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Boston Fraternity Raises Money for Trans Frat Bro's Surgery: VIDEO


A Boston frat is demonstrating exactly what the word fraternity means, raising money for their transgender brother Donnie Collins's surgery. As of this posting, they've raised $6,862. Story below.

Writes Benjamin Lindsay at

FratbrosEarlier this year, Visual & Media Arts sophomore Donnie Collins pledged as a prospective brother to Phi Alpha Tau, the nation’s oldest professional communicative arts fraternity. An Alexandria, Virginia native, Collins didn’t come out as transgender until age 17 while attending a boarding school in Windsor, Conn. Of his time in an all-girls dorm, he says in a recent interview, “They were really nice, but it was all horrible."

Thus far, Collins has been taking his gender transition one step at a time. Barred from using his mother’s insurance to cover any physical transitions, he has singlehandedly covered the bulk of his hormone therapy since December 2011.

“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 explains.

Collins now has a college health insurance policy through Emerson, a policy, like so many others, that is trans-exclusionary. It is common practice for insurance companies to deem female-to-male breast augmentation—or top surgery—as a cosmetic plastic surgery rather than a necessity. So Collins has been raising money for the procedure for months, but it seemed that one door after another would close in his face. His petition for a trans-inclusive policy was recently denied by the college's insurance plan, and his personal Chipin fund will cease when the crowd-funding site shuts down next month.

In a time when his options were running out, Collins’s brothers in Phi Alpha Tau have rallied together to cover some of the surgery’s cost. Find their indiegogo fund here: Brothers of A Boston Fraternity - FTM: Top Surgery. The brothers' fund has already surpassed the $2,000 they initially hoped to donate, but now they’re looking to cover even more of the procedure’s $8,100 cost.

Watch Phi Alpha Tau's fundraising video, and Donnie Collins thank you, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Interesting. It is PC to call a Fraternity a Frat but it is not OK to call a Transgender person the "T" word.

    Posted by: Ryan35 | Feb 26, 2013 2:17:55 PM

  2. RYAN35 - Seems you learned a valuable lesson today. Good for you!

    As far as the frat brothers go - AMAZING! Welcome to the new generation.

    Posted by: Gigi | Feb 26, 2013 2:27:22 PM

  3. I know it's a different situation entirely, but this is exactly the type of support that I received when I came out while in a fraternity in the early-mid 2000s. A brotherhood of the "frattiest" kind of guys proving that a brotherhood is exactly what they were. Around that time, a bunch of other guys in different houses were coming out (at one of the larger Greek systems), and were also met with support.

    Frats are often talked down as "heteronormative institutions" that are homophobic and more about partying and scoring chicks than truly being a brotherhood. My experience, Donnie's experience, and the experiences of many others I know emphatically prove otherwise.

    Best to Donnie, and good on Phi Alpha Tau. The Greek community is proud of you.

    Posted by: Jack | Feb 26, 2013 2:29:27 PM

  4. This is a lovely, lovely story. I spend so much time reading stories about oppression and suppression. It will most certainly be our youth who usher in a better future.

    Posted by: Mikey | Feb 26, 2013 2:34:56 PM

  5. Good for them for helping out their friend, but this has nothing to do with gay people. Stop linking gay people to a separate group of people who want to surgically alter their bodies and who identify with the opposite sex. The idea that LGB and T are the same group is a complete and total lie.

    Posted by: Frenchie | Feb 26, 2013 2:52:18 PM

  6. this is wonderful and encouraging news to everyone except the insecure closeted gay males who continue to blame Transpeople for their not being accepted as gay males.

    like "Frenchie", above me.

    you show me a gay man who refuses to stand in solidarity with his trans brothers and sisters and i'll show you a boy who has never found the strength to even stand up for himself, E V E R.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 2:54:36 PM

  7. "The idea that LGB and T are the same group is a complete and total lie."

    The "T" doesn't always mean Transsexual, Frenchie.

    Hell, your posting name is Transgender, Miss Thaing.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 26, 2013 3:01:38 PM

  8. @ RYAN35
    Actually when i was in a fraternity, the line was that you don't call your country a C@#t so why call your fraternity a frat... But i agree with Gigi, glad you learned something...
    Congrats to the Fraternity, truly what brother ship is about!

    Posted by: Randyowen | Feb 26, 2013 3:02:45 PM

  9. @RYAN35 what is your point? You are comparing the word for a person to the word for an organization. Unrelated. I think you missed the message of this story.

    Posted by: FernLaPlante | Feb 26, 2013 3:04:03 PM

  10. A lot of "transmen" are homophobic and misogynistic. There has been a sustained sting of attacks by "transmen" against lesbians in recent years, including one at the Dyke March in NYC last year. I think it has something to do with their need to prove themselves as men by putting down women.

