US: College fraternity raises over $16,500 for trans brother’s surgery

Joseph McCormick February 27, 2013
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A college fraternity in the US has raised over $16,500 to cover the cost of surgery for new member Donnie Collins, who is transgender.

As of Wednesday, the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, had raised over $16,500 (£10,800) in donations for Donnie Collins, 20, a sophomore pledge seeking top surgery as part of gender reassignment.

Mr Collins had told that he had been paying for hormone therapy out of his own pocket since December 2011, as he was barred from using his mother’s health insurance to cover it.

“I’d go to the endocrinologist and pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket, because, of course, I didn’t have insurance of my own,” he said.

As of Tuesday, the group had raised $5,540 (£3,700), beating their original aim of $2,000 (£1,300) to contribute towards the surgery, and on Wednesday, contributions passed $16,500.

After pledging to join the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity Mr Collins told his fellow members that he wanted the surgery, which reduces breast tissue, but was unable to pay the $8,000 ($5,300) cost without insurance coverage.

The fraternity set up an Indiegogo fundraiser, ‘Brothers of A Boston Fraternity – FTM: Top Surgery’, when they learnt of Mr Collins’ situation.

The indiegogo page for the campaign, set up by fraternity brothers, read: “Yesterday we were informed that one of our prospective brothers, a transgender female to male, was denied the opportunity to receive financial support from his insurance for top surgery. We are now trying to raise that money for him.”

On 27 February, the indigogo page was updated to say: “We are HAPPY to announce that ALL excess money will be given to the Jim Collins Foundation. Official Announcment (sic) to come soon!”

On Monday, upon discovering that his fraternity brothers had started the campaign, Donnie Collins posted a video speaking of his experiences and thanking the frat brothers for their help.

The video is available to view below.

In 2006, national fraternity Sigma Phi Beta announced it would allow transgender members, breaking new ground in college fraternity inclusivity.

More: Americas, Boston, donnie collins, emerson college, fundraiser, gender reassignment, indiegogo, Massachusetts, massachussets, phi alpha tau, top surgery, Trans, US

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