Indya Moore on why starting a gift-giving project for trans youth felt personal: ‘Santa didn’t see my chimney’

Actor and transgender activist Indya Moore's TranSanta initiative gifting holiday presents to transgender youth. She says that many of the letters that she received reminds her of things she also wanted for Christmas while she was in foster care as a teen.

Moore says there's nothing more important than trans youth knowing that they are loved. "If that's possible that there can be a pandemic for a lack of love for a people, that's happening right now for trans people". Moore shares that sadly many of the families of trans youth end up being their first bullies, which she says "has grave psychological effects on a child".

"Trans youth have supportive families experience a 52% decrease in recent suicidal thoughts," she says. "41% of trans people have attempted suicide at some point in our lives. I am one of those kids who did attempt suicide." Moore goes on to share that she attempted suicide while in foster care, using the chord from an air conditioner, but the chord broke. "That's why I survived is because the chord snapped, not because I got love when I needed it".

Through TranSanta, Moore is making sure that trans youth feel the love and are connecting them anonymously with people who do want to show them love. "This is something that has helped even me to believe in a future for all trans people to live safely and free from harm and violence."

Video Transcript

INDYA MOORE: It felt like I was on the naughty list my whole life. That's what being trans feels like. Missing Santa every year. It feels like Santa didn't see much of me. Like if there could be a pandemic for lack of love, that exists right now for trans people.

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INDYA MOORE: This year has been very hard for everyone. I think anything that everyone is going through, trans people are also experiencing with the added layer of trans-phobia. There's so many different ways that trans youth are receiving messages all around them, that there are people who don't want to see us happy and healthy.

This year alone, there were 50 bills introduced across the country targeting trans youth, just this year alone. It's really important that-- that trans youth know that they're loved by their families. For their families not to be their first bullies, that has grave psychological effects on the child.

41% of trans people have attempted suicide at some point in our lives. I am one of those kids who did attempt suicide. I attempted it in foster care. I used a cord from an air conditioner and it broke. And that's why I'm here. That's why I survived. Because the cord snapped, not because I got love when I needed it.

- Trans rights are human rights.

- People need now more than ever to feel and experience love. We were like, let's do like a gift registry. Let's-- let's do like a Santa for transfer. We came up with TranSanta.

A lot of these trans youth are immigrants. A lot of these trans youth are DOCA recipients. A lot of these trans youth are homeless themselves. The letters that are coming from some of the 16 and 17-year-olds remind me of what I wanted for the holidays when I was in foster care.

They wouldn't give you gifts if they didn't like your behavior. And you're talking about kids coming from traumatic households, coming out of being sexually assaulted and sexually abused, being physically beaten. How do you make a naughty list for those kids?

Like, there's no naughty list on TranSanta. All of these things are important for these people. For me reading these letters, they become important to me.

TranSanta isn't going to save the world, but I think that creating TranSanta was an incredible way to connect children anonymously and safely to people who do care about them and who love them. This is something that has helped even me to believe in a future for all trans people to live safely and free from harm and violence.

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