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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. it's clear from Perdue's tone that he's not merely saying "we're not the same" - he's clearly got a vein of anti-trans prejudice running through his system. Gross.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:50:09 PM

  2. "what unites us that we exist outside of the perceived cultural norm, and we're all infinitely stronger when we stand together."

    That describes a relationship of allies. Not one "people." You don't have one "people" simply because a number of otherwise separate groups share some common enemies or supposedly fall outside a norm. Those groups can ally themselves and fight on common issues, but they don't collapse into one alphabet soup gelatinous mass. Gay people are defined by sexual orientation. Trans people are not. They are not one group.

    One other thing: Even as allies, the premise is questionable. Ts need LGBs. LGBs do not need Ts, get virtually no material assistance from Ts and actually have suffered many losses as the result of linking their fortunes to Ts. Ts demand that no gay rights should ever pass unless they cover crossdressing and transsexual bathroom selection. The result is that gay rights (in contrast to gay marriage) has been losing around the nation. Gay people in Anchorage, Alaska and Hutchinson, KS can be fired from their jobs today because proposed gay rights laws were defeated once they were bundled with crossdresser and transsexual bathroom rights. So much for "infinitely stronger."

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 3:54:25 PM


    is this you, Bill?

    Posted by: contrarian | Feb 26, 2013 3:56:36 PM

  4. Now put a face to your statements, "Bill."

    Start that "debate - put your face our there as a gay man who dislikes trans people. Ten bucks says you can't.

    Yes. You blame transpeople for anti-gay bigotry. Just like I said. Thanks for proving me right.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 3:58:17 PM

  5. @Perdue: I think you're assuming a lot there, but one minor pet peeve of mine: crossdressers, alone, are not a class that most people are looking to accept into, as an example, women's-only spaces. Trans folk, on the other hand (and by that I mean people who are transitioning or who identify with the gender opposite the one they were assigned at birth on a regular basis) are a class of people who have systematically been oppressed, abused, and require legal protection. To lump the two together is to ignore some pretty big differences that have everything to do with employment and housing discrimination, and bathrooms. Oh, also, a census of transitioned trans women found that 2/3 identify as LGB, so saying that there isn't overlap between the groups is disingenuous at best.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Feb 26, 2013 4:05:09 PM

  6. Little Kiwi, what's your name?

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 4:09:02 PM

  7. Kiwi--Geesh. You use that line about someone not being a confident, gay man every time someone disagrees with you, as if you're some grand arbiter of those boundaries. You're not. Many other posters on here call out comments and disagree with their content in a very effective way without doing that. Your approach is akin to playground bullying by someone who should be old enough to make a point without resorting to ad hominem attack. It tends to obscure whatever point you're trying to make.

    Posted by: Stefan | Feb 26, 2013 4:13:15 PM

  8. ....ok, Stefan...except when they prove me right. This isn't a "difference of opinion" - it's a typical sad-sack gay man posting anti-trans bigotry and rhetoric from a place of anonymity. as usual.

    this isn't about mere "disagreements" - learn to discern, sugarpie.

    but in the future i'll try to avoid making ad-hominem attacks at those who make bigoted and deeply ignorant statements about transgendered people. on second thought, no. i won't.

    you can, however. go right ahead.

    it is very playground, though. you bully the trans kid? i'll stick up for him or her and kick your @ss. :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 4:19:54 PM

  9. Dr Donna:

    Please provide a link to the "census" of transitioned transwomen that you referenced. I always weigh evidence and keep an open mind and I'd love to read that information. Don't know why you limit your data to a subset of a subset of transgenders, but I guess you need to cherry pick whatever data you can.

    As for the other part of your comment, I you seem to be conflating 2 issues. Both come up when gay rights bills are stuffed with gender identity provisions, but they are 2 different issues. The first is the bathroom issue, which pertains to transsexuals. The second is cross-dressing, which comes up when "gender expression" is included in the bill or when "gender identity" is defined broadly to capture gender expression. The "gender expression" provision obviously goes beyond transsexuals and covers a variety of "transgender" subgroups.

    Regardless, these provisions invariably weaken support for bills that would prohibit sexual orientation discrimination and many cases, has caused the bills to be defeated. Maybe people will decide that it is a good thing to insist that there be no gay rights unless these other issues are covered and that gay/lesbian people be exposed to discrimination for decades until we can get transsexual bathroom selection included. Or maybe they will decide that it is a bad thing, but there is no denying that there is a real cost to "LGBT."

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 4:27:48 PM

  10. there's only a "cost" to those cowardly gays who feel worthless if they can't hate on transpeople.


    we get it, Bill. you blame transpeople for ongoing anti-gay prejudice. your kind usually does.

    now, when can we expect to see your video where you articulate all of these opinions of yours and thus start to have a "debate" you feel you were robbed of?

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 4:31:50 PM

  11. I give you my word that I will upload a video to YT in which I discuss this topic if you will tell us your name. What is your name, Little Kiwi?

