Indya Moore Aims to Give Trans Youth the Christmas They Deserve with the TranSanta Project

This holiday season, activist and star of FX’s Pose Indya Moore is focused on giving back.

Along with friends Kyle Lasky, Chase Strangio, and Pidgeon Pagonis, Moore has launched TranSanta, a new holiday gifting initiative that ensures trans and nonbinary youth in need experience the spirit of the season, especially after a year as tumultuous and heartbreaking as 2020. Rather than simply asking for donations, the TranSanta official Instagram account features hundreds of letters penned by trans youth, revealing their Christmas wish lists. From there, donors can click the link in bio that leads to a Target registry for each individual child.

Moore says the initiative was conceptualized after experiencing extreme exhaustion from such a devastating year within the trans community. The goal is to make sure that as many kids as possible are able to smile come Christmas morning after finding presents under their trees from their secret TranSantas.

“I think what inspired TranSanta was, there was a very public person who came out and there was so much buzz around them and they put out a really beautiful letter asking people to give them space and time, and the exact opposite was happening,” Moore explains to BAZAAR.com. “It was just really stressful to me on top of everything else that had been happening in the community. Big states have already introduced a bill for 2021 that will make health care for trans youth declined, and just this year alone, there were over 50 bills introduced across the country targeting trans youth. And in the U.K., a poor decision has led to trans youth across England and Wales to have their health care cut off.

“This year’s also been the deadliest year for trans women of color, trans people in general,” Moore adds. “That’s just really been on my mind. COVID created a very compounded, oppressive experience for Black folks, but especially trans people. Black people are three times as likely to die or be impacted or affected by COVID. And that’s even more so for Black trans women. We’re all being attacked on all forms in so many different ways.”

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In getting their idea off the ground, Moore conversed with Strangio, discussing how they could uplift trans youth amid such a distressing time. Inspired by a UPS charitable registry delivery system (which lacked a designated registry for trans individuals in need), the two were inspired to create a system of their own that catered to the community.

“We came up with TranSanta, which is basically a virtual chimney where anyone can wear the Santa hat, become Santa everywhere. You can use the virtual chimney TranSanta to send gifts to kids anonymously through a registry that they create on the Target website,” says Moore. “It’s just so beautiful and it’s really easy, simple, it’s anonymous and it’s safe. They aren’t required to share anything about their identity to receive these gifts, and there isn’t a money exchange.”

Though monetary donations aren’t accepted at this time, Moore explains that there is a desire to donate, and they may soon enable a way for people to contribute cash in the future. But for now, they’re encouraging people to give using the TranSanta portal. “It’s secure and it’s anonymous, and they keep people safe,” Moore says. “We’re just the conduit to get people who do want to show care and love to the trans youth who need deserving in pursuit of that care and love.”

For Moore, the TranSanta project serves as a viable venture that affirms trans youth of what they deserve to know: They are loved and their livelihoods matter.

“This is a great way for them to have access to the mass amount of abundance of love that exists all across the world for them,” continues Moore. “That’s what we need. It’s very affirming, and I think it’s not only rejuvenating our faith and our future, I think that it’s also affirming that we do care about trans people’s lives and their futures. The way people have responded to TranSanta is a testimony. This was born out of frustration for the overwhelm of media attention and news speeds of misery and terror. Trans youth deserve to partake in the joy that so many other groups of people are getting to enjoy—not just on the holidays—all the time.”

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Though Moore is focused on the expansion of TranSanta—hopes it expands and continues in the coming years—they urged that the ultimate way to give back to trans youth doesn’t involve money or donations, but really just showing that one cares.

“I’m definitely going to be exploring other ways to show up for trans youth and to create a way for other people to show up for trans youth, but I think that the most effective way is to simply show up for the trans youth as part of our own lives,” says Moore. “If you happen to be a parent or a sibling or a cousin who has a trans person in your family, they deserve your love, they deserve your kindness, they deserve your patience, they deserve membership to family with you.”

Moore continues, “Just because you don’t understand what they’re going through, or who they are, doesn’t make their experience invalid. It’s important that we not project that onto our loved ones, or to our children, or to our babies, and to only project love, and only to allow creative space for people to understand themselves. That’s the best way that we can keep our loved ones safe.”

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