Fraternity helping with member's sex change operation
BOSTON (WHDH) -- Emerson College fraternity brothers are stepping up to chip in for one of their member’s sex change operation.
Donnie Collins is a proud member of Phi Alpha Ta. Collins was born a female, but lives as a male.
"I came out as transgender when I was 17 years old. I spent years suffering from gender identity problems not knowing what was wrong,” Collins said.
Collins’ fraternity brothers said this was never an issue when joining the fraternity.
"Donnie's status as a trans student was a non issue. It wasn’t even an afterthought. We just thought he was an outstanding man,” said Tau Zaman, a senior.
"Coming out was a huge relief to me. I knew right away that I wanted a name change, hormone replacement treatment and I wanted top surgery,” said Collins.
But when he found out his insurance company denied his claim for surgery, he was overwhelmed with the support from his fraternity brothers.
The fraternity brothers started a campaign to raise money for Collins’ surgery.
"We wanted to show him in an act of solidarity that we supported him," said Christian Bergren-Aragon, a sophomore.
The fraternity set a goal to raise a little over $8,000 to cover Collins’ surgery. Now, they are at $12,000.
"Times are changing, if you feel like you don't belong because of something that’s different about you, wait it out. It gets better. There are people out there who will love and value you for who you are,” said Zaman.
Collins said this is the final step in his transition.
"You're the one that puts your head down on the pillow at night. You have to be able to look in the mirror at yourself every day for the rest of your life. So, make choices for you first and then other people second,” Collins said.
"It’s not about raising the money it's about telling a story of transformation, self discovery and brotherhood," said Bergren-Aragon.
Collins’ surgery will take place in May and the extra money the fraternity raised will be donated to a charity of their choice.