It began with a Facebook post voicing an idea third-year St. Thomas University student Lennon Hemming had been sitting on for a long time.
He wanted to start an organization on campus where people can donate their old clothes, so trans folks can come and get new clothes that match their gender identity. Its existence would mean they wouldn’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe.
“If the worst part of your day is right at the beginning when you’re getting dressed in clothing that doesn’t match the identity you actually want to present, it can kind of just ruin every single day,” Hemming said.
The post on Feb. 24 garnered attention on Facebook with 27 shares, 35 comments and 88 reacts. Hemming has also been contacted by people from the Saint John and Fredericton University of New Brunswick campuses who want to integrate the idea into their campus, and help Hemming put his plan into action.
Hemming has had supportive comments as well as parents and fellow students reaching out who want to get involved or donate.
“I think the wonderful thing about having an organization like this, that is explicitly for trans people, is that it kind of sets off this domino effect of actually being able to see the acceptance in our community.”
Hemming was surprised that all the feedback he received so far has been positive.
In terms of getting the word out about the organization, Hemming said social media promotion is big, but word of mouth is more important. He wants it to not just be a project run by him and a few people, but a project run by the community as a whole.
“This would really be something that the community constantly would have a say in and it’s on-paper run by a certain number of people, but ideally would be run by the community, for the community,”
Hemming has been in contact with chairs and co-chairs of the 203 Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity and is considering partnering the organization which already has funding and space behind them.
He wants to work toward making sure people know the Fredericton campus is a safe space for everyone.
“I think the thought for me was just that we would have a space that would be explicitly for trans people trying to find clothing that would make them feel better when they get up in the morning.”