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 4:59:37 PM

  12. Wow - the comments! Jheesh! Com'on!

    For all of you who have so astutely observed that the T is somehow different from the LGB...good for you. It's true. Proud of yourselves now? Getting approbation sufficient or should we throw a parade?

    One letter is referring to gender identify the other 3 letters refer to a sexual orientation. Yay. People get it!

    But...the issues of those who are transgender are inextricably linked with the struggles of those working towards equality for those with a different sexual orientation than the majority. LGBT is not a "group" - its a term used to identify a coalition.
    Someone stated above T was only included about 10-12 years ago without a sufficient debate. How long you been around? We had arguments which ended up becoming a donnybrook leading to a schism in our local "Lesbian and Gay" organization in 1993. I was proud of myself then to be fighting for a more inclusive coalition, to add bisexual and transgender to our masthead. The nay-sayers weren't just fighting the transgender inclusion but the bisexual inclusion as well (some denied the existence of bisexuals while others insisted bisexuals "muddied" the waters of our efforts by including people with such fluid sexual orientations).

    You all call it a "group" - it aint a group. Ask a lesbian if she is gay (well, at least ask a lesbian older than 40...I don't know if younger folks have an issue with the terms as much anymore). During initial discussions on the name change of our organization, several men thought...why can't we just call it "gay" and be done with it. The women were NOT having it. They were (are) not gay...they didn't belong to the gay "group" and would not identify with a group with only gay on the masthead.

    Soooo…again…LGBT is a coalition, not a group. It's a coalition of individuals who are fighting for the freedom to express who they are without repercussions from the dominant society. Unfortunately, there appear to be individuals, particularly posters on this site, who are still lured by the bright, shiny aspects of the dominant culture that they are willing to subjugate others in order to hope to achieve their small piece of pie.


    And meanwhile, what an affirming story for this man! Hard to believe there is such an enlightened fraternity out there given all the bad press they have received over the decades, demonstrating their exclusiveness and hazing. I hope other fraternities like this one come out and show such humanity.

    Posted by: Jay | Feb 26, 2013 5:01:49 PM

  13. It’s nice to see new generations adopting new postures that will light them later in life. Solidarity among straight people is cool, accepting their new straight trans brothers and sisters. We should do the same. Not the surgery, the solidarity, I mean.

    Posted by: SayTheTruth | Feb 26, 2013 5:04:37 PM

  14. Mr Perdue's argument lacks rigorous intellectual understanding.
    Apart from the fact that we are attracted to our own gender, there is no connection between lesbians and gays. In fact, logically, we are polar opposites.
    Similarly, bi-sexuals don't fir into any sense of fellow feeling with gays or lesbians because a part of them is attracted to both genders, and therefore can't fit into the categories of lesbian or gay.
    If we use Mr Perdue's logic on why transsexuals should be excluded, there is no LGB population because each grouping has to be treated separately.
    But, of course, that's nonsense logic.
    If we go down that route, we then have to start making distinctions in each individual group. In the gay world, is there an argument to be made for distinct, lobbying voices for 'tops' and 'bottoms' - because they're clearly 'different' to each other.
    Similarly, shouldn't our delightful lesbian sisters be separated into 'bull' and 'lipstick'?
    And don't get me started on those bi-sexuals. By Mr Perdue's logic, bi-sexual people should be - at the very least - determined by their positioning on the Kinsey Scale.
    However, if we take Mr Perdue at his word, all contained within that multitude of groupings should be treated equally. Separately but equally.
    Like I said, it's a nonsense argument because it doesn't work in the real world.
    Gay men don't get to define who is or is not a lesbian - and while there is considerable debate about bi people in the gay community, it's taken me time to understand that the best people to talk about bi-sexual people are bi-sexual people.
    We are bound together not by our natural ties, but because we are designated as 'others' by the rest of society. A lesbian and I might have zero compatibility sexually, but we have a lot in common as members of society. It's not what we individually do in the bedroom that defines us, it's the way we are treated by others.
    And that definition of 'otherness' has to include the trans community, too. I have no idea what could motivate someone to change their gender (and there's a part of me that finds it bizarre), but I do know that trans people have got it worse than many of the lesbian and gay and bi population. We just have to get through our lives as best we can - but trans people have to change their whole bodies (and frequently face the most horrendous abuse in even the most civilised countries).
    Oh, and Mr Perdue, I don't care about your incredibly silly argument about gay rights issues being derailed because some trans people want to be able to use different bathrooms. If any argument is derailed by a toilet, I suspect it was going to be derailed anyway.
    Also, while I could be pumped with as many fertility drugs as there are available, there ain't no way I'm getting pregnant.
    But that doesn't mean I object to lesbians getting fertility treatment if they want to create a child. In fact, I'll do whatever I can to help those measures be passed.
    Even if it doesn't benefit me, it benefits other 'others' - and in so doing, it empowers us all.
    Mr Perdue, your argument seems to be a weird hybrid of embarrassingly reductionist, individualist free-marketeering paired with Stalinistic Determination.
    While you deliver your argument with some passion, Mr Pedue, it falls apart once one applies even a braincell's worth of scrutiny.

