Sister, Sister: Creating Queer Spaces In Greek Life

To ring in the new school year, Autostraddle’s fall theme is SCHOOLED. We’ll be posting stories about queer/feminist issues and experiences with learning, working and playing in and around the education system.

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In college, I joined a sorority. Yes, it’s true. I was a founding sister of a sorority named Theta Zeta Upsilon, and over my three years as a Theta, I was Pledge Master and Vice President. Perhaps you picture fraternities and sororities as real-life versons of Animal House or the House Bunny, but here’s a lesson: life and art often do not resemble one another. In Theta Zeta Upsilon, we never had hot make out sessions in our underwear after epic pillow fights and our parties were never huge raging ordeals with $2,000,000 budgets. Basically, a group of my friends and I didn’t feel like the one other sorority on campus fit our personalities, so we made our own. Easy as that. Actually, I take that back; it was a little difficult. Maybe you’re thinking about joining a sorority, or even starting a sorority (I’d recommend it!). If so, here’s some lessons I’ve learned from three years of being a Theta.

I’ve only had confetti fall on me like this at the Spice Girls reunion concert, never in my sorority.

In Bronxville, New York, there are two colleges. One of them is famously liberal and lesbian-friendly and very rich. The other is really small and conservative and Lutheran and no one has ever heard of it. I attended the latter, Concordia College — New York. As a liberal, non-Lutheran lesbian, maybe this seems like a random decision for me, but those feelings are for a different post.

I remember being anxious about being gay at a tiny Christian college. My mom tried to comfort me by telling me, “They say 1 in 10 people are gay, right? There are 700 students at Concordia, so there should be 70 other gay students.” Funnily enough, despite some rather awful anti-gay things that happened to me on behalf of my not-so-nice first roommate, there are a lot of gay, lesbian and bisexual students at Concordia.

I never tried to hide my sexuality at Concordia, and only a handful of people ever said anything negative to me about it (pre-seminary students will always try to save your gay soul, won’t they?). No professor or administrator ever said anything about my sexuality. Half of my professors lived on campus and knew the first names of my parents, let me babysit their kids, invited me to eat dinner at their houses and yelled at me during lunch when I skipped their class, but not one of them ever told me my sexuality was wrong.

Yet, the year before I got to Concordia, when a group of students approached the administration with the intention to start a GSA club, they were told no. “Now’s not the right time,” “We don’t want to garner any negative attention,” “The Board of Directors might not like it,” ad infinitum. Concordia is an LCMS-affiliated college, which means it belongs to the most conservative branch of Lutheranism.

When administration tells you no about a really good idea, you can either fight it or find a way around it. If you can’t find a safe space to be queer among other accepting queers and allies, fighting isn’t much of an option — you’ve got to take the detour. Because I couldn’t join a GSA, I helped found an inclusive space in Theta Zeta Upsilon. Creating your own community can make it that much stronger; it’s something worth fighting for because it belongs to you.

Most of the founding sisters of Theta posing with Concordia’s President.

Theta Zeta Upsilon was the brainchild of two of my friends. There were two fraternities and one sorority on campus (the other recently-established sorority fell through pretty early on in its creation). The sorority on campus, despite being made up of many of my close lesbian friends, wasn’t a good fit for a few of us. Lauren Beal, our first President, put up flyers around campus inviting interested women to attend a meeting about starting a new sorority.

During the first few meetings, sixteen women and I set some ground rules for our sorority. We were an accepting, relaxed Christian sorority (I wasn’t the only queer girl in Theta). We borrowed our brother fraternity’s Constitution as a starting point and began to write our own version. We decided to not be affiliated with a national sorority in order to keep our fees low and set our own rules. Plus, we really liked our Greek letters, ΘZY.

We elected an Executive Board and a handful of other positions (I was the first Theta historian, so I made a scrapbook. Is scrapbooking too heteronormative?). We took tests on the Greek alphabet, made a website and jumped through all of the hoops we needed to in order to be recognized as an organization. We made our own traditions and set precedents for future pledging classes by going through them ourselves.

Sometimes we cried. Sometimes we pointed fingers and got really mad. More than one time I wanted to give up, but most of the time we loved each other a lot and sang silly songs together. You call members of a sorority your sisters for a reason — however clichéd it might sound, they do become your family, and are sometimes a better and more accepting family than the one you were born into.

We won best costumes of the Homecoming Parade. There are TWO Autostraddlers in this Theta picture. Hi, Rachel!

One of the best parts of being in Theta Zeta Upsilon was organizing events. We did a Dark Side of OZ(Y) screening, a 1999 dance, a winter ball, voter registration, several un-birthday parties, sumo wrestling in the quad, and heart disease and breast cancer benefits.

Although it’s so rewarding, starting a sorority is really difficult; I won’t sugarcoat it. We began in September and did not officially get our letters until February. If you’re interested in starting one, consider having an affiliated fraternity or sorority within the college or university to assist you in your endeavor. It’s easier to start sororities in smaller colleges, I’ve found, but that doesn’t mean a large university Greek network won’t be inviting.

