Image via Annie Spratt
Crescenta Valley High School

Parents’ group writes holiday letters for LGBTQ youth

Perhaps the most heartwarming aspect of the holiday season is the love and cheer shared between families all around the world as they celebrate. For youth of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ) community, though, acceptance can be difficult to find. At times, these individuals’ decisions to reveal their sexual orientations and gender identities result in a negative reaction from their families and peers. However, the letter writing service Your Holiday Mom is taking initiative to change the way LGBTQ youth receive acceptance, or lack thereof, over the holidays.

Teacher, author, and dedicated mother Robin Rice founded the Your Holiday Mom site in 2011 with the goal of writing letters that would reach young members of the LGBTQ community who are not accepted by their parents and family members. Yearly, beginning from the Thanksgiving holiday until New Year’s Day, around 40 mothers and fathers gather together to publish heartfelt, personal online letters; to date, they have written nearly 250. Their letters offer hope, compassion, and a strong sentiment of understanding to their anonymous readers.

Statistically, The Trevor Project reports that LGBTQ youth whose families do not accept them are eight times more likely to commit suicide than those who experience acceptance. Rice herself faced the suicide of her brother, who struggled with his sexuality, at the age of 18, and is now a proud mother to her son Taylor, who came out as transsexual at around the same age. Now, with over 24,000 subscribers and growing; Rice’s program has impacted several individuals, some of which claim that they were contemplating suicide before coming across the letters.

“It’s a privilege to be able to have an impact on the world,” Rice said.

Although they have reached their letter collection limit for the 2017 holiday season, Your Holiday Mom encourages replying to comments on their site in order to ensure that a supporter personally reaches out to each individual.

The group’s letters, past and present, can be found on http://www.yourholidaymom.com. They continue to touch the hearts of teens and young adults in the LGBTQ community as well as create a safe platform for struggling individuals to share their experiences and seek acceptance.

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