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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. ZLICK your comment is fair. It's well argued and it's not based on prejudice (as far as I can tell). So thank you. You made me stop and think.

    That said, I don't think my logic is fuzzy.

    I was responding Bill Perdue and, frankly, his logic is wacky.

    Yours, not so much.

    But let's look at what we're dealing with as human being - as opposed to concepts of 'gay', 'straight' , 'lesbian', 'homosexual' or whatever.

    Think about this seriously:

    If a human being born biologically male wants to transition to female, and wants to have sex with other biological males, does that mean the person is biologically 'straight' or 'psychologically' gay?

    Yadda, yadda, yadda. You can use the same argument about a biologically female person who wants to transition to a male.

    The whole thing about Trans is that it's not easy. It doesn't fit into easily defined categories. In the gay world I'm ancient. I used to be someone who didn't fit into blissfully simple categories of straight or pervert. I liked having sex with men. I could be imprisoned, I could lose my job, my home and every good family relationship for just being myself.

    OK. I kind of accept that just because I was treated badly and when I see someone else is being treated badly (and want to defend them), I might be wrong because I'm a gay man who has been treated badly in the past.

    However, I'm not transgender.I don't understand it and it disturbs me (but that's my problem - no one else's).

    The one thing I do know, though, is that unless I'd had straight people (mostly women) who'd told me I was OK, there's no way in Hell I'd have been able to accept myself. They didn't understand me, but they loved me and told me I was OK.

    I don't understand transgnder people. But that's not the point. I don't have to understand, politicize or educate transgender people.

    I just have to treat them the same way I was treated when I understood and told people I was gay.

    Even if you don't understand or agree with another human being is, the very least you can do is treat them with kindness.

    Zlick, I don't think my logic is fuzzy. I don't think my approach to life is fuzzy, either.

    The 'coalition' argument is based on different views forced into working together. In terms of LGBT, it's a false argument and only one that based on creating distinction.

    It's not pretty or intellectually sound.

    Posted by: dazzer | Feb 26, 2013 9:33:16 PM

  2. Shouldn't they be reffering to their frat "brother" as "she" since that's how she identifies? And will she go to a sorority after her transition? This is kinda confusing lol. Its a nice thing for them to do but it seems odd that they are raising money for a transition considering it will probably result in her moving to a sorority after she transitions to female anatomy. If she didn't its kinda be having her cake and eating too wouldn't it? Either way sweet of the brothers to help with the breast surgery. I'm not trans so I don't know much about cost but it seems like hormones would be where they'd really run into money though, considering its an ongoing cost that would have to be used for years to tranistion. But I'm sure every little bit helps :).

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 26, 2013 11:34:13 PM

  3. BLE.D_OUT.COLOR, it's called reading comprehension. If you bothered to read the article you'd know that he is FTM.

    Posted by: MateoM | Feb 26, 2013 11:51:34 PM

  4. Also. Little kiwi, kindly stfu.

    Ive been reading towleroad for a long time and just recently started commenting, but all you ever seem to do is bombard the comments with ad hominem attacks to other commenters you don't agree with. When people call u out instead of offering a concise intelligent response to a reasoned argument, you offer non-sequiturs and accuse p3ople of posting under seperate names to appear to have more supporters than they do without any evidence to do so. And ive seen you do it on queerty to. I don't see where you saw transphobia in some of these comments. Just because people see LGB and T as different issues doesn't make someone a coward. I still stand up for trans rights, but I don't agree with the grouping of sexual oreintation and gender identity and that's my right, as well as others rights. Stop picking fights and focus your energy on Republicans who actually try to deny trans and gay rights -.-. Srsly.

    On a side not I respect that you try to be a voice for the gay community and I have no doubt you volunteer for the cause a lot so I want to thank you for that. I respect you, but you do irritate me sometimes.

    /end rant

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 26, 2013 11:52:56 PM

  5. @ Matteom

    Oh. Crap. Sorry. I thought FTM was supposed to be MTF because I understood "top surgery" as meaning the acquisition of breasts. My bad.

    I read the article but the title and the insinuation that the Top surgery was to GET boobs insstead of mastectomize them confused me. The article is kinda confusing. And no need to attack. My reading comprehension is just fine thank you. In fact it was the highest in my freshman class -.-. So stop throwing shade. I misunderstood the article. Either way congrats to Donnie. Hopefully after his transition is completed he can focus on finishing college and maybe someday he can pay the kindness forward by volunterring for the queerest community or fundraising for the transition of less fortunate trans individuals.

