The Penn LGBT Center announces the opening of a new clothing closet | Popgen Tech
The Penn LGBT Center has announced the opening of its new Clothing Closet, an initiative for members of the Penn community to donate clothing or select items for themselves for free.
The Clothes Closet is open from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Mondays and Fridays and from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Tuesdays.
Wes Alvers—a graduate student in the School of Social Policy and Practice and a social work intern at the LGBT Center—and Jake Moscato, the Center’s associate director, created the Closet. According to Muscato, the idea grew out of a desire to provide Pennsylvania students with gender-affirming products, such as binders and corrective clothing.
The idea for the closet “happened organically” when they worked with Julia Burton, a Wellness at Penn provider who works with the Penn LGTBQ Task Force, he told The Daily Pennsylvanian
“It’s almost two separate initiatives: the Closet and also the gender-affirming products,” Alvers said. “But they have that collaborative relationship to a certain extent when they work in tandem. Good health has been on our side every step of the way.”
Muscato reiterated that Closet has a dual focus on providing gender-affirming products in addition to other forms of clothing.
“I just think it was a collective feeling that when we decided to do this, we didn’t want to just provide binders, shapewear, underwear, underwear, without also providing clothing,” Moscato said.
The closet will be completely free and students will be able to walk in, browse the options and grab what they want.
“Every item is completely free,” Alvers said. “It will never have any costs associated with it. And that will also continue when we start providing gender-affirming products, bindings, shapewear or tuck-in underwear and things like that, all of which will be free as well.”
Alvers and Muscato told DP that closet accessibility was a priority.
According to Moscato, a closet located in the center’s lounge will allow students to come in without interacting with anyone to maximize privacy.
“We kind of want it to be a space where people don’t feel uncomfortable asking for it,” Muscato said.
As a partnership with Wellness at Penn, the Closet is connected to health initiatives. Muscato and Alvers said they encourage people to wash their clothes before donating them and to wash the clothes they get from the closet before wearing them. The organizers also noted that for sanitary reasons, only unused underwear and socks are requested.
Organizers told DP that donations are critical for members of the Penn community to support the Clothing Closet initiative. Any Penn student can donate their old clothes to the program. Although the Closet is only open during certain hours, people can donate clothing any time the Center is open, Alvers said.
Moscato said students should consider the seasonality of clothing when donating to the Closet.
The Closet will have an anonymous feedback form where people can send in specific sizes or items they are looking for, and the Center will do its best to fulfill those requests.
“We want it to be good for the community as well,” Alvers said.