having the complex conversations we know we must have with ourselves. The foundation of how we approach mental health care in this space is by honest sharing and active empathetic listening, both to the self and others in the group. This allows for the building of a strong network of peers who can hold space for and depend on each other, while simultaneously working towards becoming independent and resilient individuals who can make informed choices for themselves, without fear, guilt or shame.
  • What is your group's approach towards professional mental health care interventions?
    We have an excellent list of queer affirmative therapists that are available should someone want or need one on one sessions or find they need to urgently speak to someone who has a more or different professional mental health experience and background.
  • What conversations is your support group not equipped to support?
    We have the space to begin most conversations, but after a certain point this group may not be equipped to provide appropriate or long term support on dealing with suicidal ideation, child sexual abuse, ptsd and other serious trauma or personality disorders.
  • How does one sign up? What’s the coordination process like?

    Please DM us on Instagram or email us. Please provide us with the following information if you’d like to join us:

    Name (chosen or given)
    Age
    Location (optional)
    Email address

    Once we have your information, we send you an email on the Sunday before the meeting with the zoom link and any additional information you may need.

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  • Walk us through the average format of your group session.
    The format is relatively informal, after a round of introductions with sharing of pronouns, we do a quick check in to see how everyone is doing. This usually directly leads us into someone wanting to share a thought, question or experience. From that point on we let the conversation roll in whatever direction the participants wish to take it. At the end we do a short closing and check-in once again before signing off.
  • What are your home rules/values?
    • This space is open to any kind of conversations you need to have! Nothing is off limits.
    • At all times, respect privacy and confidentiality of individuals and stories shared in the space.
    • Our intentions for being here and listening to one another are very important. This space is for community building and support.
    • Take turns to share or speak. Really listen when another person is speaking and keep interruptions to a zero if possible.
    • We encourage everyone to express themselves. However, no one will be forced to speak or switch on their camera. (The chat box is also available if you prefer that route)
    • Agree to disagree… Whatever our stance, we owe each other the space to differ and to disagree respectfully and with kindness.
    • Any kind of hate speech like sexist, casteist, homophobic, transphobic will not be tolerated. We do hold the right to ask you to leave, thought we’d prefer to have a conversation with you about it.
    • Please give Trigger Warnings while sharing stories that may contain sensitive information.
    • There will be zero tolerance of harassment and any form of bullying, trolling, etc.
  • What do you hope for participants in your group to take back with them after a session?
    To feel like none of us are alone and that these sessions are a place we can always return to, both to be seen as we wish to be and to take a break from our everyday lives and worlds. We hope participants leave feeling more grounded and at peace with themselves, even if there are more questions than answers they carry in that moment. We hope they leave with a little bit of joy too, at having shared a sense of community and togetherness.

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