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 27, 2013 12:05:47 AM

  6. Doesn't anyone see an ethical problem with a doctor who gives hormones to a healthy body and alters or removes body parts to emulate the other sex all because of a self defined condition which has no empirical diagnosis whatsoever?

    Then there are the issues of transgender/transexual expression and hypocrisy. We are told that "gender" (sex) expression is an affect, but those who claim to be trnasgendered affect the most stereotypical behaviors of the sex they are emulating.

    I think that society will look back on all this surgery as a barbaric thing which people did to themselves rather than simply going through life acting and dressing as they please. I have no problem with a guy teaching school in drag. I do have a problem with someone telling me he's a woman when he isn't. One is expression the other is delusion.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 27, 2013 1:12:36 AM

  7. @David: I think you must not have a very good grasp of what it means to be trans. I am a trans woman, and for the longest time I strongly disliked wearing women's clothing because they only served to remind me that they were made for a shape that I didn't possess. Since starting hormones I have found much more peace, which makes sense and fits wih the current medical and psychiatric understanding of gender dysphoria. To say that people should "simply [go] through life acting and dressing as they please", when people with severe gender dysphoria will actually reach the point of suicide or self-inflicted wounds trying to change their bodies to match what's on the inside is wrong, misleading, and misinformed. I'd suggest you do a bit of research into the causes and presentations of gender dysphoria before making ignorant blanket statements about "delusion".

    Posted by: TheDrDonna | Feb 27, 2013 2:03:35 AM

  8. @DAZZER, thanks for a very honest comment.

    @THEDRDONNA, as always, thanks for educating. There were things about the Transgender world that I thought I knew, but you've taught me that I don't know as much as I thought.

    When I was a teenager I wore more make-up than Elizabeth Taylor. I wore tight pants and androgynous tops (which weren't difficult to find in the 1970s). There were many Gay males like me, and we were often ostracized by other more (tried to be) traditionally masculine Gay men. That is why I am so emotional (and b.tchy) on this issue. I haven't forgotten, and I guess, I won't forgive.

    LITTLE KIWI's emotion in his comments is NOT just about "disagreement on issues". He fights bigotry and discrimination and prejudice and arrogance on this blog. I understand and appreciate his strategy of confronting bigots.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Feb 27, 2013 10:24:30 AM

  9. @Bill Perdue,

    There really is nothing to try and understand beyond the fact Lil' K is a punk pr*ck who is begging for a broken nose.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 27, 2013 10:59:51 AM

  10. Settle down people...we're talking Emerson College here, it's a premier art [censored F-word] school. Sorry if I offended anyone, I'm just trying to be succinct.

    A nice story, I wish Donnie well.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 27, 2013 11:04:05 AM

  11. Derrick - drag queen please.

    Effeminacy is not a "gender" it's an affect. Some people say that all "gender expression" is an affect. If that's true, then normal would be neither male nor female. Being swishy is not being androgynous, it's camp and it's habit forming because it's fun.

    Many gay boys often look around themselves and see nothing but presumably heterosexual males and females. Because heterosexual males are attracted to females, in their child's mind they subconsciously reason that they must therefore be female. So they affect femininity.

    This is changing rapidly. There is a whole crop of gay boys out there who have been somewhat out, or at least aware and more comfortable with their gayness from an early age. They as a rule reject or have no comprehension of the idea that they shouldn't be typical boys except for orientation. They don't aspire to be a bitchy queen in a snappy androgynous top and Capezios.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 27, 2013 11:42:48 AM

  12. Ratbastard -

    So being a tranny is not Donnie's biggest problem. His biggest problem is that he's going to graduate from an art school with a buttload of student loans and an earning potential of a barista?

    Posted by: David Hearne | Feb 27, 2013 11:45:53 AM


    Since you put it that way, well, yes.

