Ramapo hosts Gender Affirming Clothing Drive for students

The Women’s Center and LGBTQ Services is holding a Gender Affirming Clothing Drive throughout October to celebrate Queer and Trans History Month. Slightly-worn clothing as well as binders and other gender-affirming garments are being accepted through Oct. 25.

Coordinator for the Women’s Center & LGBTQ Services Alex Woods said in an interview with The Ramapo News that the idea for the drive came from not only their personal experience but also the experiences of others in their life.

“A lot of the time, we don’t have the resources or the insight in order to find really gender-affirming clothing,” they said. “After self-reflecting on that for a while and talking to students as well… that’s kind of where the idea came about.”

The right brand of binder or tucking panties can be hard to come by, and when a person does not feel comfortable in what they are wearing, it is then likely causing them to not feel comfortable with themself.

“The gender-affirming clothing swap is really just about affirming students, getting them comfortable in the clothes that they come in,” Woods noted. “I think that clothes can be really empowering for people.”

Sustainability also plays a key role in this donation drive. The Women’s Center has teamed up with Sunrise RCNJ, an organization that aims to combat and educate about climate change, for their Gender-Affirming Clothing Swap on Thursday, Oct. 26 from 12-4 p.m.

“I think it’s really great because you know, everything possesses intersectionality specifically when it comes to fast fashion and accessibility of fashion pieces,” Woods said. “So we’re combining our missions to bring this event to Ramapo students and we’re making it so that anyone can join, any Ramapo student can participate regardless of if they’re LGBTQ, an ally, or if they don’t know where they land.”

With recent brands coming out with more gender-neutral clothing lines, Woods hopes to receive pieces like that in the drive, but more gendered clothing is also welcome. While shoes are not being collected, other accessories will be accepted.

Woods also hopes that this drive will bring more attention to the Women’s Center. Some students on campus do not know the center exists, and others know about it, but not where it is located. 

“Of course, that’s always an objective,” they said. “Everyone is welcome at the Women’s Center and LGBTQ Services, not just women and LGBTQ folks.”

The Clothing Swap will offer access to the donations and is open to everyone. Leftover clothes will hopefully be used again in a future Gender Affirming Clothing Drive, possibly occurring as soon as next semester.

“It’s a really beautiful thing when you’re able to explore your gender expression through clothing, regardless of whether or not you’re nonbinary, gender queer, gender fluid… I think it gives everyone the opportunity to find empowerment through their clothes in one way or another,” said Woods. “The clothing is for everyone and we accept everything.”



Featured photo courtesy of Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Pexels