How to give back this holiday season in the gayest ways possible
It’s the holigays! For many, it’s a wonderful time to celebrate family, friends, and togetherness. But it can also be an especially difficult time for many LGBTQ folks.
LGBTQ people are more than twice as likely to experience mental health issues than the general non-LGBTQ population. Seasonal themes like family and rejection can amplify the stress many of us face at the end of the year. Due to rejection and other factors, we are also more likely to experience joblessness, homelessness, and poverty.
Yes, the holidays can be amazing—and if they are for you, great! But if you happen to have extra resources this holiday season, consider helping out your local LGBTQ siblings in any of these very gay (as in happy) ways.
Gift a coat or two (or three!)
This Friday, WeCareTN is hosting a Winter Coat Drive. Stop by with nice coats and warm clothes if you can. Your donation will help unhoused Black trans women stay warm in the cold winter months. Friday, December 22, 3:00 – 5:00 PM | Burger King, 1330 Poplar Avenue, 38104.
Volunteer at our local LGBTQ center
OutMemphis offers hot meals to local LGBTQ folks who need them during the holidays. Consider signing up to volunteer. OUTMemphis has year-round community outreach events, so if you’re not able to tap in at the end of the year, keep 2024 in mind. NOTE: The Community Center is closed from December 24 to January 2.
Barter about it
Can’t help financially? Not a problem! BarterUp901 has an anticapitalist approach to community care with a barter-only marketplace and virtual events. Consider becoming a ‘barter buddy’ by attending at least one of their monthly meetings. You can also join the BarterUp discord, where people all over the U.S. barter, share ideas, and organize.
Write a letter
Black and Pink, an LGBTQ prison abolition organization, coordinates a nationwide penpal program that matches incarcerated LGBTQ people with penpals from all around the country. Connecting with our fellow queer and trans incarcerated siblings can help provide a support network outside of prison and also reduces harm.
This is especially true for trans incarcerated folks who are two to three times more likely to be put in “restrictive housing” and solitary confinement, which several advocacy organizations have described as a form of torture.
You can also donate to Black and Pink as their penpal program is only one of several life-saving support systems funded by the org.
TransSanta allows you to deliver gifts and personal care items to trans youth in need in a safe and anonymous manner. You can shop their gift registry and check out request letters from youth directly from the site.
Food for thought
Everyone’s gotta eat. While 901 Community Fridges isn’t specifically an LGBTQ organization, its efforts help all those in need in Memphis, including people within many LGBTQ communities. Consider donating or volunteering. And if you’re in need of a meal, remember that all food in these fridges is open to the public.
Current location according to @901_communityfridges on Instagram: 1000 S Cooper Street Memphis, TN 38104.
Toys for the children
Friends for All is a local organization that serves people with and affected by HIV. This year, they are raising money for a toy drive for local children. Consider donating to the cause!
Donate to local LGBTQ organizations
Have extra money but not as much time? Consider donating to local organizations prioritizing LGBTQ wellness and care, like the four below:
- Love Doesn’t Hurt advocates for LGBTQ+ crime victims in Shelby County with emergency resources and information.
- CHOICES Center for Reproductive Health is a nonprofit, local, LGBTQ-friendly reproductive and sexual health clinic.
- Planned Parenthood Memphis offers PrEP, condoms, and gender-affirming healthcare to locals here in Memphis and the Mid-South.
- My Sistah’s House coordinates homeless services, directs outreach, and facilitates permanent housing for TLGBQ people, especially trans women.
Lending a hand, a dollar, your time, or a smile—There are so many ways we can uplift our local LGBTQ community this holiday. However you decide to show up, thank you. Happy holidays!