Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE


Update, Dec. 9: Please scroll to bottom for the latest.

Hello there.  For the third year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love some one who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.

We began this project in 2011.  I was thinking that year 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 is run by four people– Jennifer Finney Boylan, national co-chair of GLAAD; Mara Keisling, director of the National Center for Transgender Equality;  Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios, and Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University.  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.

How do you get us to call you? By emailing jb@jenniferboylan.net.   I’ll use that email as the central mailbox;  if you have a particular preference to talk to one or the other of us, let me know– although I can’t guarantee that you’ll always here from the person you request.  Also 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, tell us your phone number.  WE WILL KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL.

We will start with calls on 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 the four 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!

Sincerely,

Jennifer Finney Boylan, on behalf of the December Project

Update, Dec. 9:  We have been deluged with requests!  We are making the calls as swiftly as we can, but if you haven’t heard back from us, please be patient.  Also, please request calls via the email address listed above, and NOT through the comments section below!  Thanks so much.

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20 Comments

  1. Rachel
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    i wish i could just be with mom and dad all this loneliness is killing me i cry almost everyday i know one one will ever care about me ever again i have so many health issue just want to go home so tired of all this why does god make me suffer like this i try to help other without them knowing i dont have much SSID doesnt go far wish i could do more for others my life fell apart in 2008 had GRS back in 2009 my dad passed away in 2010 my mom was kill by her half sister in 1993 she never got to know she had a daughter now i am all alone i would give mylife to be with mom and dad i hate it here so bad the holidays are getting so hard for me to handle

  2. Posted November 23, 2013 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a wonderful concept. I tend to get a little more depressed in October, due to my birthday. But a little shout out is a good thing anytime of the year. :)

  3. Jill Anglin
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I find what you four are doing to be very deeply touching. I am involved in N.A.M.I. and for a while would invite those who had no family to my house for Christmas dinner. I would buy them each a gift I knew they could use in their personal life and when the day was done I’d send them home enough food to last them a week. I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran, Career Navy, I recently had GRS and have stepped down from being a group facilitator for N. A.M.I. Connections.
    For the moment I dread the upcoming holidays. My blood family is West of the Mississippi, I reside in Delaware. I will spend the holidays this year at a friends house. I will feel out of place and yet I will be there because she is all stressed out and needs someone with the ability to keep her calm.
    I understand your being overwhelmed, I was a Drug and Alcohol counselor and I find that a lot of my friends are needy for counseling and expect me to be their therapist. It is my intention to not be involved in he holidays because I too need some peace and quite. A voice just telling me every thing is going to be fine and I have the strength and ability to cope is well within my ability to call on help as a Christian will prevail. I do not hear those words all the time, I just hear Jill, we need… and I cannot always provide.
    My prayers will b with you for your December project.

  4. Allanna
    Posted November 23, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m intersex&was disowned by most of my family. Some times I wander if those who have kept in touch are just spies fillin the family in on my life. idk.

  5. Victoria
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I would like to support your project. Please tell me how I can make a contribution.

  6. Maureen
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    This is one of the most beautiful, heartwarming things I have seen on the internet.

  7. Posted November 24, 2013 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    I am so moved by this. One of my children is trans. I think she will cry when she reads this. She’s so brave but so alone. Your biography was the first thing she ever read by a trans person, the first story from the inside. And mine, too. We are struggling to support her but it’s such a battle right now with the medical system. She has to carry a letter saying that she’s not trying to perpetrate a fraud. It really matters to us that you are reaching out. You don’t know how much you have helped our family, but you have. We live nowhere near you, but you’ve made us stronger. Thank you.

  8. Tassia
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    Thanks for doing this! Holidays have so often been soul crushing for me, even long before I thought of myself as trans. I hope to have a loving chosen family before long that I can spend a good deal of time with in the holiday season. Until then, holidays will feel like a cruel way to make me feel further socially marginalized when I already feel marginalized.

  9. Jeannina Owen
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Great idea ! Didn’t see the number and would like to forward it to a friend.

  10. Colleen McTigue
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m willing to help. I can call anywhere in the USA or Canada. I only speak English, though.

  11. david poland
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi I think that was an inspired idea.I am unsure if all trans people will find out about it. I know many who are Deaf. And that gets me wondering if you include VP calls in ASL to Deaf transmen and women?

    I go to the only Deaf university in the world and have as of last week been told my ideas will be used to make my campus trans friendly and will talk to NCAA about changing collegiate sports policy soon.

    Thanks to the person who came up with this may God bless you and your family.

