Berkeley High’s Alliance for Gender Expansive Students (AGES) started a free gender-affirming clothing program towards the end of last school year. AGES is a student-run club dedicated to making a safe space for transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
According to club leaders, their goal is to improve the school environment and raise awareness around LGBTQ+ issues. The gender-affirming clothing program provides things such as binders, bras with padding, and much more.
“Gender-affirming clothing is really important to being perceived the way you want and having gender euphoria. It’s a special experience to have clothes that fit you emotionally as well as physically,” said Eva Patrick, a junior in Academic Choice (AC), “And having the gender-affirming care that you need is important to achieving that for trans folks, especially.”
Gender-affirming clothing is clothing that helps create gender euphoria and comfort in one’s body. The free gender-affirming clothing program has helped dozens of students express their gender identity through clothing. AGES has raised over $1,000 this year and plans to help even more students in the near future.
The way to receive this clothing is quite simple. First, fill out the form using the QR code on the posters put up around campus. Then, you will get emailed so AGES understands what size and garment you need. After that, they order it. It will either be delivered to your house or to the school depending on circumstance. If delivered to school, one can pick it up in the AGES room.
The gender-affirming program was created by trans students for trans students. Co-President of AGES Zoe Wrubel said this program is important because, “it helps students express themselves without outing themselves.”
Many students don’t feel comfortable asking their parents for gender-affirming clothing. Cost and accessibility are also big concerns. AGES understands these difficulties and found a solution, and thus, the free gender affirming clothing program was born.
According to club leaders, AGES also wants to increase awareness and information about trans rights by making presentations during the Universal Ninth Grade’s social living gender unit and help to refine the curriculum.
The club also plans to provide information about free gender-affirming clothing in presentations to classes. Other campaigns for the club involve getting more LGBTQ+ holidays onto the calendar and creating events for those days.
James, a co-president of AGES, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said that the largest problem trans students face is “Administration and the general public not caring enough about trans people to make an effort to make things welcoming for us.”
AGES is working to make every and all gender expansive students feel welcome and heard through their gender-affirming clothing program.