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You may recognize Michael Muñoz’s name from his byline on food features in W42ST magazine. But Michael has an even more impressive title – he’s an Adopter Elf Emeritus with USPS Operation Santa, and is currently very busy helping the North Pole’s most famous resident.
But all his skills as an elf extraordinaire came into play last year, when a letter arrived from a young gay boy.
“Dear Santa, do you support the LGBTQ community and if you can speak to God, can you tell him I love him, and if he loves me for being gay[?]” the child asked Father Christmas in the note. It was picked up by Michael, who leapt into action.
“I was heartbroken point-blank,” he told The Advocate. “Every year I read dozens of letters from children; some ask for toys, but most ask for clothes or presents for their moms as they can’t afford anything. What made this different and really difficult for me to read was that he didn’t ask for anything physical.
“All he wanted was to know that he was loved and accepted. So how could I not answer his letter, being a queer Latino male who growing up had those same feelings? Within minutes I had texted a dozen or so of my family, chosen and blood, and we were off to the races to make it the biggest, gayest, love-filled Christmas he hopefully will remember forever!”
What happened next? Find out in a new documentary film, Dear Santa, which comes out today. Watch the trailer here.
Meantime, Michael has a message for all LGBTQ+ kids who feel unloved this holiday season. “Love and joy come in many forms, and sometimes it finds you and other times you have to find it for yourself,” he told The Advocate. “There, unfortunately, will always be a bully or someone with something negative to say, but if you love yourself, give love, and spread love they can’t affect you.
“Remember, Rudolph was different, bullied, and dare I say, unloved. But in the end, it was his differences that made him beautiful and a hero. Your differences are what make you unique and beautiful and no one can take that away from you.”
You can learn more about USPS Operation Santa here.