USC

Gender Affirming Clothing Swap provides resources and safe space for gender expression

The event took place at Alumni Park and was a joint effort between SAGE and the LGBTQ+ Student Center.

A photo of pants, dresses, shoes and athletic wear were spread out on tables, racks, and boxes for all students to grab.

Between 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. last Monday, around 100 students came to Alumni Park to swap clothes and talk with fellow students at USC’s first Gender Affirming Clothing Swap.

The event was a collaboration between USC’s Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment (SAGE) and the LGBTQ+ Student Center. Pants, dresses, shoes and athletic wear were spread out on tables, racks, and boxes for all students to grab. The clothing in the swap was donated by students and by the Trans Wellness Center of L.A.

The Trans Wellness Center, located on Wilshire Boulevard, provides resources and counseling for transgender and non-binary individuals. Their services range from mental health support to resume building workshops.

SAGE and the LGBTQ+ Student Center’s event was inspired by the success of SAGE’s first clothing swap event in fall 2021, but last week’s clothing swap placed an emphasis on providing gender affirming clothing for USC students.

Alexia Sambrano, a senior majoring in neuroscience and cognitive science and co-executive director of SAGE, stressed the importance of creating a space and resources for the expression of gender identity especially after the pandemic forced many LGBTQ+ safe spaces to shut their doors.

“A lot of students on campus, especially because of COVID, who are transitioning or who are looking to express their gender in a way differently than they have before, are having a hard time finding a lot of clothing that affirms their gender or that can be created for them to express who they are because a lot of places have been shut down,” Sambrano said.

The swap was open to all students. They were able to donate or pick up clothes, find out more about the resources SAGE and the LGBTQ+ Center offer or just meet new people.

“[The event] is a really good way to get students excited about trying new things and letting them know that there are people on campus that they can reach out to for these resources,” Sambrano said. “And overall, it was a bonding experience for a lot of folks.”

Any clothes still left after the event were donated to the Trans Wellness Center of L.A. to add to their clothing closet, a resource offered at the center to provide easy access to clothing for people looking to express their gender identity.