    Posted by: dazzer | Feb 26, 2013 5:04:54 PM

  15. Purdue, ya troll - click my name. You'll find out. Duh.

    No matter. you won't do it. Trolls move goalposts under their backed into a corner, then they turn and flee.

    Typical coward. Thanks for chiming in today to prove me right.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 5:05:43 PM

  16. Kiwi, clicking that link takes me to your blog. The blog does not disclose your name.

    What is your name?

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 5:13:28 PM

  17. oooh well put Dazzer!

    know what else is hilarious about this Perdue troll? He's saying "there was no LGBT 10-12 years ago"...well, know what else we didn't have 10-12 years ago? fraternity boys working together to pay for their brother's reassignment surgeries.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 5:13:54 PM


    last chance to move the goalpost and run away like the coward we all know you to be :D

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 5:16:53 PM

  19. Jay, you are wrong. LGBT is not pushed as a coalition. Google "LGBT people" and see how many hits you get. They are pushing the idea that gays/lesbians are not just in a political coalition with Ts but are one "people" with transsexuals, crossdressers and other transgenders. This is a lie. It is damaging to gay kids and to trans kids to peddle this lie.

    Also, we are in coalition with lots of people and groups. We don't add letters for all of them. Why aren't African-Americans, immigration rights activists and the Democratic Party also included in the alphabet soup? We just worked with the NAACP and Latino groups in Maryland to help each other pass marriage equality and the Maryland Dream Act. Somehow, we manage to be in coalition with these groups and not change our name. So why doesn't that work with Ts?

    It is because the deceitful concept of LGBT is not about a coalition. It is about pushing the bogus idea that it is one group, and that gay people therefore have some kind of obligation to prioritize transgender issues over their own issues.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 26, 2013 5:24:11 PM

  20. no - it's those of us with spines, hearts and integrity standing in solidarity with each other.

    i get it - nobody ever stood alongside you and now you won't help others.

    if LGBT is so damaging then how come so many young people are being empowered to Come Out earlier in life, and have so many non-LGBT allies supporting them along the way?

    coward, we get it - you hate transpeople and blame them for your own problems. get help.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 26, 2013 5:27:44 PM

  21. @Perdue:

    And the reason that I limited my scope was because I was attempting to reference people who suffer due to an innate trait, rather than a preference.

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Feb 26, 2013 5:36:43 PM

  22. It's a nice story that he found a group of bros who are so understanding.

    Posted by: jaragon | Feb 26, 2013 5:44:28 PM

  23. Even if the only value in supporting trans people is enlightened (or hell, cynical) self-interest, gay people have every reason to be fully supportive.

    The vast majority of anti-gay sentiment that isn't purely "gay sex, ick" is based on gender roles and the idea that gay men aren't masculine enough to equal straight men, or lesbians are too masculine to be equal to straight women.

    Supporting trans people - going well past orientation into "people get to be whoever the hell they themselves find themselves to be" ends up as much of a win for the L's, G's, and B's as for the T's.

    Posted by: Lymis | Feb 26, 2013 6:42:49 PM

  24. Trans men are surprisingly a lot like gay men. (Of course, they're not exclusive groups: many trans men are gay or bi.) There's even a rift between masculine and effeminate trans men. You can find a lot of the same insecurities in their masculinity, in their body image and around other men who might be trans- and/or homophobic.

    These insecurities cause both trans and gay men to hesitate to join a fraternity. So it's nice to see a trans guy included by and receive so much support from his fraternity.

    By the way, trans and gay are as different as gender and sexuality. And they're often treated together for the same reasons that gender and sexuality are. "Masculine man" is a gender identity, for example; it's impossible to describe your sexuality without describing gender.

    Posted by: Kyle | Feb 26, 2013 7:57:03 PM

  25. I'm willing to be educated, but I, too, find it disingenuous to consider that the term "LGBT" is intended as a coalition. I've never heard that before, but - as I said - I'm willing to be educated on the subject.

    I've been educated plenty, and to my benefit, on the inclusion of Ts with the LGBs, and I grok it to a certain degree. But I disagree with Dazzer's ironically even fuzzier logic that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals are just as disparate from each other as they collectively are from Trans folk. That's pretty absurd.

    Lesbians, gays and bisexuals are defined by their sexual orientation, i.e., what gender or genders they are attracted to. Trans folk are not defined by that. It may be true that many trans people are of varying sexual orientations, but that is hardly what defines that group - and it is that definition that sets Trans people quite apart from lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

    That does not mean we don't have a significant commonality, quite more significant that our common links to other minorities and oppressed peoples/groups with whom we are in actual coalition. So I'm hardly willing to throw Ts under the bus, even to gain some important laws passed for the benefit of LGBs that have been languishing for far too long. But this notion that "LGBT" is meant to itself be a coalition strikes me as patently ridiculous.

    Posted by: Zlick | Feb 26, 2013 8:10:53 PM

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