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Pride Center’s ‘Open Closet’ provides a wardrobe for all identities

Published on December 08, 2022

Pride Center’s ‘Open Closet’ provides a wardrobe for all identities

Eastern Connecticut State University’s Pride Center is making waves in gender affirmation and expression with its new initiative, Open Closet. The project aims to provide free clothing to those looking to be represented accurately by their attire.

By accepting donations from the Eastern community, Open Closet is providing free, accessible style options for students of any identity. “The Open Closet was created with the purpose of giving students the option to play around with and explore their own forms of expression, while removing finances as a barrier,” explained Pride Center graduate intern Joaquin Selmeski. “Through the creation of the closet, we were able to shine light on the needs specifically of our transgender and gender nonconforming students and provide a means of self-expression that we didn’t see on campus.” 

The Open Closet is one of many Pride Center initiatives meant to build community, provide access to resources and acknowledge diverse gender identities. Along with the ability for students to explore clothing options during the week, the center has also coined the term “Thrifting Thursdays,” in which the closet takes over the Student Center vendor table from 8-10 p.m., filling the space with clothing racks, lights and music.

“Not all students who could be empowered by Open Closet have visited the Pride Center before,” said Selmeski. “We wanted to make the conscious effort to move outside of our space in order to invite new students in.”

Selmeski explained the impact of the Open Closet, both for those using the resource and for those donating to the cause. “Accessible clothing relates to the mission of the Pride Center, on both an individual and macro scale. Not only are students given access to resources, but by opening up donations to anyone from the university, the Pride Center is building a culture across campus that intentionally acknowledges and values diverse gender identities and expressions.”  

The closet is open to all students for finding new clothes and contributing donations during the Pride Center’s regular hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. -5 p.m., as well as Thursday nights when the closet goes mobile to the Student Center vendor table.

Written by Molly Boucher

Categories: Pride Center