Boston Frat Raises $19K for Brother's Sex Change

Denied by insurance, Donnie Collins' brothers step in with social media campaign
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2013 6:50 AM CST

A 20-year-old transgender student at Emerson College found a surprising ally in his attempt to get gender-reassignment surgery—the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity, reports USA Today. Donnie Collins was born female, but he's identified as male for years. Since coming out as a transgender at age 17, Collins has wanted a double mastectomy and chest contouring, but never had the $4,800 needed and his university insurance does not cover gender transition. However, Collins was pledging at Phi Alpha Tau, and when his prospective brothers heard the insurance company turned down his surgery, they got the idea of enlisting social media and starting an IndieGoGo campaign.

More than just money, the fraternity brothers say they want the campaign to raise awareness. "We'd much rather have a hundred people donate $10 than 10 people donate $100," said one brother. With donations pouring in, the fraternity upped its goal to $8,100, but soon blew by that amount, too. With 39 days still left, the IndieGoGo campaign has raised more than $19,000—the fraternity brothers say all excess funds will be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, which helps transgender people pay for surgery. "It's been an amazing experience, these last few weeks," Collins said in a follow-up Youtube video. "My life has been absolutely changed by pledging this fraternity." (More Donnie Collins stories.)

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