Express your identity with clothes from the ‘Transition Closet’

Sydney Hamblin | Spring 2022

Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Q Center is opening a new addition to their office within the next year called the Transition Closet.

The Transition Closet will be the first physical space in Fort Wayne where transgender or gender nonconforming students can go to find accessible and affordable clothing that matches their gender identity.

The term “transgender” describes people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth, while “gender nonconforming” is a term used to describe people who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the sex they were assigned at birth, according to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

Jordan Sanderson, coordinator of The Q Center at PFW, said that the Transition Closet will be a way to help students who may be in the beginning of their journey of transitioning and don’t have the funds or resources to obtain clothes that align with how they want to present themselves.

“We just know that there’s a need for something like this. Our community doesn’t have many LGBTQ+ resources, not even just at Purdue Fort Wayne but in Fort Wayne in general.”

Sanderson said the idea was proposed by him and the director of The Q Center, Vic Spencer, but their human services intern, Ashley Kraus, was the one who brought the idea to life.

Ashley Kraus presents her experiences at her human services internship with The Q Center at the human services capstone event.

Kraus said the staff at The Q Center came up with a $6,810 annual budget for staff wages, clothing storage, marketing materials and other miscellaneous supplies. On top of that, The Q Center will also be fundraising and accepting donations to help supply the closet.

“We will do a clothing drive at the beginning and end of each semester when people are packing up to go home for the summer or for winter break and displaying that clothing in the closet.”

According to Planet Aid, the average college student produces 640 pounds of trash annually, the majority of which accumulates at the end of the year during move-out. Most of what students are throwing away is reusable or recyclable and doesn’t need to end up in a landfill.

Kraus said that The Q Center plans on placing donation bins in student housing for students to donate their clothing for a good cause instead of throwing them away.

Within the next five years, Kraus said The Q Center hopes to expand the space and offer these services to the Fort Wayne community.

Sanderson also said that a personal goal of his is to have enough funds to have people come in and occasionally tailor outfits for students.

The Transition Closet at Purdue University Fort Wayne is estimated to open during the fall of 2023.

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