GRATIOT COUNTY, Michigan (WNEM) — When Alma College’s gender affirming closet opens May 30, it is believed to be the first of its kind in Gratiot county. It is judgement-free, stereotype-free and just regular free-free.
“And we want to create a space where boys who want to start wearing skirts can come in, judgement free,” said Erin McCreedy, closet coordinator. “Don’t need to pay for anything, because you can’t exactly go to Walmart and be a boy and look through skirts.”
McCreedy is an AmeriCorps volunteer at Alma College. She got the idea for the closet from her alma mater, Indiana University.
“We want it to be barrier free, so not just money, but like I talked about earlier, inclusive,” McCreedy said. “So, socio-economic status, we want everyone to feel comfortable.”
Support from the community has been huge. They filled more than a dozen trash bags with a variety of clothes.
“We don’t have many spaces for LGBTQ folk and that’s available for the community as well, and apart from just the college,” said Chapin Kartsounes, Alma College senior. “Queer people exist in Gratiot county or in Alma whether they go to the college or they just live in the area.”
The closet will be available by appointment at the Highland Blush Café in downtown Alma.
“You definitely feel the tensions of, you know, maybe an old school way of thinking about how people should live,” said Damian Sanderson, owner of Highland Blush. “I know that there are lots of community members that are underrepresented, and we always wanted to be a space that allowed people to feel comfortable in their own skin.”
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