The penultimate portion of Trans Joy in 2021 is a festive special.
Many people around the world will be celebrating Christmas over the coming weekend. This includes trans and non-binary people but, as shown by a PinkNews reader survey this week, many LGBT+ people are forced to hide their true selves at Christmas.
One in eight readers who took part in a social media poll said they have to hide who they are over Christmas, while 68 per cent of the 7,500 people who responded said they find the holidays more stressful because they are LGBT+.
The stress of the holiday season can be particularly acute for trans and non-binary people, who may experience relatives misgendering and deadnaming them, transphobia from their wider family and even physical violence from family members.
A TransActual survey of trans lives in 2021 found that 85 per cent of trans people have experienced transphobia from family members, with 26 per cent experiencing it “frequently” and more than one in 10 saying their family is transphobic to them “every time” they see them. And this figure rises to 95 per cent of Black and POC trans people experiencing transphobia from family members.
While the PinkNews survey found that one in 10 LGBT+ readers plan on spending Christmas alone, for younger trans and non-binary people still living at home, this isn’t an option. Several organisations have put together “survival guides” for trans youth over the festive season – and some have gone one step further with their festive support for young trans and non-binary people.
So, for week’s edition of our Trans Joy series, we want to highlight a mutual aid campaign that is working tirelessly to bring Christmas cheer to trans and non-binary young people over the holidays: Transanta.
‘It would mean everything for me to get a few Christmas gifts from somebody who cares’
Transanta is a mutual aid social-media campaign developed last year by Pose star Indya Moore, ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio, and artist and designer Kyle Lasky. It’s simple: Trans youth write their Christmas wish-lists and send them to Transanta, and people can buy the gifts for them, which will be posted directly.
It’s a safe and anonymous way of delivering Christmas gifts to trans youth in need. The campaign connects young trans people who are homeless, in foster care or spending Christmas with unsupportive family with Santas around the world who can send gifts and affirmation.
View this post on Instagram
The letters to Transanta are heartbreaking, and show how desperately trans young people need our support.
“My name is Lily and I’m a 18 year old lesbian trans girl studying to be a game developer,” one letter to Transanta begins. “I am mixed (Brazilian and Italian), which made me an outcast growing up in a conservative small town.
“Coming out as trans at 12 made things even harder. My parents are extremely transphobic and have always stopped me from being my true self. The worst thing was when they would force me to go get haircuts… But I moved out as soon as I started school in the fall so for the first time I’ve been able to grow out my hair!
“Recently I’ve been researching what products and tools are good for curly hair and I would love if you could help me with those purchases. I’m barley scraping by money-wise right now because I’m not getting any help from my parents since we aren’t on speaking terms, so I’ll be spending the holidays working.
“It would mean everything for me to get a few Christmas gifts from somebody who cares.”
Another, from an 18-year-old trans man, reads: “I am luckier than most trans people my age by having a place to stay, but as soon as I start transitioning I will be kicked out and need to find a place to live. Anything helps, this is an amazing charity and I thank everyone involved.”