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This Michigan Trans Advocate Gives Away Holiday Care Packages to Trans Community Members

A good heart (and garage) is at the core of DIY nonprofit Grayson's Movement

Jason A. Michael

Grayson Papp has a heart for giving. That’s why he created the nonprofit Grayson’s Movement back in 2016, with the goal of sending care packages to trans people every December. Last year he sent out 150 packages. This year the goal is 200.

“I try to always exceed my goal from the previous year,” Papp said. “People reach out every year, not just from the United States but worldwide.”

Papp’s packages include a variety of items based on what an individual requests. Hygiene products, clothes and dry food as well as gender-affirming items such as binders, packing tape and gender-affirming clothing are all common items. Papp accepts donations of items all year long and stores them in his garage, which serves as his workshop and headquarters. He also accepts cash donations and uses them to buy materials to send out each year. All donations are utilized and nothing goes to waste.

Papp, a 34-year-old trans man born and raised in Redford, said he was inspired to start the service after so many people helped him financially with his top surgery. “I couldn’t personally fund somebody’s top surgery. So this was a way to give back. Even if it’s just a little way. People are super grateful whether they receive a can of food or a binder. It’s something they couldn’t afford and, sometimes, it could literally be a life-saving item for them.”

Though he accepts donations year-round, Papp only sends them out in December. “I do it for the holidays because a lot of people don’t experience that from their family or loved ones… receiving gifts or having the funds to purchase gifts.”

It’s a morale booster, said Papp, for those who receive the packages. It takes him about a week to put them all together, a remarkable feat in itself. “I start putting them together around Dec. 10. That gives me time to send everything out by Christmas or whatever holiday they celebrate.”

Papp says that those who receive packages often express gratitude to him personally and also by sharing the gifts they've received on their social media.

“I was born with the gift of wanting to help,” he said. “I really have no other way to describe it. I’ve always been that way. I’d give my last shirt to somebody and my last dollar to somebody, if they need it more than me.”

When not working on Grayson’s Movement, Papp has a couple of day jobs. He works as a landscaper and as a handyman. Plus, he has another enterprise. Papp has his own clothing line called Cuddles & Blunts, named, he said, after his two favorite things.

His clothing line consists of “a lot of open-minded and inclusive designs,” Papp said. “A lot them are made up by myself or I may see something and do a little twist to it.” Cuddles & Blunts items include T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants and hats with phrases such as "They call me daddy" and "Bottom bitch energy." Fifteen percent of each sale goes back into the community, “whether that’s toward somebody’s top surgery or whatever surgery they might be having at the time.”

Materials for each piece, which are handmade by Papp, share space in his garage with the items for Grayson’s Movement. 

Papp would someday like to have a storefront for his clothing line. As far as the future of Grayson’s Movement, Papp said he’d like to see it grow. “I envision it getting bigger and better than what it is, whether different forms of donations being sent out, or more people are being helped each year. I just would love to keep expanding and be able to reach more and help more.”

For now, Papp is content with doing his part for the LGBTQ+ community. “This is just how I’ve always been,” he said. “I figure if it feels good to me, it feels good to them.”

To donate, apply for a package or to learn more about Grayson’s Movement, email [email protected] or visit @graysonsmovement on Instagram or Facebook.

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