Hello there! For the fourth year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT. The plan is simple. If you are trans– or if you love someone who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.
Jennifer Finney Boylan began this project in 2011 because she had been thinking about how hard the holidays can be for people– but they can be especially hard for trans people and their families. Charles Dickens had it right when, in the CHRISTMAS CAROL, he suggested that it’s Christmas, not Halloween, that’s the most haunted of holidays. Our memories are heightened at this time of year– we think back to our childhood, to our many struggles. For some of us it’s a time when we’re acutely aware of how cut off we are from those we love. The world is full of transgender people who are unable to see their children, their parents, their loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are.
We cannot undo all the hurt in the world. But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You don’t have to be in crisis to take advantage of this project. All you have to do is want a friendly voice.
The project this year will be run by five people – four to make calls, and one to organize the emails. Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios; Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University; Allyson Robinson, pastor-teacher, and Brynn Tannehill, journalist and educator. We are two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman. Between the four of us, we have heard many different kinds of trans narratives. If we can help you, we would be glad to do so. Our fifth person, who will receive your emails and get the right ones to us callers, is Donna Levinsohn, a lawyer and old, trusted friend of Helen’s who has been involved in trans activism for years.
How do you get us to call you? By emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If (1) you have a particular preference to talk to one or the other of us, let us know– although I can’t guarantee that you’ll always hear from the person you request. Also (2) please tell us the time of day and the date you’d be free for a call; you might want to give us a couple of options. And of course, (3) tell us your phone number. WE WILL KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL.
We will start with calls as soon as possible after December 1, and keep this going until New Years.
Sound good? I hope so. We hope we can help, even if just a little.
Three other caveats I should mention at the end here:
1) First, no one in the December Project gets a dime out of it. This is a shoestring operation, largely consisting of four people trading phone numbers. If you want to support our causes, you can let us know, and we’ll tell you how to give. But this is not about that.
2) If you are in serious crisis, please bypass us and go directly to the national suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. WE ARE NOT TRAINED AS THERAPISTS or as counsellors for individuals in crisis. If you need something more serious than a “friendly voice,’ please call the lifeline.
3) For the moment we are content with this project consisting of only a few of us; in past years, we have been a little overwhelmed (and yes, deeply touched) by the many, many of you who have wanted to join us. While we thank you for your grace and your love, it’s also overwhelming for us to sort through the requests; we hope you’ll understand if we ask that folks writing us be primarily those who want a call. There are many ways you can get involved in your own community, and we heartily encourage everyone who wants to spread some love around to do so in their own way, starting right at home.
Thanks so much! Wishing you all the best for a positive, hopeful, loving holiday season!
Helen Boyd, on behalf of the December Project