The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s LGBTQA+ Resource Center has opened a new spot for Huskers to find free, gender-affirming clothing on campus.
The Lavender Closet, which is running on donations from the Lincoln community, is already overflowing with clothing for students who are transgender, transitioning or looking to feel more comfortable in their identities.
Planning for the closet began last spring, and the closet officially opened in October.
“It’s a good resource for people who are looking to explore their gender and aren’t in a financial place to get a whole new closet,” said Will Jackson, a senior psychology major from Waverly, Nebraska, and the center’s library and resources coordinator. “They may want more masculine or feminine clothes that they haven’t been able to buy in the past.”
JD McCown, assistant director of the LGBTQA+ Resource Center, has already seen a positive response from the campus community.
“We’ve been working to get all the racks in order and put everything on hangers, and we’ve already had a few folks who wanted to come in and look at clothes,” McCown said. “We have a lot of donations right now.”
According to McCown, college is one of the most common times for students to transition or explore their gender. The financial burden of that change, however, can be discouraging.
“If students are trying to change their entire gender expression on a college-kid salary, that can be really limiting,” McCown said.
When students feel confident, comfortable and validated in their expression, McCown added, they’re also more likely to succeed and be more engaged in their college careers.
“Services like this help attract students to the university, and they also help retain and create community among students who might have otherwise left the university for feeling isolated,” McCown said.
Along with visiting the closet, Jackson encourages students to explore the many ways to get involved with the center.
“Any of our RSOs — TRANSform, oSTEM and Spectrum — are all really great places to meet people, if students are having a hard time fitting in or meeting people on campus,” Jackson said. “All of those are really great resources, as well as just coming up to the center and talking to us if they need anything.”
Due to a high volume of donations, the Lavender Closet is not accepting clothing at this time. However, the center will begin accepting donations again next semester.