    Let's just say Emerson has a reputation regarding it's student body and their socioeconomic status.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 27, 2013 12:23:18 PM

  14. @Derrick

    Yea he tries to fight bigotry, but LK can't seem to do so without juvenile ad hominem attacks. I very rarely see him make well reasoned, intelligent, pertinent to the issue responses. He always diverges into a non-sequitur or starts flinging accusations. As I said, I'm sure he does a lot for the community in the long run, but it would be nice if he could express his opinions (that's all they are by the way, no more worthy than anyone else's) in a mature, concise way as opposed to emulating arguments on a third grade level.

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 27, 2013 2:44:42 PM

  15. *elegant curtsy*

    gay men who distance themselves, rather than align themselves, with our trans brothers and sisters reveal their own internalized homophobia, transphobia, and (as evidenced by the comments of trolls on here) their own misogyny.

    am i trans? no. but i stand in solidarity with them.

    and i don't need a "group" to support me in order for me to see, and feel, that "their cause" is something i could, and should, support.

    it's this thing called Empathy.

    as for my constant cri-de-coeur about "showing yourself" it's very simple: there are some comments and ideologies that are onnly ever spouted, anonymously, by the Troll Brigade.

    anti-trans this, "anti-effeminate men" that, and so on and so forth.

    complaints about "representation" while refusing to stand up and represent themselves. of course i flip my lid; i've been Out and actively doing LGBT work, grassroots work, since I was a teen. frustrating, then, that all these years later the same old nonsense comments are being regurgitated by the same breeds of anonymous trolls.

    Boastful Trolls whose bravado hinges on their anonymity.

    none can ever put a face to their claims.

    disagreements are great. but when it comes to specifics, there are certain "different opinions" that are only ever articulated, online, by the Faceless Bunch. and we all know why.

    here's a heartwarming and truly moving story about fraternity brothers chipping in to pay for their brother's surgery. it should be great news all around. and it is, except for (like i said) the insecure and anonymous gay men who need to hate on transpeople to feel less inferior about being gay.
    *wah wahhhhh*

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 27, 2013 3:30:00 PM

  16. I guess I just saw some of the comments not as hateful but as seeing trans and gay/bi issues as seperate. Some were, however, disrespectful to trans people. I'm not perfect and I'm sure I unknowingly offend my trans brethren sometimes, but I don't mean to. I just think it serves both sides to say LGB and T as opposed to LGBT to make the distinction that the issues are unique to each group. I'm just saying I try to give the benefit of the doubt as opposed to automatically resorting to personal attacks that I have no basis in making. Quite frankly I think both gay and trans people should be allies, of course, but I have a problem with grouping the groups without distinction. It may just be semantics on my part but that's how I see it. Anyway both sides should try to argue with intellectual integrity. Little Kiwi, I know you are intelligent from reading your posts, I just wish you would center your arguments around the facts. You are better than committing logical fallacies on an Internet board, even if it is in reaction to trolls.

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 27, 2013 6:22:03 PM

  17. both sides can't argue with intellectual integrity when only one side possesses it.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 27, 2013 6:30:52 PM

  18. Well theoretically both sides could make intellectually sound arguments. Only one side would have MORAL integrity though. And that is the side who fights for everyone's rights. But as it stands much of the argument seems to be about semantics and grouping/classification, as opposed to people actually arguing trans people are inferior. At least I know I'm not arguing that. Trans people have done a lot for gays rights as allies to the movement and vice versa, but it still happens to be the case that trans and gay people are likely better served to work together while acknowledging that gender and orientation are not necessarily linked. Otherwise people may assume all trans people are gay, or that all gay people are crossdressers or are effeminate/wish they were women. Anyway everyone knows my position on trans rights, so I'm gonna leave it at that just say I wish people would just acknowledge the uniqueness of their particular group's issues while still advocating for the rights of those who may not be directly connected to their cause. Trans rights are civil rights too, even if the issues are vastly different from (and should not necessarily be associated with) gay people and their issues. Gay can be cisgender, or transgendered is all I'm saying, they aren't mutually exclusive. And therefore they should be seen as seperate issues that are of equal worth.

    So much for a concise post. My brain is fried, but it was worth it to make clear my position lol.

    Posted by: ble.d_out.color | Feb 27, 2013 7:04:27 PM

  19. All the above posts using my name to attack transfolk or oppose their equality are fakes from some Democrat party source. Their use of disinformation is retaliation for my opposition to Obama from a socialist point of view.

    I've asked Towleroad to block the IP of origin

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 19, 2013 8:39:47 AM

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