Linda Warren is a 77-year-old woman who loves women and is known as “Queer Santa”. This year she is giving “Holigay” gifts to LGBTQI kids who have been rejected by their families.
For the 22nd year, Warren will be handing out gifts as part of her “holigay” celebrations at The Centre On Colfax, an LGBTQI youth centre in Denver, Colorado.
However, this year’s gift giving will be different, as she will be complementing her Santa suit with a face mask and face shield. In previous years she has thrown a party for the young queer locals, but this year cars will drive past and collect the gifts.
Over the year Warren reaches out for donations from as many supporters as she can to purchase presents, which the youth can sign up for. With the help of volunteers, the gifts get wrapped and gifted to the youth who sign up.
“Back when I was coming up, you weren’t accepted at all,” she said. “If anyone found out you were gay, you wouldn’t have any friends hardly. My family did find out I was gay and they disowned me. So it’s very important to me to make sure that all children are taken care of and that we can do anything that we can.”
Warren then added, “22 years ago… I told the people at The Center that I would do this, but that I did not want anyone turned down. They did not have to be gay. It was just if they were not going to get a present because they had been put out of their homes, I wanted to make sure that they were taken care of.”
Originally Warren felt uncomfortable with the title of ‘Queer Santa.’
“The word ‘queer’ was used to make fun of us when I was growing up. But I had to finally realise that the children of this day and time have taken that word back, and they will not let people make fun of us by using queer. So, it took me awhile to get used to being ‘Queer Santa,’ but I did. I was like, ‘Oh God, please don’t call me that.’ But then I was like, ‘It’s alright, it’s theirs. So, we will do it.’ And so now I just refer to myself as Queer Santa.”