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Boston Frat Raises Money For Transgender Member’s Surgery

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Wednesday Feb 27, 2013

Members of a fraternity at Boston's Emerson College are raising money to help pay for a transgender pledging member's surgery, Gay Star News reports.

The brothers of Phil Alpha Tau have launched an online campaign for Donnie Collins, a transgender male sophomore at Emerson. The student's health insurance does not cover his female-to-male top surgery, which will involves the removal of the breasts, and Collins, 17, cannot afford to pay for the operation himself.

But members of the frat have pitched in to help Collins as they've set up a donation page on

"We care deeply about each and everyone, and rely on the entire active brotherhood to stand behind any one individual when they are in need," members of Phil Alpha Tau wrote on the donation page. "We as an organization are told from day one to use our resources. You may not know this gentleman like we do, and we might not even know you, but if it speaks to you then we want to present you with an opportunity to give."

Collins, who paid for his own hormone treatments and aims to have the surgery in May, came out as a transgender while attending an all-girls boarding school in Windsor, Conn. The student told Outthat he was ecstatic about his brothers' support.

"I was just like, 'Oh that's such a Tau thing to do,' and I didn't even think it was that weird," Collins said. "But then I started sending [the link] out to people, and they were like, 'Oh my god, that's amazing! See, Greek Life isn't bad; it's amazing.'"

In addition to the online campaign, Phi Alpha Tau created a YouTube video earlier this month, where three members tell Collins' story and urge viewers to donate. The brothers said they are trying to raise $4,800 and running a "different" kind of campaign and that they're, "looking to tell as story, more so than raise money. We would much rather have 100 people donate $10 than 10 people donate $100."

"So please make noise around the world," Christian Bergren-Aragon, one of the frat members, says in the clip, says. "Have conversations with your family and friends. Sit down and talk about issues like this."

In a YouTube video made by Collins on Monday, the college sophomore recounts the day he found out his insurance would not cover his surgery and thanks people who have donated to his cause.

"This video is basically a big corny thank you to everyone who has been helping me out, most recently my brothers in Phi Alpha Tau," Collins writes in the video's description section.

As of this writing, the group has surpassed their original goal as they've raised $6,736. They are now increasing their goal to $8,100.

"It's a lot -- to have so many people that you admire and respect and call your friends. I mean, I don't know what to say because the words 'thank you' doesn't do it anymore," Collins says in the video.

Some colleges across the country have implemented health care programs for students that cover sexual reassignment surgery. Earlier this month officials from Brown University said the school's health insurance plan will cover "14 different sexual reassignment surgery procedures starting in August," including mastectomy, which is the surgical removal of the breasts. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Cornell, Harvard, Stanford and Penn State all cover at least some sex reassignment surgeries as of 2012.

Watch both videos below:


  • , 2013-02-27 08:44:58

    Count me in for $10 on Friday. Hope all works out for you.

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