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True Fraternitas: Fraternity Helps Fund Transsexual Brother’s Transition Costs

True Fraternitas: Fraternity Helps Fund Transsexual Brother’s Transition Costs

For transsexual people, the costs of medical transition, including hormones, surgery and other medical expenses, can run into the thousands, and that’s after paying for therapy, routine medical screenings and other incidentals. Unfortunately, many insurance companies don’t cover these expenses, as was the case with Donnie Collins, a student at Emerson College in Boston. The Phi Alpha Tau member wanted top surgery to address his unwanted breast tissue, but his insurance turned his claim down, leaving him with few options.

That is, until his fraternity brothers stepped up. In a true show of fraternitas, the men turned to the Internet to seek funding assistance to help Mr. Collins get the surgery he needed, and showed just how useful crowdfunding can be. “We care deeply about each and every one [of our brothers], and rely on the entire active brotherhood to stand behind any one individual when they are in need,” they wrote in their request for funding assistance, stressing the deep bonds between members of their chapter.

“We want to tell a story,” they said, highlighting the fact that many transsexual people around the world, college students included, have difficulty accessing needed medical care because of prohibitive financial costs and trans-exclusionary insurance plans. Emerson College is not one of the colleges and universities in the United States that covers transition services, and this story of a welcoming, inclusive fraternity underscores the fact that denying people needed health care is ludicrous. No one should have to take to social media to plea for money for a necessary surgery or other medical expenses, and the Phi Alpha Tau story spread quickly around the world thanks to its unique combination of compelling story, fraternity involvement and protest for trans rights.

By Wednesday morning, they’d already met the amount to fully fund the surgery by over 200%, †and the number keeps climbing, thanks to the media attention they got for their amazing request for help; extra proceeds are going to the Jim Collins Foundation, which provides funding assistance for transsexual people who need help paying for their surgeries. His fraternity is not only helping a brother, but paying it forward, and bringing a serious issue into the international spotlight. Not bad for a day’s work, and a far cry from typical stereotypes about fraternity life.

What does Mr. Collins have to say about all this? THANK YOU. And: ďI really donít know what to do with all of the love in the room right now. I really donít.” As he put it in his video discussing his amazement at the situation, it can be difficult to accept help from people who want to provide it, but in the end it can be a great experience for both the giver and the recipient.

Mr. Collins will get the surgery he needs in May, and his story will live on as yet another example of why trans-exclusionary health plans need to end.

Related articles:

The Secret Obamacare Sex Change Plot (That Doesn’t Exist)

DSM-5 Plays Sleight of Hand With Trans Diagnosis

Transgender Rights Are a Feminist Issue

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Photo credit: Nicholas Torres Pardo

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56 comments

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2:06AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Whoever read about Sodom & Gomorrah and thought it was about punishing people for being gay obviously was not paying close enough attention. Or any attention.

Those men were being punished because they were RAPISTS.

8:54AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Im glad I read this article :) Thanks

6:22AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

I am usually anti-frat but here is a good example of breaking the stereotypical view of fraternities. This was a very positive story

4:55AM PST on Mar 7, 2013

Stories like this shed a lot of much-needed positive light on fraternities. So many think of frats as elitist "boy's clubs" that are anti-gay and anti-woman.

8:17PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for social injustice, not homosexuality. Please read ALL the Scriptures before you attempt to interpret them.

2:38AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Thanks for the article

7:39PM PST on Mar 3, 2013

OK fine, great teamwork and all that. Why not fund raise for people who really are in need. This is so annoying narcissitic and selfish beyond belief

10:53AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

John M.

Here we go again ...

Sing along everyone to this familiar theme “You are what you are born with, not what you wish to have”. I really think we could all save time if we too had a similar buzz line to insert into most debates in Care2.

“Maybe the proof would be in getting pregnant,or making a child...”

Is this how you judge people ... their fertility? How dare you question my (and others’) credibility to be male simply on the basis that my wife and I are unable to have a child. .........

10:39AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

Robbie R.

I find it interesting to compare what people say on their personal page in Care2 and what they say in a debate. Suddenly, the laudable aims to boycott a country which has an appalling record on human rights; advocate a campaign against animal abuse; support a Bill of Rights and use the quotation “Live and Let Live” yet compares the plight of those who have lived with a serious conflict between mind and body to “Sodom & Gomorrah“.

I work with young people including those who struggle to reconcile how they are perceived by others and the fact that their gender identity is screaming out that the body is a contradiction of the mind. Usually, those who speak of this human tragedy as if it was the work of the devil know little or nothing of the subject and yet they have an opinion. Bodies can be changed, the hard wiring of the brain cannot. Bear in-mind also that a significant minority of those with gender dysphoria do not have an unambiguous anatomy - one example is a ‘male’ who externally is phenotypically male. However ‘his’ sex chromosomes are XXY and ultrasound shows a rudimentary uterus (this is an actual case from my records).

I have another quote to leave with those who condemn that which they fail to understand “judge not that you be not judged”.

7:43AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

"A rainbow coming out of my face". Do watch the video - it's great!
What a fine young man - and what fine fraternity brothers, and donors for his transition surgery.
This is really uplifting!
[The link is where it says THANK YOU.]

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