US fraternity raises money for member's sex change

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts - A college fraternity in Massachusetts has launched a campaign to raise money for one of its members to undergo partial sex-change surgery, a college official said.

Donnie Collins (above), 20, a sophomore at Emerson College in Boston, was born female but has been living as a male since he was 17, said Jason Meier, the college's director of student activities.

When Collins, a visual media arts major, pledged the Phi Alpha Tau fraternity earlier this year, he told fraternity brothers his insurance would not cover the cost of surgery to remove his breasts, Meier said.

"The men rallied behind him," Meier said, launching an online campaign to raise about US$8,000 (S$9,952) to pay for the so-called upper body procedure.

Collins was born with, and still has, female genitalia but identifies as a man, according to Meier. He has not had other sex change-related surgeries, he said.

The campaign has raised more than US$17,000, and the fraternity plans to donate additional funds to the Jim Collins Foundation, a group that provides financial assistance for transgender surgeries. There is no relation between Donnie and Jim Collins.

In an interview with WBZ-TV in Boston, Collins said the operation would consist of a double mastectomy.

"I guess I don't think of it as a sex change," he said. "I think of it more as just making my body congruent with how I think of myself."

Collins could not be immediately reached by Reuters.