Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Divine Nine Sororities, Are You Open To Trans Women Joining?

Because of my elder stateswoman status in the trans community and this blog I'm blessed to have, I do get my fair share of inquiries from trans people about various issues that affect us.

Sometimes it's just a person looking for advice. Another time it may be someone needing just a kind word from somebody who has been down the road they are traveling. 

And far too often it's from another African descended trans woman frustrated about being the lone POC in a predominately white group and feeling marginalized as a member of it.. 

Last night I engaged in a Facebook chat with a young African-American trans woman who is in college.  She has been transitioned for almost a decade, is interested in fulfilling her dream of pledging a Divine Nine sorority and asked me if it was feasible to do so.

That was a good question that I asked in a March 21, 2007 post

So that begs the question. If the Divine Nine sororities embrace all women, does that include myself and other transwomen as well?

It's a valid question because those four sororities have over a half million members and have already embraced Latina, Asian and White women as members.   They are powerful professional organizations within the African-American community, have a rich history and legacy, have international reach and count as members accomplished women in business, government, entertainment, sports, the arts, the armed forces and the media 

I implored the various sororities to get ahead of the curve on the issue of trans membership while they can do so on their terms because with kids transitioning at earlier ages, this issue was going to crop up sooner or later. 

Now in December 2012, that issue may be at hand.

So what was my answer to that trans woman in question?   I gave her a 'it depends' response.

It depends on the organization, the particular chapter on the college campus you pledge at, how open minded the members of that chapter are, the region of the country and their attitudes about #girlslikeus .   

Maybe these sororities already have trans women in their ranks that I'm not aware of.   Maybe these organizations have begun at the national leadership level quietly going about the work of opening their doors to trans women as they have previously done  with our lesbian and bi sisters  

But that uncertainty about where each Divine Nine sorority stands on the question of admitting trans women doesn't give me the confidence to tell a young trans woman dreaming about proudly wearing the Greek letters of those orgs and their colors yes or no about pledging one.  

I'm happy to report she's determined and tough minded enough to do it anyway.

I would hope that if a qualified #girllikeus decided she was down with the historic mission of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta or Sigma Gamma Rho, loved that sorority's history, was qualified to be a member, and wanted to be a part of building their legacy for a new century of service she would be invited to do so and not disrespectfully turned away.  

TransGriot Note:  The photo of the sorority dolls in this post is from Trinity Designs

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