  12. Owen
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    I adore that this exists.

  13. Vincent Pardue
    Posted November 25, 2013 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    How do I ask for a phone message ? I’m an older FtM man who lives in San Francisco and have no one to spend time with over the Christmas holiday. All I have is myself & my faithful service dog . I’d appreciate it if you could please let me know by email response, please? Thank you for what you do to help the trans* community.

  14. Lynn
    Posted November 26, 2013 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Wow, I’m floored by this idea!! I have to at times been down during the holidays when family and friends are not around. I also know of many sisters and brothers that have no one and this would be great benefit to them!

  15. K.S. Thomas
    Posted November 27, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    It is gratifying to me that the four of you realized this need and acted to fulfill it. There were years previous I’d have asked for a call from one of you, in the middle of those times I wanted to take my life by my own hand and throw all of myself away. I lost my three children, my home and 95% of my possessions to a vindictive, vitriolic ex-wife in 2003 in a very hateful divorce proceeding. This after a 10 year marriage to a liar & thief that never should have happened, but for my hope/want to be accepted in ‘society.’ That used to be important to me – to fit in, to blend… now, not so much.

    I haven’t seen my children outside a courtroom since December 12, 2005, for eight (8) years next month. My father died in my arms on Easter Sunday 2012, the first person I ever saw die – and it had to be my Dad. My ex-wife has since remarried and her new husband is molesting one of my daughters with immunity, because of the absolutely worthless town police who refuse to properly investigate. The ex wife got to her and she recanted her cries for help so there could be no prosecution of the perpetrator of the abuse.

    I haven’t cared about Christmas in many years and don’t believe there will be a cause for me to begin to anytime soon. It only makes me long for the past & wish for a life that I realized long ago is no longer available to me. I hope your effort is sustained and appreciated in the community, and that your interactions with callers to all be positive and encouraging for those who are without a kind word to hear or a shoulder to cry on. Prayers to those who find themselves in terrible circumstances & without hope, that one day your life will give you something other than pain.

  16. ashley
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve read all the comment and some are so sad. Please, everyone out there know that you are just fine the way you are, and that there is at least one single soul out there thatis thinking of you during the holiday season. And I’m sorry that society makes you feel marginalized or less than human. I’m so sorry. i don’t even know what i can say to make anything better.just, happy thanks giving, merry christmas, happy Hanukkah , happy
    kwanza, and happy new year. most of all, happy new year.

  17. Julie
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    No one should ever feel less than perfect the way you are or the way you want to be. I feel heartbroken for those of you that feel you are not perfect and you have to be alone. My son is gay and I knew it long before he did. I love him exactly for the person he is. He does not have to change for me or anyone else. That is something I have instilled in him at a very early age.
    My hope for all of you who are struggling is that someday you too will know that you are perfect and do not need to change or hide for anyone.Please know that I am thinking of you through the Holiday season and all the days of the year.
    Where there is hope, there will come happiness.

  18. Kelli Stedry
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    My friend Tori from Canada recommended your forum… Hope to be a part of it regularly…. Kelli Stedry…

  19. Namowal
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way for the rest of us to help? That’d be cool if there was a system where holiday cards/care packages could be forwarded to those who need them.

  20. Shoshana
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for doing this.

8 Trackbacks

  1. By The December Project- Year Three | Evolving Gender on November 24, 2013 at 9:19 am

    [...] December Project  [...]

  2. [...] From Jenny Boylan’s blog: Hello there.  For the third year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love some one who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone. [...]

  3. By The Feministing Guide to Surviving the Holidays on November 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    [...] you’re trans, or love someone who is trans, sign up for the December Project and get ready for a friendly, supportive [...]

  4. By Support for the Transgender Community - VillageQ on November 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

    [...] I remember when I was in college and I was involved with the campus LGBT group. There were always one or two members who were unwelcome home after coming out. My mother would invite them to our holiday meal and we would talk, eat and celebrate together. Hopefully, they felt a little less alone.  I was reminded of this modest gesture my mother extended when I read about “The December Project.” [...]

  5. [...] Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE: [...]

  6. [...] Trans? Holidays got you down? WE WILL CALL YOU ON THE PHONE. This entry was posted in Activism and tagged depression, holiday, jennifer finney boylan on December 3, 2013 by Una. [...]

  7. [...] loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are,” writes Jennifer Finney Boylan on her blog announcing this year’s Project. “We cannot undo all the hurt in the world. But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and [...]

  8. [...] loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are,” writes Jennifer Finney Boylan on her blog announcing this year’s Project. “We cannot undo all the hurt in the world. But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and [...]

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