Queer Trans Clothing Closet launches online store, prepares for pop-up

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet, an LGBTQ+ friendly clothing closet, launched its website to provide clothing in between pop-up shops.


Raquele Decker

Savannah DeGroot, one of QT Closet’s founders and Project Coordinator, looks over a large pile of clothing donations that have been cleaned and processed for giving away. The number of clothing items in the storage containers pictured are estimated to be around 2,000.

Meg Doster, News Reporter

Iowa City’s Queer Trans Clothing Closet saw a surge of orders and increased interest after launching its website late last month.

The nonprofit provides free, gender-neutral or gender-affirming clothing.

“It was our hope to continue afterward, we didn’t know exactly what that was going to look like,” said Savannah DeGroot,  a first-year graduate student at the University of Iowa and a founding member of the Queer Trans Clothing Closet.

Since its last pop-up, the Queer Trans Clothing Closet launched a website to fulfill orders in between monthly pop-ups.

“A month can be a long time to wait to get clothing that makes you feel like you and that affirms your gender,” DeGroot said. “We really didn’t want to have to have our students waiting those 30 days, whatever, to be comfortable in their own skin and in their own body.”

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet aims to keep the website’s presentation gender-neutral by organizing items by size.

“One of the challenges is trying to keep our website and our store and our display process as gender-neutral as possible, while still dealing with items that are heavily gendered,” DeGroot said.

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet provides a size conversion chart that helps people find out what clothes would fit their bodies best without invalidating their gender identity.

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet is the only clothing closet in the Iowa City area that specifically caters to transgender, nonbinary, and gender non-conforming individuals, DeGroot said.

DeGroot said the organization has only recently realized the amount of traction it’s gained. Since sending an announcement email about the pop-up to all UI faculty, students, and staff at the end of October, the organization’s gotten a lot of attention.

Since the email was sent out, the Queer Trans Clothing Closet had to temporarily close to new orders, to fulfill the influx of orders it had already received.

DeGroot said individuals, and other universities, have reached out to donate to the Queer Trans Clothing Closet.

“I’ve had trans employees from the university reaching out saying thank you,” DeGroot said. “I’ve had people who work at the university being like, ‘I have a trans kid, can I bring them? They’re exploring their gender.’”

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet’s stock comes from community donations. During the closet’s first pop-up in April, the organization received 1,700 articles of clothing, and it has since gained a few hundred more, racking up more than 2,000 items in stock.

“Since the very beginning of the QT Closet, we’ve had a close relationship with both the Pride Alliance Center and the Office of Sustainability,” said Joseph Haggerty, a representative from the UI Office of Sustainability who works for closet.

Haggerty has been involved with the project since its beginning in fall 2019. He said sustainability and having a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ individuals has been at the heart of the operation since its start.

Haggerty, who said he values the positive environmental impact of thrifting and reusing clothing that the closet provides, supplies the Queer Trans Clothing Closet with environmentally friendly laundry detergent and packaging.

Logan Shoviak, Queer Trans Clothing Closet volunteer coordinator and liaison for the UI Trans Alliance, volunteered for the closet before officially joining the team this semester.

Shoviak said shopping for clothing in a judgment-free zone makes things much easier for both transgender and non-binary people.

“Whenever I’ve gone into the men’s section, I’ve been nervous that people are going to be like ‘What is this person doing here?’” Shoviak said. “Having a space where nothing is gendered makes it a lot easier.”

The Queer Trans Clothing Closet’s next pop-up is on Nov. 10-13 at the Iowa Memorial Union. The group plans to host pop-ups at least once a semester for the foreseeable future.

“I’m someone who used the QT Closet last semester and want this to be a resource for other people,” Shoviak said, “especially trans people like me.”