The Phi Alpha Tau fraternity at Boston’s Emerson University is raising money to help one of their brothers undergo female-to-male top surgery. Donnie Collins, the transgender fraternity pledge who is currently a sophomore and Visual & Media Arts major at the University, is currently in the process of transitioning through the use of hormone therapy. According to the The Stranger, Collins pays for the hormone treatment himself, but he had no way to pay for the expensive procedure (which involves removing the patient’s breasts), as his insurance plan would not cover it.
Collins’ fraternity brothers set up an Indiegogo campaign on his behalf, which reads:
“We are now trying to raise that money for him. We are doing this as individuals in an organization rallying around another individual. This endeavor is not being sponsored by the organization as a whole, rather the active members within it. 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.”
Phi Alpha Tau’s original goal was to raise enough to offer Collins a $2,000 donation towards his goal. As of Tuesday, the campaign has raised over $9,000. The fraternity is in discussions as to how to utilize the money leftover from the procedure, which costs $8,100.
Collins cried when he learned what his brothers were doing for him, but the solidarity and camaraderie of his fraternity was never in doubt. “I was just like, ‘Oh that’s such a Tau thing to do,’ and I didn’t even think it was that weird,” he tells Out Magazine. “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.’”
The organizers’ act of kindness for the transgender fraternity pledge is in sharp contrast to other recent stories that have surfaced about fraternity living. Earlier this month, a Duke University frat party dubbed “the racist rager” led to the Kappa Sigma fraternity being suspended. The party featured invitations and costumes depicting stereotypical Asian cultural mores. Kappa Sigma has not had its charter revoked yet over the incident, but an investigation is ongoing.
On Tuesday, Donnie Collins posted a YouTube video describing his reaction to his fraternity’s efforts as well as the attention it has received.
With a transgender fraternity pledge being so well-supported by his brothers, do you think a change in the irreverent, sometimes-violent fraternity culture is coming to America?