Emerson fraternity raising funds to help member get transgender surgery

Phi Alpha Tau set up an IndieGogo campaign when Donnie Collins's insurance company wouldn't pay for the surgery. They set a goal of $2,000; they're now past $15,000.

Via the Dig.



    Free tagging: 



    By on

    he/she have to join a sorority next year? What are the rules?

    Donnie is transgendered

    By on

    Donnie is transgendered (female to male), so this is helping finish the physical transition to male. So no, he will not be joining a sorority.


    By on

    What an awful thing to say. What the hell business of yours is it, that you have to say something awful about the poor kid, whose frat brothers are doing such a nice thing, and who seems like a nice kid?

    What does it pain people to use a pronoun someone prefers and to accept them as they present themself?

    That sounded more clueless than awful,

    By on

    Seems like anon genuinely doesn't know how to phrase this, and is generally interested in filling a huge gap in their understanding.

    Appropriate and respectful language for discussions of transgender issues is often completely unintuitive, and the inexperienced can easily stumble through the conversation looking incredibly offensive.

    Anon didn't even say anything ABOUT Donnie Collins, they asked two (poorly-worded) questions. Let's be more understanding of folks who have absolutely no idea how to handle transgender issues, and hopefully those folks will return that kindness with a healthy understanding of transgendered people as well.

    becoming transgendered

    By on

    This person will always be female even after they remove this person's uterus and ovaries and attach a phallus, this person will never be male, will never produce sperm, will never father a child. If it isn't too late to stop the T and save her female fertility, she should do it.


    By on

    Why do you allow blatantly transphobic comments here? I'd like to think this site was a bit classier than those other Boston news sites.

    Maybe because he has faith in his overall readership?

    By on

    While I can certainly understand if Adam wants to exclude threatening, perverted, or profoundly disruptive comments, I don't see how the above anon's rant, ignorant as it was, descends to that level.

    One of the good things about UH is that even though the spectrum of positions expressed sometimes can be just as extreme (and just as mutually unpalatable) as one finds at other news sites, the community here has a strong tradition of engagement rather than vindictiveness.

    Apropos that, I don't know why the person above has such strong negative feelings re: transgendered persons, but I do know that s/he is hardly unusual - and is even typical, quite frankly. Maybe consider it an opportunity to educate?

    of course

    By on

    Infertile women are women, not men, that's my point.

    Okay, then

    By on

    What if an infertile woman, with a phenotypically female body, has an X chromosome, a Y chromosome, and no way for her body to use testosterone?

    Yes, these people exist. Maria Patino, a heroine of the rights of women living with androgen insensitivity syndrome in sports, is one:

    A man

    By on

    If you define being a man as being able to produce sperm and father children, then I just feel sorry for you.

    I'm fine thanks

    By on

    Being able to father children is an important part of being a man, yes. We should feel sorry for men that are unable to, and not disregard the importance of fertility and fatherhood just to make some infertile men feel better, or to make this person feel better. This person is going to have to use some other person's sperm to have children, which is unethical and problematic on all sorts of levels.


    By on

    Can we assume you're not a big fan of surrogacy...whether the parent/couples of hetero, homo, or transexual?

    Artificial insemination???

    Right, it's like slavery

    By on

    People shouldn't be purchased or ordered on demand, manufactured to spec by professional baby makers. It should be prohibited. If people need a child to raise, there are plenty of kids that need homes.

    ...or...(now stay with me here)

    By on

    This person is going to have to use some other person's sperm to have children

    ...OR...not have kids...or adopt a kid.

    I hope you were able to follow my logic. I tried to dumb it down for you.

    Ever hear of Turner's Syndrome?

    One X - that's all. Usually identify as female, although infertile. I suppose you think they would be not human?

    Or, how about Androgen Insensitivity? That's when a person with an X and a Y chromosome can't use their own testosterone due to a genetic mutation. These people develop externally and usually identify as female, and are now considered female for the sake of Olympic competition.

    Kleinfelter Syndrome? Usually identify as male, but two X chromosomes and one Y often means infertility.

