WRITING GUIDE

Planning on sending a card?
Read this first!

We love everyone who writes cards or letters as part of our project and we are incredibly grateful to you for using your time to help us, and by no means do we wish to tell you what to write. We value your unique voices and the individuality each writer brings to their cards and letters - and we would never ask you to compromise that - we simply wish to provide you with a few basic dos and don’ts so both you and the recipient can get the most out of this project. And if you’re a little unsure of what to write, we can help with that too!

DOs AND DON'Ts

DOs

  • Do start general recipient cards with something like ‘Hi!’ or ‘Dear beautiful’ instead of leaving a blank because you don’t have their name. 

  • Do write like you would write to a friend, keeping things casual and colloquial rather than formal and impartial. 

  • Do keep the overall tone of the message positive, uplifting and kind. This is not to say that you cannot include more serious or less happy elements, just as a general rule you should consider "are they going to come away from reading this card with a smile?"

  • Do be aware of what pronouns you use in regards to your recipient. Often you won’t need to use any since you most likely be addressing them as ‘you’, but if you do include pronouns, use they/them unless you are writing to a named recipient whose pronouns are listed as something else.

  • Do feel free to include contact details. This is not necessary, but you can do so if you wish. However, please don’t expect a reply as that choice is wholly up to the recipient.

DON'Ts

  • Don’t directly address their family’s prejudice, e.g. "sorry about your family, that must suck". Instead, you could say something affirming such as "please know that you are never alone, because even if it feels that way you are part of a massive, supportive community."

  • Don’t talk about things that could be upsetting and/or triggering for someone, such as: explicit homophobia, abuse, violence, suicide, self harm. You can offer solidarity without going in depth on upsetting topics. For example, instead of saying "the homophobia I experienced drove me to attempt suicide" say something like "I know how badly prejudice can hurt, I’ve certainly felt that firsthand." [We have no desire to censor anyone's experiences, but these topics can cause panic attacks and other difficult psychological responses for some people and our priority has to be keeping everyone involved safe and well.]

  • Don’t use slurs of any kind or other forms of hate speech. This should really go without saying, but this also applies to slurs that don’t relate to LGBTQ+ people, such as racist or ableist slurs.   

  • Don't mention anything religious. Our recipients come from many religious backgrounds and many are not religious at all, so please respect that by refraining from mentioning anything religious.     

  • Don’t feel obliged to write a message of a certain length. You can write anything from just a simple “Hi! Happy birthday! Lots of love" to including extra sheets of paper in the card because you had so much you wanted to write. It’s totally up to you!

IDEAS OF WHAT TO WRITE

Feeling a little unsure of what to write and could use a few suggestions? Let us try to help!

  • Offer solidarity. One of the biggest things our project is trying to combat is isolation, and for a lot of LGBTQ people that isolation often comes from knowing no-one else, or very few people, who are also LGBTQ. 

  • Be positively affirming. At times, everyone needs a little reassurance that who they are is okay. E.g. "Please remember that your identity is valid and beautiful, and nothing anyone says can change that."

  • Feel free to tell them a bit about yourself! Sometimes even just throwing in a remark about your love of dogs can help the recipient feel more connected to you.

  • Let them know that you care and that they matter; that even though you may not know them their life matters to you and you care about what happens to them. 

  • Wish them well. Whether that's a jokey approach telling them you hope they win the lottery and marry the most attractive person on earth, or heartfelt hope that they’ll have the kind of future they want, it's nice to know someone out there wants the best for you. 

  • Include one of your favourite quotes. Quotes about self love, self acceptance and growth are always good.

  • Most importantly, write from your heart. It’s much better to write a genuine, honest message than a message that ticks all the metaphorical boxes but rings hollow.

 

By no means do you have to include all or any of these suggestions - this is not a checklist - it’s simply some suggestions for those who are a bit stuck!

©2017 BY THE RAINBOW CARDS PROJECT.