RED STATE - Alex Parker - DEC 8, 2022
Have you ever taped yourself? That query would once have likely referenced a cassette, but the phrase is quickly taking on a different meaning. Consider a case at the University of Pennsylvania, where students are being offered new perks.
UPenn boasts both Wellness and LGBT centers, and the two have partnered for a progressive project. Last month saw the launch of the Clothing Closet, which will assist transgender attendees with getting adequately dressed.
According to an article on the school website, it’s about resources:
Button-downs, black leather jackets, summer jumpers, and stacks of sweatshirts were neatly folded, stacked organized into sections in a meeting room in the LGBT Center, ready for the Center’s inaugural Clothing Swap & Drop. The event kicked off the new Clothing Closet, which will be a permanent community resource.
Housed in the LGBT Center’s lounge area, the closet will be open to the public starting on Nov. 28 on Mondays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to drop off used, freshly laundered clothing or peruse the racks to take a new outfit home.
Participants are encouraged to “wash before [they] drop and after [they] swap.”
Are some Ivy League students unable to afford attire? Per Student Health and Counseling gynecology section chief Julia Mills Burton, you betcha:
“Sometimes there are financial hardships, particularly as people are going through gender transition. [The Clothing Closet will] provide opportunities for them to have access to clothing that might be gender-affirming…”
Where non-traditional identity is concerned, UPenn reports on its percentages: Those considering themselves “transgender, nonbinary, or gender non-conforming/diverse” comprise 1.6 percent of the student body.
That number is sure to rise; across the country, sexual self-perception is surging:
Back to the Clothing Closet, LGBT Center Associate Director Jake Muscato assures there’ll be plenty of variety for those who dip into the duds. Euphoria awaits:
“Getting a number of styles was really important to us — so that people can find that euphoria and that comfort and that excitement at multiple points of their day.”
Jake also points out that gender expression isn’t limited to alphabet-oriented individuals: “[It] is for everyone. Everyone should feel validated and confirmed.”