    Oh, and by your enlightened definitions, Lance Armstrong was female for many years until very recently, right?

    Interesting how you seem to think a particular persons choices are yours to make or that a particular person's fertility is any of your business or has to be saved.

    So much simpler and easier to be ignorant, eh?

    Those aren't new syndromes

    By on

    Of course they're all human. They have genetic mutations, or had accidents or diseases or something. They don't define the norm to which everyone else must conform by becoming infertile and ambiguous. Those syndromes do not justify the crazy new idea that all people can be either sex, and sex has nothing to do with genetics or fertility.

    Thanks for the confirmation

    By on

    That you are not only ignorant and bigoted, but a hateful and willfully stupid busybody as well.

    you are the one

    By on

    posting about people's genetic defects and denying reality. We shouldn't participate in someone's willful and stupid delusion, and changing sex is ignorant and bigoted about sex. What does this person have against being a female?

    Okay, I'll bite. What is

    By on

    Okay, I'll bite.

    What is your theory on this student's long-held inner feelings and desire to change sex, combined with the littany of trained medical and psychological professionals who are willing to sign-off on the final procedure?

    What do you believe is the genesis of these feelings and what course of action would you prescribe to this individual to help them see what you believe to be the right path for them?


    Anon should also explain why he or she thinks that they should have anything to say about another person's fertility or gender expression.


    I don't know about this particular one, but many of Emerson's Greek organizations are co-ed.


    By on

    That's a horrible thing to say in light of the wonderful thing these students are doing for their friend. What is a problem, is the insurance companies not covering surgical procedures like this.

    Insurance companies don't

    By on

    Insurance companies don't cover many procedures that are far more important than this one. Why not address those first instead of making big deal about this one (big deal defined: front pages of news stations)?

    Lighten Up

    By on

    Did Scollay say anything that in any way denigrated either the transgender person or the folks helping out? No. It was a JOKE that took a shot at the state judicial system.



    Bad form

    By on

    to do it in a post like this. There's always the Herald to go that far off topic if one feels the need.

    I mean, where do you stop? We should be attacking Obamacare because it isn't providing for it! (or is for helping on some of the bills?)..

    Bad form to opine anonymously

    My remark was not off-topic. Ignorance of current events does not give you the right to imply I should be posting in the Herald.


    Suldog - word.

    who's ig'nat?

    By on

    I got the reference, as did everyone. We’ve had plenty of posts on here about it being a major news story; jokes, anger, disbelief, whatever.

    Sorry if don’t see the relevance of bringing up some douchebag crazy murdered bilking the state in a post about a Frat doing something pretty damn cool for one of their own.

    Sometimes jokes fall flat when brought up in the wrong context or time, and this is one of them. Or are the guy that calls the bride a slut in the bestman speech?

    Humor, not just for everyone...just not for everyone

    By on

    I thought it was funny. It was off-color and perfectly within its place. Most off-color humor does better when you don't immediately apologize or disclaim it...be bold, scollay, next time or just use a winking smilie to defuse the false assumption that you said it in seriousness.

    I cant believe so many of you

    By on

    I cant believe so many of you people support this freak show! The world must indeed be going to hell smh

    Freak Show

    You say Freak Show, I say human diversity.

    You also have a lot to learn about transgendered people.

    I suggest the book Sexing the Body to stimulate thinking outside of your hind brain when it comes to these issues.

    The gender binary is a simplistic construction. We may like to think there are only two genders, but actual living breathing people aren't always neatly sorted into two categories. This goes for psychological issues with gender, physiological or phenotype construction AND genetic makeup.

    For example, at least one of your assumptions about this person's psychological, phenotypic, and genetic gender would likely be incorrect.

    Good on these kids in taking a stand and helping their brother make his way in the world.

    Subtle differences

    By on

    If a man says, "I'm George Washington," people won't buy you a tricorn hat and olde-timey uniform; you get thrown in the loony bin.

    If a man says, "I'm a woman," you get "gender reassignment" surgery.

    If a man posts transphobic garbage...