    Whatever the case, while I support the right of anyone to live their lives and do whatever they want with their own bodies, I don't support the idea that gays and lesbians are "brothers and sisters" to trans people who aren't gay and who attack gay people. I don't remember anyone ever using LGBT before about 10-12 years ago. It seems like a fake idea that has been pushed on all of us without any real debate.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 3:04:46 PM

  11. Bill Perdue, thanks for proving me right. Now go put an icepack on that sore region where your balls aren't.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:07:01 PM

  12. feel free to lend your face and name to the "debate" , Bill Perdue. You won't, of course.

    trans hating gay men are always closeted cowards.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:08:51 PM

  13. Congrats to you all and to the Frat at Emerson College as of this time 3:09 PM EST Feb 26th, you've raised $ 8,000.00+.....

    Posted by: aj | Feb 26, 2013 3:09:35 PM

  14. @Little Kiwi:

    I don't understand. I am not closeted. I am using my first and last name and you are using "Little Kiwi" as your online name. So who is the coward?

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 3:16:11 PM

  15. As a gay man, I will always stand by my T-folk. Don't give me that "they're not the same as us" B.S. Who cares?!

    That's the same stigma that keeps straight people from sticking up for the gay and lesbian community. What the hell is so wrong with just supporting a small, poorly-represented community?

    Posted by: Mikey | Feb 26, 2013 3:19:04 PM

  16. You are. I get it - you have chosen to be anti-trans due to your own insecurities as a gay man. How noble.

    I stand alongside my brothers and sisters of the "T" - only a pissy little coward wouldn't.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:19:59 PM

  17. Mikey - some (pathetic) gay men can only feel "safe" if they join the Bigots of the world in knocking some other group..

    it's a shame those gay men didn't have friends like these Fraternity brothers, eh? they might have become halfway decent men in life...

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:26:44 PM

  18. Bill Purdue is an well known troll on Towleroad. Just ignore him/it.

    Posted by: MateoM | Feb 26, 2013 3:28:44 PM

  19. Presented without further comment:

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Feb 26, 2013 3:29:15 PM

  20. Gay people should stick up for Ts, just as straights should stick up for gays. But that doesn't mean that gay people are in one group with Ts. We have straight allies and friends, but they don't become gay just because they are our allies and friends.

    Gay and trans are different things. Why can't we be friends while still appreciating that we are different groups? I think it is pretty offensive to tell trans people that they are not really who they say they are, but are really just a variant of gay.

    Posted by: Frenchie | Feb 26, 2013 3:29:44 PM

  21. @ Bill Perdue
    According to Wikipedia (which I realize is not always right) the use of LGBT dates to 1988. That is 25 years, not 10-12.

    Posted by: dctopman | Feb 26, 2013 3:29:56 PM

  22. Frenchie - it's now clear you're merely lacking the ability to discern. I'll try to help you.

    saying "LGBT" doesn't mean "they're all the same" -what unites us that we exist outside of the perceived cultural norm, and we're all infinitely stronger when we stand together.

    this isn't about "becoming gay" or anything else you wrote. nobody, and i mean NOBODY, has said or is saying that Trans is a "variant of gay" - if you're gay then you owe it yourself to actually get educated about this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:36:10 PM

  23. @DCTOptman:

    Where's the link? Anyway, maybe that's when it first appeared in some obscure academic "queer studies" journal. But as a matter of common usage by gay people, it is very recent. Apparently, gay people did not see themselves as linked with transsexuals until a group of affluent white academics told them that they were.

    Go and look at old online issues of any gay newspaper. You won't see LGBT used until 2000 or after. And there was never any debate about whether it makes sense and what the consequences are in completely rebranding what it means to be gay and lesbian.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 3:40:28 PM

  24. are you also upset that my generation, and the younger ones, tend to be Coming Out in our teens as well?

    start the debate, "Bill Perdue", make a video. Put your face out there. Can we expect it by the end of the day?

    there's no rebranding. it's a united front of standing together in solidarity to help each other.

    i don't need to have anyone tell me "whom i'm linked to" in order to see whom i can help by standing alongside them.

    we're all in it together.

    those who want divisions? you're solitaries living in misery. well done! :D

    mum and dad and buck angel :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:45:54 PM

  25. If you're not transgendered or transsexual, then you're not, Perdue. Simple as that.

    Standing up for them and celebrating their successes isn't the same as claiming to be one of them.

    Christ almighty.

    Posted by: Mikey | Feb 26, 2013 3:47:53 PM

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