Clothing Transit offers stress-free clothing exchange for LGBTQA students

June 20, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For many students, shopping for clothes is a stress-free experience, aside from the total being read before swiping ones’ credit card. 

For students in the LGBTQA community, shopping can mean walking through a store with a gender-conforming layout that affects the freedom of choice in clothing and expression. 

In the spring 2018 semester, Penn State’s LGBTQA Student Resource Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, opened the Clothing Transit to help alleviate this discomfort for students.

“The intention of the Clothing Transit is to provide trans and non-binary students with the freedom to comfortably find clothing that reflects their gender expression and identity without the discomfort of shopping in a traditional clothing store,” said Brian Patchcoski, director of the LGBTQA Student Resource Center.  

The transit provides a way for students to exchange clothing and accessories such as shoes, bags and jewelry for free. 

Students who are interested in using the Clothing Transit can visit it in the Ritenour Building during open hours. During the summer, individuals may schedule appointments by contacting the LGBTQA Resource Center. Fall and spring hours will be advertised through the center’s newsletter and website. 

The Transit formed in partnership with 3rd Way Collective and Lutheran Campus Ministry along with monetary support from the Philip N. Knuston Endowment and a gift in memory of former Penn State student Eli Roe.

Eli Roe, who also went by his birth name, Miriam, was a Penn State student from 2013 to 2016 specializing in rehabilitation and human services. Roe had a passion for making historical costumes and helping advocate for those in the trans and non-binary community who were of Christian faith. 

Roe passed away in 2016 and funds from the estate were given to the Clothing Transit housed by the resource center. Patchcoski said that with the help from Roe’s estate, made in the form of a donation by Roe’s family, the center was able to make everything happen. 

The Phillip N. Knuston Endowment was established to provide funding for programs and projects that address the life struggles of Christians in higher education while also focusing on the topic of sexuality and the Church. 

Knuston was a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and was a closeted gay man until 1994 when he began to share his story as a gay man in the Church living with AIDS. Knuston passed away that same year and was forever known for his work within the LGBTQA community. 

Those interested in making clothing donations to the Clothing Transit can drop them off at the LGBTQA Student Resource Center in 101 Boucke Building during business hours. Those within and outside of the LGBTQ community are encouraged to donate items. Stay tuned to the center’s website for specific item requests that may be made throughout the year.  

Last Updated September 14, 2018