Cal State Fullerton’s LGBT Queer Resource Center announced Friday it will begin offering a free, on-campus clothing resource for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students.
Located in the university’s Pollak Library, the Gender Affirming Closet is set to open Sept. 3. Students will be able to access the closet by appointment through the center’s website or during open hours on Fridays, with times to be announced.
“The Gender Affirming Closet is a resource where students can feel empowered to express themselves authentically,” said Nat Betancourt Arellano, coordinator of the LGBT Queer Resource Center.
According to Betancourt Arellano, there’s a need to provide safe and inclusive opportunities for queer students to find clothing. Many transgender and gender non-conforming individuals may experience prejudice, harassment and embarrassment when shopping for clothes in public; they may be scrutinized for purchasing clothes that do not “match” their gender.
“We’re addressing this issue so that Cal State Fullerton’s intersectional queer student population has access to clothes without gender discrimination or shame,” Betancourt Arellano said. “While gender identity is an internal experience, gender expression is a way for queer people to manifest their creativity and identities. In providing options for clothing, we hope to enable queer students’ freedom of expression.
The majority, if not all, of the clothes in the Gender Affirming Closet will come from donations. The center’s website will explain what type of apparel is currently being accepted or not accepted.
“Depending on what we have in stock in our closet, we may ask for less of a certain type of apparel,” according to a CSUF statement. “Other categories of apparel are jackets, dresses, shirts, blouses, jeans, leggings, open-buttoned shirts, shoes and binders of any size. Binders are used to flatten someone’s breast using a constructive material in order to feel more comfortable with their body. Upon donation, clothes will be organized by type of apparel, followed by size.”
“While the Gender Affirming Closet will operate, in general, on an `equitable over equal’ approach, we also want to ensure as many students as possible have access to our stock. For this reason, we will allow students to take home up to two outfits per month for free.”