You can be a last-minute Santa for needy trans youth

Thomas' letter to Santa
Thomas' letter to Santa Photo: screenshot

A new program started online is connecting disadvantaged trans youth with secret Santas from across the country.

Transanta connects the youth, who write letters to Santa and create Amazon wishlists, to donors who can see the messages on Instagram. If the appeals move would-be Santas, they can click to see what’s on the youth’s wishlist and purchase the item to be sent directly to them.

“hello! my name is thomas,” one letter writer says in his plea. “i am a 15 year old trans man and i am disabled. i am unable to work a job to buy mobility aids and my guardians wont buy them for me. with my current position i am unable to go to in-person school without mobility aids. i am unable to do things i want such as going on fun trips or even go on walks without debilitating pain and fatigue. my doctors have decided my best option are forearm crutches. i want to be able to leave my house without being in pain and i am unable to do that without mobility aids. i will be so so grateful to anyone that gets them for me. thank you so so much transanta”

Generous Santas granted Thomas’ wish for forearm crutches and ankle and wrist supports.

Many letters request furnishings for new apartments after the youth have been thrown out of their homes. Others ask for food or personal hygiene items. Some ask for help to get loved ones Christmas gifts instead of something for themselves.

“Transanta is a cute name, but it isn’t really about Christmas. It’s about the importance of being seen, it’s about trans joy and trans futures. It’s about deepening the connection that trans youth feel with their larger community and to their own lives,” Kyle, one of the founders, says in a video posted to Instagram.

“There is so much suffering in the world; there are so many crises and issues that demand our attention. It can feel very overwhelming and I know personally I often feel powerless to help,” they continue.

“But this is a very hands on, direct way you can make a significant impact on the lives of trans youth: a minority group that faces significantly higher than average rates of emotional and physical abuse, homelessness, not to mention mental health struggles due to the constant onslaught of transphobic rhetoric both from intimate family systems and society at large.”

Santas who visit the site can sort the letters either by the most recent or the oldest letters with the least amount donated. Most of the pleas come with art drawn by the youth or photos of their handwritten letters. The descriptions on Instagram include more details.

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