Organization Offers Donated Wardrobes To Transgender Youth
Wait until you hear who’s helping them raise funds for a new location.
Beautiful things are happening in a dusty basement in Cincinnati. An organization called Transform has been operating out of the backroom of Brideface, a bridal beauty shop in the heart of downtown.
Transform acts as a donation closet for transgender and gender non-conforming youth in the city and surrounding areas. Transgender kids can make an appointment and, after filling out a brief questionnaire, they can get a new wardrobe that fits their changing lifestyle. Volunteer stylists are on hand to help them personalize their looks. And the best part? It's all free.
"When children come out, parents want to be able to support them, but if you just bought an entire wardrobe for school and you're already strapped for cash and you want to support your kid, what are you going to do?" one of the organizations founders, Tristan Vaught, told WCPO-TV .
Vaught, who identifies as gender-queer, established Transform with the help of Brideface's owner, Nancy Dawson, and her daughter, Ella Dastillung. The three got together and came up with the idea after Dastillung's younger sister came out as trans.
"I was right there next to her trying to help her pick out clothes. She was stealing my clothes," Dastillung said.
All of the clothes, shoes and accessories at Transform are donations, and while the current space is starting to feel a bit cramped, the impact the organization has had on the community is anything but small. The most important thing is making young people feel comfortable and supported as they transition into a new lifestyle.
"We want to make them feel validated," Dastillung said. "We want to make them feel affirmed in their genders."
The organization is currently working to raise funds for a new, larger space where they can continue to provide clothing along with a community space for LGBTQ youth. Their efforts got a big push last week, thanks to a retweet by late-night talk show host Seth Meyers.
Meyers isn't the only celebrity who's helping to spread the word. Dawson, who recently stopped treatment for a breast cancer diagnosis that's now deemed terminal, got a call from Lin- Manuel Miranda last Friday with a special message for them to share on social media.
"Hi Nancy," the writer of Hamilton said in the video. "I think what you're doing with Transform is incredible. I think you're going to change Cincinnati. I think it's really laudable and I'm just incredible impressed. And I wish you all the luck in the world."
While the three founders know that it could take some time to earn enough money to purchase a building, they're hoping to keep the momentum going while Dawson is still with them.
"We're really just on a crunch with our fundraising because my other co-founder Nancy Dawson was told that her breast cancer came back and that it is a terminal diagnosis and she only has a few weeks left," Vaught (pictured below, right, with Dawson, left, and Dastillunsaid, center). “So, our big push now is we want to make this her legacy and we want her to see us thriving before she passes."
You can help Transform reach their goal of getting a new space by clicking here . You can also contribute by purchasing items on the organization's Amazon Wish List by clicking here . Those in the Cincinnati area can find out about volunteer opportunities here.
Kudos to the Transform crew for creating a space for people of all gender identities to feel accepted and loved. You can follow their lead and show kindness to others in your daily life, even if they're different than you. Let's #StartSomethingGood together.