Because we built Theta from the ground up, our path was bit different from joining an already established sorority. These are my tips if you’re interested in joining one.

I really wish this had been my sorority.
via {gala darling}

1. I recommend looking for a non-nationally affiliated sorority, unless your fraternity or sorority is dedicated solely to the LGBT community. Nationally affiliated sororities often have higher dues because you’re paying people to have a day job and look after your sorority. If your sorority is unique to your college or university, you’ll be allowed to have more input on how it is run and there won’t be as many politics to deal with.

2. If you do want to join a sorority that is nation-wide because your parents were a part of it or because you like the way their letters look on sweatshirts or because they seem super nice and welcoming, make sure you do your homework and find out how much it’s going to cost you to live in the sorority house and pay dues. Talk to lesbians around campus and see what sororities they are a part of, if any, because that will be your biggest clue to see which ones are gay-friendly.

3. If you decide to pledge or rush or go to bid day or whatever your university calls it and you no longer want to be a part of the organization, quit. You can talk to your Pledge Master or Recruitment Chair (I was a Pledge Master and talked one woman out of quitting while telling another it might be for the best) and you can quit. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not allowed. It is.

4., Absolutely, by no means subject yourself to embarrassing things to convince other people to like you. Hazing is illegal in most states. Theta Zeta Upsilon pledges wore something as a symbol they were pledging and they had to wear it for around three months. No pledge ever had to chug beers until they passed out, run around the quad naked, sleep with anyone, etc. to get in to our sorority. Don’t ever let sisters tell you that they did it so you deserve to do it too. Report any sorority hazing to the Greek and Pan-Hellenic Councils or Student Government Organizations through your university or college, because hazing should be taken seriously.

5. Do not date your sorority sisters. Do not do it. I know this is what bad movies and pulp fiction books of the 1950s want you to believe is sexy and a good idea, but it’s not. Date girls from other sororities if you’re seriously attracted to the Greek life girls, but do not date within your own sorority. It will make everyone miserable, including yourselves when you break up and can’t stand to be in the weekly meetings together.

Each sorority is different. My sorority didn’t allow us to be drunk at our own events, but some sororities encourage it. Do your homework and talk to the sisters of the sorority (not just the Recruitment Officer) to see how they feel about their own organization. There are a few sororities that give the rest of us a bad name, but in general, I find that sororities are very inclusive and accepting. There are definitely trans*-inclusive fraternities and sororities out there, I promise.

If you don’t feel like you’d fit in with a sorority, I still recommend joining organizations and clubs you’re passionate about, and of course, join the GSA or Pride club. That’s where the intelligent, passionate, cute girls hang out.


Special Note: Autostraddle’s “First Person” personal essays do not necessarily reflect the ideals of Autostraddle or its editors, nor do any First Person writers intend to speak on behalf of anyone other than themselves. First Person writers are simply speaking honestly from their own hearts.

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Hansen is the DIY & Food Editor of Autostraddle.com and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at Colorado State University in her free time.

Hansen has written 186 articles for us.

49 Comments

  1. Thumb up 13

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    Advice to closeted trans girls: don’t join a frat in the hopes that it will “make a man out of you.” Trust me, it won’t. ;)

    Seriously though, I’d really caution against anyone joining a house- the Greek System at my school (USC) is really racist/classist/sexist/homophobic/ and enforces these weird gender roles that are straight out of the 1950s.

    Like Sarah said, just do your homework first :)

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      The sorority I am a member of ZTA accepts all races and orientations. We’re super cool about it. There were 2 or 3 openly lesbian women in when I pledged (which is a big deal for a little Christian liberal arts school). I know that our campus AGD also includes many queer women. I really think if you fit into a sorority or not depends on the college. All sororities here don’t care about race or orientation, but some really REALLY do.

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        But I can’t encourage doing your homework enough. My mom was a Zeta at the same school I attend, but I was blacklisted for being gay (even though I’m also Christian and very femme, and share the values of the group). I was crushed that as a legacy with a very high GPA, I was still denied membership because of my orientation. There is still homophobia out there. I wish there wasn’t, but there is.

        Do not let them get you down. You might be denied membership to a national sorority. That’s ok. Join a co-Ed group, or start your own. Just remember, it’s their loss!!

  2. Thumb up 7

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    Starting your own sorority is a blast! I started one with my friends at my college, and the only hazing activity was that all our pledges had to watch Spice World or Glitter. We also did fruit runs instead of beer runs…like, we’d run into someone’s room and toss a banana or a fruit roll-up at them and then run away. This was hilarious at the time, but now just seems like fruit abuse. Oh college.

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    I joined a national sorority and it was my sisters who helped me come out and be comfortable with who I am. Each sorority is unique and I would never tell someone not to join simply because of their sexuality. I can imagine starting a sorority would be so much fun/so much work. Kudos to you Hansen!

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      I had the same experience with my sorority! The are my best friends and my biggest allies. Then again the greek system at my college is pretty gay friendly even on the fraternity side, soo many gay guys. So it’s more of a welcoming experience. There are those organizations that may have issues but doing your homework is important. But seriously don’t date your sorority sisters, no matter how beautiful, awesome, amazing they might be. Just don’t do it. Ever.

