HOW IT STARTED
Like most creations, The Rainbow Cards Project started as a fleeting thought - a horrible realisation of how different Christmas would feel if my family had stopped sending Christmas cards after I came out because they had taken issue with this fundamental part of myself. I knew I could never replace someone's relatives, but I figured I could reach out with a little kindness and help them feel like a part of a bigger family; a family that doesn't care who they love or how they identify - the international, multi-racial, hundred-language-speaking family that so many of us find within the LGBTQ+ community.
After posting a simple tweet offering to send cards to anyone whose families no longer did so, I sent 30 Christmas cards across 9 different countries and the response was so incredible I decided I had to turn it into a charity that would make it possible to reach many more people, making this wonderful family feel even bigger and closer.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER
I’m Ellis (they/them), the founder of The Rainbow Cards Project and a 21 year old queer & trans person from England with a love for writing, dogs and human connection.
As someone who is queer, my life has been greatly improved by the LGBTQ+ community, which has helped me to not only accept who I am, but also to embrace every aspect of myself. I’ve always felt as though the LGBTQ+ community works in a kind of cycle - the older members helping the newer ones whilst they come to terms with their identity and encouraging them to accept themselves, supporting them through coming out and sharing their experiences, and then as those newer members grow they take on that role and the cycle continues. Now that I am out and have come to a place of self acceptance, and I am priveleged enough to be in a situation where that is possible, I wish to do all that I can to help those who are facing prejudice and isolation because of who they are.
I am also chronically ill and disabled, living with several conditions which have kept me entirely bedridden for the last few years. I am unable to leave the house, so pride events and mainstream volunteering opportunities are out of my reach but I have no intention of letting that prevent me from making a difference, no matter how small it may be. Because my illnesses have essentially cut me off from the outside world I’ve felt firsthand just how painful isolation can be; but also how significant of a difference just the smallest kind gestures can make. I actually have a big box filled with cards and letters I have received over the past few years, most of which were written by strangers or online acquaintances, that I tend to reread when I’m struggling. For me, the knowledge that there are people out there who care about me, even if they don’t really know me, has helped make my situation a little easier to bear. Being on the receiving end of so much kindness has inspired me to do all that I can to pass it on to others who may need it, and this project is one way for me to do just that!
I believe in the power of human connection, that just reaching out with a tiny bit of kindness can be so powerful in reminding someone they aren’t facing things alone, that people understand and people care. I believe the most important parts of our existence are the lives we touch and the people we impact, and I really hope this project will allow many people to have positive impacts on the lives of others.
OUR VISION AND MISSION
At The Rainbow Cards Project, we believe that small gestures can have big impacts, so our aim is to combat the isolation, prejudice and fear LGBTQ+ people often face, one card at a time.
WHAT WE DO
The simple concept behind this project is this: send cards to those whose families don't send them cards. Unfortunately, too many LGBTQ+ people face prejudice, ignorance and sometimes even outright abuse from their family, simply for being who they are. These people are often ostracised and outcast by their family, and not receiving a card on their birthday or during the holidays can be a very clear and upsetting statement of rejection, especially during these times that are supposed to be so full of love. Our aim is not to naively attempt to fill the hole that may leave in someone's life, but is instead to form our own family; because the most important kind of family is nothing to do with blood and all to do with love. After all, the LGBTQ+ community in itself is a family, so why not make it the kind of family that remembers each other's birthdays and exchanges Christmas cards?
THE RAINBOW CARDS PROJECT IS TAKING A BREAK WHILE IT FINDS A SUITABLE NEW HOME. IN THE MEANTIME, PLEASE DO NOT SEND CARDS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE READ THE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE CHANGE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT AND PATIENCE.