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Nonprofit group helping transgender community find acceptance through clothing

Transgender Assistance Program - or TAP - Virginia aims to help trans-people struggling with homelessness or in need of proper clothing.

NORFOLK, Va. — Pride month kicked off with a new initiative by TAP VA aimed to help trans-people get the proper clothing through clothing care packages.

TAP VA's Director of Development, Sarah Noffsinger, says it started when someone came to the organization back in January 2021 in need of clothing they couldn't find in the Richmond area.

"From there, I was just like 'oh, there seems to be a need outside of our area and there seems to not be a lot of options for people in other areas of the state,'" said Noffsinger. "Clothing is definitely one of those issues that trans-people face."

Sarah Noffsinger says the clothing care package initiative gained attention through social media, including Facebook and their TikTok videos. She and TAP VA's Chairperson, De Sube, say it helps people in transition or to come into their own.

"When a transgender person comes out, you basically need to rebuild your whole wardrobe," said Noffsinger. "Or if you don't, but you have a job interview and you want to look nice, it's hard to find the best clothing."

The organization says Nomad Thrift store in Ghent along West 21st Street donated a majority of the clothes for this month, but they say the clothing care packages went fast. They sent out a total of 48 packages before their deadline of June 10.

"The demand is there," said Sube. "99 of 100 pieces that were on the website were being sent to clients because everything on that website all the clothing is free."

Both Sube and Noffsinger hope they'll be able to reach more people in need of their help. TAP VA will have another donation send-out of care packages this July.

Sube says clothing like this is important because, "we can get gender-affirming clothing to them, which is critical for a trans-person to live their authentic lives."

Sube says they are always in need of medium to large sizes in women's clothing and small to medium sizes in men's clothing. They ask if you donate any clothes, to make sure they are in decent condition.

Noffsinger and Sube say they have a GiveOUT Day Fundraiser, which they are hoping to raise $2,000 with 200 unique donors by June 30th, 2021. 

If you are interested in donating clothing or "shopping" at TAP VA's in-person closet in Leesburg or Portsmouth, you can email the organization at transactivistva@gmail.com.