University of Cincinnati's LGBTQ center launches program for students with nonconforming genders

Posted at 7:30 PM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-05 02:34:42-05

CINCINNATI -- One tiny closet is making a big difference on the University of Cincinnati campus.

The school calls it a safe, judgment-free space. It provides students who are transgender or who may not identify as male or female with an opportunity to shop comfortably.

UC masters student Sol Ouzonian said some people in stores "usher their children away from you because you're shopping in a section that doesn't really appear congruent with how your gender presentation is -- what you look like from the outside."

UC's LGBTQ center is hoping to change that. The wardrobe is filled with used clothes, shoes and accessories for transgender and gender nonconforming students.

"This way, it allows students to have that (positive shopping) experience, be confident in themselves without having to deal with so much fear and discrimination," program coordinator Lee Dyer said.

The closet first launched back in October during LGBTQ history month, and since then it has also opened doors to discussion, Ouzonian said.

They are accepting any and all donations, but currently have a specific need for more men's clothes and professional attire. It can make a big difference for someone.

"To watch that you can see someone switch gears and all of the sudden become more comfortable just existing," Ouzonian said.