Alpha Chi Omega to allow transgender women to be members of sorority chapters nationwide

Photo and Video Courtesy of Alpha Chi Omega

Contributions by Brinley Hineman / News Editor

As of Feb. 17, 2017, Alpha Chi Omega made the decision to allow and accept transgender women in collegiate sorority chapters across the country.

In the above video sent out through various social media platforms, National Alpha Chi Omega President Angela Harris announced this change and discussed the way it will affect future sorority members.

“Alpha Chi Omega has been challenged to reexamine the concept of sisterhood and sorority through the lens of a quickly changing collegiate landscape,” she said in the video.

She continued, saying, “We recognize that for some of our sisters, embracing this position means adopting a new mindset, and, as our understanding of gender identity evolves, so must Alpha Chi Omega.”

According to an official letter from Harris sent out to members and affiliates of Alpha Chi Omega, the decision was the result of “extensive National Council deliberation, best-practices research, legal consultation and frontline discussions with higher-education and sorority/fraternity life thought leaders.”

On the Alpha Chi Omega website, the non-discrimination section on the “Statements of Positions” page reflects the statements made by Harris.

The section states, “Women, including those who live and identify as women, regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth, are eligible for membership in Alpha Chi Omega based solely on five membership standards.”

Kelsey Brannon, the Alpha Chi Omega MTSU chapter president, explained her opinion on the new membership policy.

“This was very new information for us. We found out this past weekend, and we are trying to figure out what this will mean to us as a local chapter and are working with Panhellenic to figure that out,” Brannon said in an email. “We are very excited for this change.”

Brannon also mentioned that the decision to include transgender women is a change to Alpha Chi Omega’s national bylaws, but it has not been implemented locally yet.

Representatives from MT Lambda, MTSU’s only all-inclusive LGBTQ+ organization, voiced their support for the change and the future inclusivity.

William Langston, the faculty advisor of MT Lambda and a psychology professor, stated, “I think it’s a good thing. Organizations that systematically exclude people cut themselves off from an opportunity to learn from others and from an opportunity to grow. And, it’s nice that all of our students have an opportunity to participate in the Greek system given the extraordinary benefits that participation can provide. Other organizations should consider carefully whether they’re ready to take this step to be sure all of their chapters have a proper foundation before implementing the change. But, inclusion is a good goal.”

“I am grateful to this sorority for stepping forward and showing their support,” said Alex, a transgender senior and member of MT Lambda. “I think that this is a great step forward for both Greek Life and the trans community. We are all stronger together, and their acceptance of trans-women goes a long way in that. This makes me hopeful for future generations of students to find a much more welcoming and accepting campus life.”

For more information on Alpha Chi Omega and their policies, visit here.

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To contact News Editor Brinley Hineman, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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2 Responses

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  1. Sierra
    Feb 24, 2017 - 02:43 PM

    In a world where greek life is looked at in so many prospectives that are accurate and inaccurate one of those protectives isn’t normally “open minded to personal identification.” Alpha Chi Omega is changing that, As a member of Alpha Chi Omega I am interested to see how this will work out. currently it is a Nationals By-laws but as not been implemented here yet due to the fact that there is a lot that comes with this for Panhellenic as well. This world is ever changing and evolving so therefore as a sorority we must evolve and change as well. Being one of the first organizations to adapt to this train of thought is huge. Although it leaves us with the opportunity for many great potential new members it also leaves us with even more questions that will come as we begin to implement and embarrass this change I truly believe it will be the beginning of a new chapter for the greek community, Panhellenic ,and especially Alpha Chi. I look forward to the future of rushing any and all people who identify as a women.

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  2. Lexi
    Feb 24, 2017 - 10:36 PM

    As a member of the Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity, I feel great pride that my organization has taken this step toward inclusion. It was very exciting news to hear this weekend at our past meeting. This is a really big deal, especially because we are one of the first organizations to update our membership criteria and non-discrimination policies in this way. This decision further shows me that the organization I chose as a second home is welcoming to all. Although I am unsure how MTSU Housing, or Panhellenic will react to this decision from headquarters, I hope that trans-women on MTSU’s campus know that they have a place in our Greek communities.
    Furthermore, I hope that other organizations will take this same step either at a national or on the chapter level. I think Greek communities could be a really positive place for trans-women. In spite of stereotypes often attributed to sororities, I have found the Greek experience at MTSU to be nothing but constructive, accepting, and supportive. Trans-women deserve these experiences just as much as any other woman. Belonging to Alpha Chi Omega has enriched my college experience, and I look forward to the possibility of it doing the same for a trans-sister in the near future.

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