Phi Alpha Tau Fraternity Helps Transgender Member Pay for FTM Surgery
Despite the stereotype of hyper-masculinity often associated with college fraternities, one frat at Emerson College in Boston, Mass. is proving that the Greek system has room for the LGBT community as well after helping a transgendered member pay for female-to-male gender reassignment surgery.
After coming out as transgendered while attending an all-girls boarding school, Emerson sophomore Donnie Collins had begun paying for the expensive hormone therapy completely out of pocket when he wasn’t allowed to utilize his mother’s insurance for any of the FTM medical procedures.
“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,” said Collins.
Although Collins soon received insurance through Emerson, that policy deemed the breast augmentation portion of gender reassigment to be cosmetic rather than a necessary step in the FTM process. Although Collins petitioned the college for a trans-inclusionary alteration to the insurance policy, his request was soon denied and he was left to look for other options.
That’s when his frat brothers stepped in. The other members of Phi Alpha Tau soon set-up an indiegogo account to help crowdfund the $8,100 surgery’s price tag, and posted a video to YouTube asking for the help of others to accomplish their goal. At the time of this articles publishing, the account had already surpassed that goal by $3,000.
Upon learning of his brother’s iniative to help accomplish his dream, Collins admits to have cried from the feeling of gratitude he felt, but it never occured to him just how unique it was for the biggest help he’s received to have come from a fraternity.
“I was just like, ‘Oh that’s such a Tau thing to do,’ and I didn’t even think it was that weird,” he says. “But then I started sending [the indiegogo link] out to people, and they were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s amazing! See, Greek Life isn’t bad; it’s amazing.’”
In a YouTube video of his own, which Collins described as a “big, corny ‘thank you,’” the Emerson student found himself at a loss for words when confronted with the generosity of others trying help him accomplish a years-long endeavor.
“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.”