    By on

    And when some transphobic assholes make bigoted comments posing as inane analogies on the internet, a handful of people shake their heads sadly, quietly hoping that they'll be able to raise kids who are as thoughtful and open-minded as the men in this fraternity.

    And so the world goes on.

    Easy, killer

    By on

    Help me out. What's the difference between A and B? Other than B has a fancy name and powerful lobbying interests behind it.

    I do...

    By on

    I'd like to learn more, but after a quick read the link doesn't offer me much, and I don't really have the time to survey an academic's entire body of work. The cryptic 'hint' doesn't really illuminate either.

    More specific suggestions

    Here's a start: http://www.amazon.com/Sexing-Body-Politics-Constru...

    Says the author: "One of the major claims I make in this book," she explains, "is that labeling someone a man or a woman is a social decision. We may use scientific knowledge to help us make the decision, but only our beliefs about gender--not science--can define our sex. Furthermore, our beliefs about gender affect what kinds of knowledge scientists produce about sex in the first place."

    Also, "Myths of Gender" by the same author.

    Both are good for thinking about what parts of what we call "masculine" and "feminine" are biologically, culturally, socially, and developmentally determined or formed.

    "I'd like to learn more, but

    By on

    "I'd like to learn more, but I don't want to bother googling, literally the easiest thing to do in this case, let alone any actual resource."

    I really don't care

    By on

    if this person is having surgery to become a female, a male, or a lemur.

    But why do people think it's OK to throw fundraisers and panhandle for everything they want to do nowadays? It's shameful. You can afford what you can afford, and you are not entitled to other people's money.

    Why do you give a shit? Don't

    By on

    Why do you give a shit? Don't give money. I don't call people this much, but you, sir, come off as a total asshole.

    Maybe the Catholic Church should stop panhandling, so should high priced universities, so should my alma mater. Get over yourself, fucking miser. Too bad you make such ridiculous comments as an anon. These are people who are making someone's hardship known, and anonymous strangers (like yourself) are making donations in droves. You can continue to sit and bitch, but its better off to let these kinds of things happen and move on to jaywalking or street signs with incorrect font, there's bound to be something else trivial to complain about.


    I've only heard about this

    By on

    I've only heard about this condition being a thing within the last few years or so and it seems like people with it are popping up all over the place. Don't people in this situation usually have to go through years and years of therapy and psychiatry first to find out if they actually have the exact issues and aren't just depressed/bipolar/etc? Crowdsourcing elective surgery seems pretty unusual especially if in a few years Donnie discovers he/she isn't transgender after all.

    This "thing" has been around forever

    By on

    The difference is that we recognize and acknowledge it these days. As for mental illness, I would think that being TV/TG can cause depression if the person feels that they're trapped in the wrong body and can't find a way out. Bipolar disorder is a medical disease that's unrelated to gender reassignment.

    So, you've done no research

    By on

    So, you've done no research about this whatsoever. Here here! Think before you speak.

    He had been going through reassignment via hormone treatment and alternative treatment. This is the final step for him to be comfortable and his health insurance company denied the surgery. His doctors did not. So, I assume that you take the position of the insurance company versus the medically trained doctors that have been treating Donnie for years. Right. Gotcha.

    I'm SO sorry for not being an

    By on

    I'm SO sorry for not being an expect on this issue I just heard about. Can you supporters please try to stop the snarky sarcastic attitude and assume everyone who is ignorant on the subject is a bigot? You're not going to get anywhere fast acting like that.

    Dude, reading comprehension.

    By on

    Dude, reading comprehension. The article is linked. I don't feel sorry for my snark when all you needed to do was click a link and have an 8th grade reading level.

    You speculate

    But your speculations themselves identify your ignorance of the subject.

    I'll tell you this much: transgender persons are not a new thing by any stretch of the imagination. Women have "passed" as men for centuries, in battle as well as in social life. Men have lived as women for just as long.

    Some Native American tribes, as well as other societies throughout human history, have even had special ceremonial roles for such people (google berdache for an example)

    Throughout her life, my own grandmother dressed in boys and then mens clothing, undertook traditionally male working class occupations, and openly wished that she had been born male. I have high school friends who have socially transitioned, and friends who have taken the leap and had surgery. None have ever looked back.

