On Nov. 16, the Q Center unveiled its revitalized Gender Bender Walk-In Clothing Closet, a space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community looking to affirm their identity. The Gender Bender Walk-In Clothing Closet is located in the Q Center in the basement of Glenn G. Bartle Library, which offers a variety of services and a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
The Q Center, which holds weekly events and activities for the LGBTQ+ community, looks to build community and acceptance across the entire campus. Events include workshops, film screenings and community events, all of which fall directly in line with their purpose.
The Gender Bender Walk-In Clothing Closet was a space previously called the Gender Affirming Clothing Closet and has existed since the Q Center first opened in 2016, but was rebranded and expanded this past month. What was once a closet overflowing with items in a cramped area is now a fully functional, inviting space. The closet’s intention has also expanded to include all members of the LGBTQ+ community with an emphasis on transgender and gender-nonconforming students. The closet is run using donations and clothing swaps, meaning anyone who wishes to acquire items from the closet typically donates clothing in return but isn’t required to do so.
Julia Saltzman, a second-year graduate student studying public administration, wrote about the intentions of the Gender Bender Walk-In Clothing Closet.
“Under the new administration of … Nic Fransisco, [coordinator], and Nick Martin, assistant director, we decided to revamp the closet, expand its space and bring new life to this old idea,” Saltzman said.
The revitalized closet does not just offer clothing but now also has a makeup counter, jewelry and privacy curtains if individuals wish to try on the clothing. The new and improved space allows for individuals to explore their identity and present their desirable expression. There is even a mural of the intersex-inclusive pride flag. Overall, the closet is a space that is inviting and fosters both individuality and community.
The Q Center offers a safe space for all and works to expand both self-acceptance and community acceptance. The Gender Bender Walk-In Clothing Closet works right in line with its mission of “family by design,” which pays respects to the unique friendships and chosen families of the LGBTQ+ community.
“The Gender Bender [Walk-In Clothing] Closet is intended to be an affirming space for all members of the LGBTQ+ community at Binghamton [University],” Saltzman wrote. “It was specifically created with transgender and gender-nonconforming students in mind. We hope that, through the closet, we can provide a place to explore gender and expression and resist the gender binary.”
Editor’s note / Disclaimer: Lakhsmi Chatterjee, Arts & Culture Editor, is employed by the Q Center.