HangOuts - coping with hard times By Kuljit Bhogal | @kuljit_sb Kuljit is the facilitator for our online peer-support group for gay, bi and trans men from South Asian heritage. In this article, Kuljit wanted to share his thoughts about the group and topics it covers. Our Hangouts group - a peer support group for gay, bisexual and trans men of South Asian heritage - has been running since the end of 2020 and it’s been a great place for gay, bisexual and trans men of South Asian heritage to connect with each other. It’s s space where we can talk about the influence of our cultures on the way we live our lives without fear of being judged or criticised. Our July 2021 meeting was about how we cope with hard times. We talked about lots of different things and although it was sometimes tough hearing about the hardships people have faced, it was also uplifting to hear about how people got through these tough times. One of the big messages that kept coming up in the group was the importance of finding people that accept you and value your uniqueness. We talked about how hard it can be to constantly feel judged or not ‘normal’ by our friends, families or co-workers and that it’s important we also have access to spaces where we can relax, recharge and just be ourselves. Finding spaces like this isn’t always easy and it can involve a lot of trial and error. As we grow and learn more about ourselves, we can also outgrow these spaces and need to look for new ones. The main thing is that we’re clear about what kind of space we’re looking for and that we also consider our emotional and physical safety before, during and after we access these spaces. If a space doesn’t feel right or is making you feel worse – take a break from it and think about trying something different. If you’re on the lookout for a service or group take a look at the LGBT Hero website for some places to start. You can also email us directly and we can point you in the right direction. Our Hangouts group is open to any gay, bisexual or trans men with South Asian heritage who live in the UK. To sign up for the next group CLICK HERE If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch on [email protected]. HangOuts is funded through the Hatta Hodson Estate and we are very thankful for their support.