The Transanta gift-giving campaign was founded by Chase Strangio, a staff lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, actor and activist Indya Moore, and designer and photographer Kyle Lasky—all of whom are transgender. The aim is to support trans youth across the U.S. by allowing them to make their needs public so that anyone can purchase items for them for Christmas.
If you scroll through the letters on the Transanta Instagram page, it becomes clear right away that this is much more than your typical holiday gift-giving campaign. Many of these kids are displaced because their families are against their transitions. Many live in low-income areas. Many just want to feel seen and heard because their families aren't supportive.
"Hello Trans Santa! Happy Holidays! My name is Finn, im 17 years old and im a trans man," one letter reads. "This year I got the opportunity to move out of my extremely emotionally abusive household. My mental health has gotten alot better since I left. Though I've moved out I still can't come out because I don't know for sure if my friends parents will be supportive and I dont want to risk getting kicked out."
Another teen says their family is "struggling this year" and isn't hopeful that their family will be able to celebrate Christmas at all. One college student says they have received top surgery this year, and anticipates family turmoil during the holidays because not everyone in their family is supportive. Another 17-year-old says their family wn't allow kids around them because they're trans.
This past year has been particularly defeating for the transgender population in the U.S. CNN reports that 33 states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country. On April 6, Arkansas became the first state to outlaw providing gender-affirming treatment to minors, a move that the American Civil Liberties Union said would "send a terrible and heartbreaking message" to transgender youth across the country.
Additionally, transgender youth report significantly increased rates of depression, suicidality, and victimization compared to their cisgender peers, per research from The Trevor Project. During the past year alone, one in three transgender youth reported attempting suicide, almost one-third reported being a victim of sexual violence, and more than half reported a two-week period of depression.
Each of the Transanta letters will tug at your heart to be sure, but they also serve as reminders that the holiday season isn't naturally magical for every child—some need a little help to really feel that Christmas magic. And that's where the general public comes in.
The Transanta drive operates like any online gift registry—you click the link in the bio, then find the letter you want to take on, and that takes you to the person's private registry. You can buy any amount of items you wish to.
In addition to purchasing gifts from the registry, you can donate to the campaign directly here.
“There is such a huge network of people all over the world that want to vocalize their love and put their money behind their love for trans youth,” Lasky tells The Lily. “It’s really beautiful to witness. It feels essential.”