February 28, 2013 in Nation/World

Fraternity raises cash for gender surgery

Jay Lindsay Associated Press

BOSTON – A college fraternity in Boston has raised more than twice the money needed to pay for a new pledge’s gender transition surgery.

The Phi Alpha Tau fraternity at Emerson College began raising money for sophomore Donnie Collins early this month after his insurance company wouldn’t cover his breast removal surgery. Their initial goal was $4,800, but donations had exceeded $17,000 by Wednesday afternoon, more than double the procedure’s $8,000 price.

In a note posted this week with a thank-you video on YouTube, Collins said the surgery with a Springfield plastic surgeon would be scheduled this week.

“I don’t even know what to say because the words ‘thank you’ don’t do it anymore,” Collins, 20, said on the video.

Extra money donated in the ongoing campaign will go to a group that gives grants for similar surgeries for transgender people.

Phi Alpha Tau treasurer Christian Bergren-Aragon said he thinks a major reason the campaign caught on is because it defies the stereotypes of fraternities, which are often associated in popular culture with hedonism, poor grades and drunken antics.

Collins, a screenwriting major and Virginia native, pledged just this month with Phi Alpha Tau, which Emerson director of student life Jason Meier described as a progressive, forward-thinking fraternity with many gay men.

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