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Boutique in Williamsport caters to transgender, non-binary clientele

The free clothing closet allows gender nonconforming people to shop in a safe, inclusive environment.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Colorful clothing fills the racks inside the Brian Spies Boutique in Williamsport. The free clothing closet is run by AIDS Resource, and it is specifically for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Lycoming County.

"We wanted to create a safe space where people could find clothing, shoes, accessories that will help them to look the way that they want to look and have something that is gender-affirming," said Megan Bloom with AIDS Resource.

The boutique is named after Brian Spies, a non-binary and transgender person who lives in the Williamsport area. Recently, there was an incident where someone posted pictures of Spies wearing a dress on social media.

"Posted them on Facebook and kind of opened up a pile-on of bullying that was very scary and very unsettling," Spies said.

Spies says the Williamsport community rallied around them, including the staff at AIDS Resource. Spies was approached about this boutique.

"'Is this something that you'd be comfortable having named after you?' I was very flattered and very happy about it."

Spies says as a transgender person, it can sometimes be uncomfortable shopping for clothing in public, so this boutique is very welcome.

"To have a space that's safe and welcoming, that provides an opportunity for people to express themselves, I think that's just really important and wonderful," Spies said.

"They don't have to worry about weird comments from people or be nervous about anything," Bloom added.

The boutique's location is being kept private. If you would like to make an appointment or a donation, you are asked to email AIDS Resource in Williamsport.

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