On Friday, April 1 LGBTQ Initiatives, along with Colgate’s Allies, sponsored the first closet swap as a part of Colgate’s annual Queerfest. The closet swap took place at the Residential Commons Annex at 100 Broad Street from 4 to 6 p.m. Students were encouraged to bring gently used items of clothing and swap them with other clothing at the event.
“For example, you bring four items and you can take out four items. We’re doing it on an honor code. People have been bringing bags and bags. We’ve been scrambling for tables,” sophomore Taylor Huffer said.
This year’s closet swap was the first of its kind. The idea for the closet swap came from the realization that buying gender-affirming clothing can often be expensive and uncomfortable for many trans and gender-nonconforming students. The closet swap began as a way to remediate that issue.
“I think it’s a really great option because, for being someone who looks like a man, going in and buying female products is really difficult, so for somebody who is transitioning that is really difficult and really awkward and so I think this is a great opportunity because now students who are transitioning can come in and nobody cares here. You can wear whatever you want, be whoever you want, I mean, be trying on dresses, skirts, shirts, all kinds of things for all kinds of genders,” junior Bennie Guzman said.
The closet swap appeared to be very successful, with a high attendance and tables full of student donations. The extra clothing will be donated to the non-profit organization “The Closet Shop,” (The Closet) Colgate LGBTQ Initiatives’ non-profit that collects items of clothes to give to students who are transitioning.
“The Closet is a clothing-thrift shop program we have set up gauged to help transgender students alter their wardrobes because when you transition sometimes it can be lot of money to buy tons of new clothes that match your gender identity. We’re trying to get a lot of different clothing items to help students transition a little bit easier. We started working on plans last semester, and this is our first big, main event for it. I don’t think any of us were expecting so many people; it has been a great turn out,” junior Kris Pfister said.
The closet swap was just one of the many events scheduled during Queerfest aimed at providing support for Colgate’s diverse student body. In recent years, events such as Queerfest have allowed students to have opportunities to show their support for one another while also providing a platform for more conversations about gender identity.
“I think this year and in the years past there has been a lot more acceptance and flowering, if you will, of the Colgate trans community. I think this is a really good response to it, by the LGBTQ Initiatives, who helped run Queerfest along with Allies. The Closet is an amazing idea and it is really helpful to have gender-affirming clothing, because some people can’t afford to change their wardrobe, some people don’t feel safe shopping in the areas they would want to, so things like this are really important. I’m thankful. And I got a dope sweater!” sophomore Kyle Griswold said.