    What has changed is that people are speaking out and making positive changes in their lives and fighting to change a society that demands that people be and behave in one way or another according to what they look like at birth (which may not even reflect their genetic makeup!).

    Then there are people who are, by birth, intersex (not clearly one gender or another). The treatment of transexual people is often dumped on these folk, too, and they were historically "reassigned" as infants to conform to one bin or another, regardless of the preferences that they would eventually develop.

    The question of is or isn't

    By on

    "Crowdsourcing elective surgery seems pretty unusual especially if in a few years Donnie discovers he/she isn't transgender after all."

    I would suspect Donnie is indeed transgender and knows it. I assume he has lived with it long enough and knows, and I commend his fraternity brothers for their enlightened action.

    What bothers me however (and I am a gay male, if it makes any difference to this discussion), is seeing extremely small children referred to as transgender. Even today as I write this, there is a piece on Salon.com, "Colorado school bans 6-year-old transgender child from girls’ bathroom". Is a six year old REALLY developed enough mentally and otherwise to truly know if they are transgender? I hate to use the old "it could be a phase" thing, but, at that age, YES, it could be a phase. It seems to me that it is more the parents/adults projecting onto the child, and I cringe when talk of "puberty blockers" is broached. This is a decision that may be seriously regretted in years to come. There currently seems to be great zeal among the transgender community and supporters to "do something as early as possible", but I am not sure this is wise.

    What problem could you

    By on

    What problem could you possibly have with hormone blockers? All they do is delay puberty. If the child on them decides not to transition they stop taking them, and everything proceeds as normal. That is a step that is suggested for minors IDing as trans because it doesn't affect any permanent changes.

    Trust me when I say that going through the wrong puberty is a horrible experience to live through. Putting it off a couple years and starting later is a hell of a lot better than what the wrong hormones does to your body and mind.

    Wait, what?

    By on

    You think it's potentially harmful for a child who feels female to identify as female, because she might feel differently later, so in order to avoid this harm, we should insist she be labeled male, which she's asserted she DOESN'T align with? That's like saying she can't identify as athletic or quiet at such a young age, because who she is might change when she's older, so we should force her to be something that's really uncomfortable for her. Yes, it may change, or it may not, but it's not helpful to decide who someone is or isn't.

    What would be better would be if we all just recognized that gender isn't binary, and can be fluid, and just let people be themselves. There is no logical reason for most of the either/or gendering that happens in schools and communities anyway; we just do it because we always have.


    By on

    I can't believe anyone would expect an insurance company to pay for a woman to get a penis. People are seriously raising money for this with all the worthy causes to raise money for such as cancer research, famine, wounded veterans Etc. What a sick sick world we now live in this is extermely disturbing and shameful.


    By on

    This is great! I with Donnie all the best. As a fellow female to male (FTM) transgendered person, this is great to see and very touching. 10 years ago I had to pay for all of my surgeries out of pocket, and the bigger issue here is that insurance won't cover these kinds of surgeries. For those who feel this is an unnecessary surgery, or that taxpayers should't have to cover something like this, it might be helpful to know that very, very few people actually pursue these surgeries. Those who do are most certainly born in the wrong body and end up much happier after the surgery. There are extraordinarily few cases of someone "changing their mind."

    For anyone who makes it to the point of needing surgery, there is always a qualified team of doctors and therapists who have spent months and even years documenting the individual's case and making sure that the person's suffering truly is a result of their gender identity. No qualified surgeon would risk losing their license by performing a surgery on an individual who couldn't provide documentation for a licensed physical and therapist certifying that the individual needs this surgery. I've been through the process and it is very well documented and substantiated; trust me when I say that one cannot simply walk into the doctor's office and undergo gender reassignment surgery on a whim. For me, it was a hugely important process that allows me to live a happy life. You wouldn't know my story if you met me or worked with me because the surgery and hormones are just that effective. Now, I'm just another guy living life day to day in Boston.