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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Gender-affirming clothing for campus

Photo by Katie Craig
The Queer Closet is a free resource located in the LGBTQ+ center.

For students starting to experiment with their gender identity, it is important for them to be able to find resources that support them throughout their journey. The Queer Closet located inside Marquette University’s  LGBTQ+ Resource Center is one of these resources

“People’s gender identities are very important and very personal,” Emma Mentley Wuetrich, assistant director of the LGBTQ+ resource center said. 

The Queer Closet is an on-campus service that provides free gender-affirming clothing to Marquette students. Gender-affirming clothing is defined as clothes that help an individual feel more confident in their authentic gender presentation. 

“Gender validation is really important because it is such an integral part of identity for so many people,” Katie Jacobson, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. Jacobson is currently working at the Resource Center as a social justice intern and helps with general maintenance and upkeep of the closet. 

The Queer Closet was the product of a clothing swap last Spring, Wuetrich said. Resource center staff members constructed the free resource out of the leftover clothes. After that, its popularity only grew. Wuetrich said that she sees the closet being utilized more than other resources in the center, so she is proud that they were able to provide students with a resource that was clearly needed. 

“In a space like Marquette that is a Jesuit university it might be hard to find that recognition or validation, especially for someone with a queer identity,” Jacobson said. “Having a space where students can exist unapologetically is really important in allowing them to explore that identity.”

Abi Benjamin, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, also emphasized the importance of having this resource in an already queer space on campus. They said that shopping for gender-affirming clothes can be very nerve-racking, especially for students who might not be out to their family or friends yet. By offering this resource in an already safe space, students are allowed to pick out clothes in confidence. 

Daequan Muirhead, a sophomore in the College of Communication, has seen that the influence of the closet stretches far beyond just the LGBTQ+ community.

“It helps anyone who is down on clothing or down on hard times and might just need something that helps them look nice. I think people who do find nice things in the closet find a lot of joy out of it,” Muirhead said. 

Muirhead believes that expressing oneself through clothing is an important factor when it comes to one’s identity. He believes that queer people on Marquette’s campus have a very unique style and that the Queer Closet can help them find items to express that. 

Jacobson also talked about how the closet contributes to Marquette’s larger theme of “Cura Personalis,” or “care for the whole person.”  

“Cura Personalis includes all aspects of identity including gender as well as sexual orientation,” Jacobson said. “Being able to express oneself in a way that feels comfortable is really important in creating that care for the whole person.”

Wuetrich also believes that the Queer Closet offers students a resource that can help them find dignity as they experiment with gender identity. She said that being seen the way that one sees themself is an important step toward gender validation. 

For students and staff who want to help support this community, Muirhead suggested donating old clothes to the Queer Closet. The donation box is open whenever the resource center is open and accepts donations from anyone. 

Wuetrich, Jacobson, Benjamin and Muirhead all shared similar ideas on how Marquette students can help support the community beyond the closet. They all emphasized the importance of calling out microaggressions and being aware of one’s own implicit bias. The Resource Center offers educational resources to be used by both LGBTQ+ students and allies alike. 

“It’s really essential that we support our students and all of their many identities,” Wuetrich said. 

Even though the end of October marks the end of LGBTQ+ history month, that does not end the resource center’s work. Trans* Compassion Week is Nov. 12-20 and invites all students and staff to partake in the activities. More information will be released through Instagram

This story was written by Kiley Brockway. She can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Katie Craig
Katie Craig, Staff Photographer
Katie is a Staff Photographer at the Wire. She is a first-year from Lakeville, MN studying digital media and minoring in advertising. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography and hanging out with her friends. This year Katie is looking forward to getting to know more people and improving her photography skills.

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