The holidays can be a tough time for LGBTQ+ people with unsupportive families. That’s why Ellis Roberts-Wright, a bi and trans man, started the Rainbow Cards Project to send over 8000 holiday cards to LGBTQ+ folks who’ve been disowned by their families.
Wright knows exactly how painful isolation can be — and how much a simple card can help. Five years ago, the Devon, U.K. man became bedridden with a chronic illness that left them unable to move or hold a conversation. Their friends opted to write them letters to stay connected, even though Wright couldn’t write back. It made a world of difference.
That experience served as the main inspiration for the Rainbow Cards Project, founded in 2017. The first year, Wright took to Twitter to offer to send Christmas cards to anyone whose families no longer did. They ended up sending 30 cards to LGBTQ+ people in nine different countries.
Things have ramped up since then, to say the least. Last year, they sent 4000 cards to people in 35 countries. This year, they sent a whopping total of 8000+ cards.
“I think the youngest person I’ve sent a card to was 13,” Wright told Devon Live. “Fifty is the oldest.”
Most recipients are in the U.S., but many are also in the U.K., and some are in countries where it’s illegal to be gay.
A simple holiday card might seem too small to make a difference to these people. But Wright says that’s the wrong way to look at it.
“I think people don’t really understand people not getting Christmas cards is a symptom of a much larger rejection,” they explained. “It’s not the Christmas cards, it’s that their family doesn’t love and support them anymore.”
With the project growing each year, Wright can no longer write every holiday card themselves, so they enlist help from volunteers on the project’s website. All of the recipients’ addresses remain private.
this year I sent 8000+ cards to LGBTQ+ people with unsupportive families to make them feel less alone at Christmas.
I want to do it again in 2020, but postage costs are high and if I can’t raise the funds I won’t be able to.
so please donate & retweet!🎄https://t.co/6SbiHJCDbo
— The Rainbow Cards Project (@rainbowcards) December 26, 2019
Wright is now raising funds on GoFundMe so that the Rainbow Cards Project can grow even bigger for the next holiday season. Let no LGBTQ+ person go without a holiday card in 2020!