Cal State Fullerton’s LGBT Queer Resource Center is opening the Gender Affirming Closet to provide a free, on-campus clothing resource for transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming students.
“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.
The Gender Affirming Closet, located at the center in Room 189 of Pollak Library, will be operational this fall semester starting Friday, 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.
Betancourt Arellano discusses the need for this resource on campus.
Why open the Gender Affirming Closet on campus?
The Gender Affirming Closet provides 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. Additionally, often individuals may not have the ability to freely shop for clothes that most align with their expression due to fear of being rejected by their home environment. We’re addressing this issue so that Cal State Fullerton’s intersectional queer student population has access to clothes without gender discrimination or shame. 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.
What clothing and other wardrobe items will be available?
The majority, if not all, of the clothes in the Gender Affirming Closet will come from donations. Donations are highly encouraged; however, the center’s website will explain what type of apparel we are currently accepting, not currently accepting and never accepting. Stained, torn and poor-quality clothing will never be accepted. Depending on what we have in stock in our closet, we may ask for less of a certain type of apparel. 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.
What is the process for students to shop for clothing?
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 that reason, we will allow students to take home up to two outfits per month for free. The center will not police students regarding the parameters of an “outfit.” Students will be asked to use their own discretion and honor system to define for themselves what will constitute an outfit. We ask that individuals please be mindful of the entire queer student population on CSUF’s campus, as they are all entitled to use the Gender Affirming Closet as well.