A Boston, Mass. fraternity has raised nearly $20,000 to help their transgender brother get reconstructive surgery.
Donnie Collins, a 20-year-old sophomore member of Emerson College’s Phi Alpha Tau fraternity, came out as a transgender student when he was 17 years old. Once he started college, he tried to go through his student health care in order to pay for reconstructive surgery, but the health company turned down his request.
Instead, Collins’ fraternity brothers decided to take up his cause in order to pay for his female to male transition surgeries. The fraternity launched a campaign on the crowd-sourced donation website IndieGoGo on Feb. 9, and has raised $18,000 as of Wednesday on the site.
The fraternity set an initial goal of $4,800, which would have paid for half of Collins’ breast reconstruction surgery. Now, they have nearly five times that amount to help Collins pay for his health care needs.
“I don't even know what to say because the words thank you just don't do it anymore,” Collins said in a YouTube video he uploaded Monday. “It's been an amazing experience, these last few weeks. My life has been absolutely changed by pledging this fraternity.”
Just from Tuesday to Wednesday, the site gained $6,000 worth of donations after Collins was featured in local media. The fraternity also said that any extra money raised will go to the Jim Collins Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that donates money to help transgender people get the surgeries they need.
Collins told WHDH.com, a local news website based in Boston, that it was a “huge relief” when he came out as a transgender person at 17. “I spent years suffering from gender identity problems not knowing what was wrong,” he said.
“Coming out was a huge relief to me. I knew right away that I wanted a name change, hormone replacement treatment and I wanted top surgery.”
Collins also said that pledging for his fraternity as a man trapped in a woman’s body was a non-issue, and that he was accepted right away.
“Donnie's status as a trans student was a non issue. It wasn't even an afterthought. We just thought he was an outstanding man,” senior Tau Zaman said.
Source: Daily Mail