A Boston fraternity learned that one of its brothers wanted a sex change, and took the steps needed to make sure he was able to afford it. Emerson College student Donnie Collins came out as transgender prior to attending the university, but he discovered not long after he joined the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity that his insurance company wouldn’t cover a surgery to remove his breasts.
That means that the $8,100 he needed to undergo the procedure would have had to come out of the 20-year-old’s pocket — if not for the fact that his fellow Phi Alpha Tau members came to his aid. They raised nearly $20,000 a press time through the online fundraising site Ingiegogo.com, and now Collins’ surgery is scheduled for May.
“We see Donnie as a brother and we want to support him in this endeavor,” Phi Alpha Tau Chapter President John Allen tells CNN affiliate WBZ-TV.
Collins adds, “I’m overwhelmed and surprised. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
The fraternity announced that the money they have raised over their goal will be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, which was created to “provide financial assistance to transgender people for gender-confirming surgeries.” As many insurance companies have a “Transsexual Exclusion Cause,” it is difficult for people to gain financial assistance to have their gender-confirming surgeries completed. Collins is not the first transgender member of Phi Alpha Tau.
“We are a group of individuals brought together through our fraternity and we are here for one reason: to support the brothers of our organization. Yesterday we were informed that one of our active brothers, a transgender female to male, was denied the opportunity to recieve financial support from his insurance for top surgery,” Phi Alpha Tau wrote on their Indiegogo page. “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.”
Watch their fundraising video below: