Frat bros for trans rights!

A Boston fraternity is raising money for a brother's top surgery -- and showing a radically new side of Greek life VIDEO

Topics: Video, Transgender, transgender rights, LGBT Rights, lgbtq rights, frat culture, ,

Frat bros for trans rights! (Credit: YouTube)

Brothers at the Emerson College chapter of Phi Alpha Tau, the nation’s oldest professional communicative arts fraternity, have started a campaign to help finance female-to-male top surgery for one of their transgender brothers.

I know. I know. I know.

Anyone who has watched “Animal House” (or even casually scanned Katie J.M. Baker’s reporting on Greek life over at Jezebel) knows that “trans-inclusive” and “frat culture” aren’t concepts generally uttered in the same sentence. And yet, here we are. Or rather, here they are, the brothers of Phi Alpha Tau, working to not only raise money for Visual & Media Arts sophomore Donnie Collins’ top surgery, but building a personal, relatable campaign to raise awareness about transgender rights and the many health insurance-induced hurdles to accessing hormone therapy and surgery.

As reported by Out:

Collins now has a college health insurance policy through Emerson, a policy, like so many others, that is trans-exclusionary. It is common practice for insurance companies to deem female-to-male breast augmentation — or top surgery — as a cosmetic plastic surgery rather than a necessity. So Collins has been raising money for the procedure for months, but it seemed that one door after another would close in his face. His petition for a trans-inclusive policy was recently denied by the college’s insurance plan, and his personal Chipin fund will cease when the crowd-funding site shuts down next month.

In a time when his options were running out, Collins’ brothers in Phi Alpha Tau have rallied together to cover some of the surgery’s cost… The brothers’ fund has already surpassed the $2,000 they initially hoped to donate, but now they’re looking to cover even more of the procedure’s $8,100 cost.

You Might Also Like

In one of the fundraising videos, one of Collins’  fraternity brothers explains that — in addition to raising the money — they also hope to paint a picture of transgender campus life:

“It’s a very different sort of campaign we’re trying to run here. We’re looking to tell a story, more so than raise money. We’d much rather have 100 people donate $10 than 10 people donate $100… So please make noise around the world. Have conversations with your family and friends. Sit down and talk about issues like this, then give them an opportunity to donate if they can.”

The campaign materials are smart and bursting with college dude energy. It is a completely unexpected, but welcome, way to explore the unique experiences and challenges of being trans and young while navigating a daunting and sometimes hostile health care — and college community — landscape.

Collins is understandably overwhelmed by his brother’s support:

“I kind of don’t know what to do with all the love in the room right now. I really don’t,” he said in his own video.

He’s also eager to pay it all forward. Collins, inspired by his brother’s generosity, has extended his hand to other trans youth who might need support as well.

Bros at Duke University’s Kappa Sigma, please take note.

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>