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      I also joined a national sorrority and not only did they accept my weirdness, they encouraged me to be myself. I had difficulty coming out because of the system as a whole but my sorority sisters encouraged me to not hide who I was. Turns out one of the freshman that had joined, had had a girlfriend the whole and once I came she also felt comfortable doing so. Yay! Like you said some of my sorrority sisters are my closet friends and straight allies.

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    I’m a “GDI” (god damn independent) at a big southern school where Greek life is huge, so this was a different perspective on sororities for me. I can’t imagine queer people fitting in very well in Greek culture here. There’s a definite problem with sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, etc. that does seem especially prominent among sorority/fraternity members. I know a couple girls in sororities who became atheist since they joined, and they’ve had a real problem being accepted by fellow Greek people because of that. I wouldn’t recommend the Greek experience, but I think it’s really awesome to see people changing the culture from the inside.

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    I went through regular (national sororities) Panhellenic recruitment as a junior while out and dating a girl. I ended up in the um, weird girl sorority (every campus has one, honestly) – where two of the other forty-odd sisters (including one in my teensy tiny pledge class) were gay. We eventually had to close due to low membership, but it was absolutely wonderful. Everyone was kind and welcoming, had no problems whatsoever when the three of us brought girlfriends to formal, and were the best women ever supporting me through the awful inevitable breakup. Even in typical Greek life at a Southern school, I encountered no homophobia. It may not be the norm nationwide, but there are really great women out there in Greek life who will welcome you regardless of orientation.

    Also, a note: “Theta” most commonly refers to Kappa Alpha Theta, a member of the National Panhellenic Conference.

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      Because we only had four Greek organizations on campus, we all went by our first letter. It was just a tradition set up a long time ago, I’m not sure why. So when I say Theta, I’m not meaning KAΘ — sorry if that was confusing for the other version of Thetas out there!

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        Gotcha. Cool. According to last count (between Panhellenic, National Pan-Hellenic, fraternity, and multicultural Greek organizations), my school’s at 56. Not including any sort of Greek-lettered honor societies.

        Four sounds much less complicated.

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          For sure! I was “straight” in college but several of my sisters were in relationships with women. I think we also had the reputation of being the weirdest sorority on campus. Not sure if anyone else is on A/S though. I’m glad you asked, because I’ve always wondered how many queer Alpha Gams are out there…it seems like both chapters I’ve been involved with have attracted remarkably similar people.

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          I’m another queer Alpha Gam! Although I ended up deactivating after my sophomore year (the monetary and time commitments were too high), I never had a problem being out. I was never out to the whole house by any means, but a large chunk of the people I hung out with knew. Even though I never faced any homophobia, Greek Life (at my school at least) tends to be pretty heteronormative, which I guess I was also frustrated about, and I kind of felt like no one else completely understood my issue with it (the only other queer girl I knew of was a senior when I was a freshman, who I didn’t get to know until the end of the year — after she graduated, I don’t know of any other queer sisters besides myself).

          But at the end of the day, I think AGD was definitely a good place to be queer in my school’s Greek system.

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    Hansen, I have to say that I disagree with a lot of advice you have given cautioning girls from joining sororities because of their sexual orientation. I joined a sorority as a freshman, before I came out, before I even knew I was gay. I held many of the same fears that you describe. I was afraid that being a lesbian and being in a sorority were mutually exclusive: it was either one or the other. I was afraid that my sisters would not accept me. I was terrified about what they would think if I were romantically involved with another sister. All these fears, however, were completely unfounded. Three years later as a senior, I am out and dating a sister in my pledge class. I’m not the only one—in addition to us, there are three other out members in my pledge class alone. Two of them have been openly dating for the past year and a half. My sisters could not be more supportive. As another commenter said, it was these people who helped me become comfortable with myself and be able to come out. Each sorority and each university is different. I cannot say that my experience necessarily translates out to every other university. However, if you’re trying to decide whether or not to join a sorority, there is hope! Don’t immediately discard the idea simply because of your sexuality. You can be a happy out lesbian or bi woman and be in a sorority. Make the decision based on whether you get along with the members of a specific sorority, not because of common stereotypes perpetuated by the media.

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        I don’t believe so… Perhaps I read it wrong, but it appears that you specifically advised against joining a national sorority (and not just for the dues piece, which I am 100% in agreement with): “I recommend looking for a non-nationally affiliated sorority, unless your fraternity or sorority is dedicated solely to the LGBT community. ” Could you clarify exactly what you mean by this?

        I just think its important that there is a visible queer presence in already established sororities to show younger girls that it is often not necessary to found a separate group, specifically for queer women. (Provided, of course, that there are actually sororities in existence which for you didnt’t seem to be the case). In fact, it could be counterproductive to create a “lesbian sorority” (which is what I’m interpreting you mean by the quote I mentioned above). That would rather reinforce the misconception that you can’t happen to be gay and happen to be in a sorority as well. GSA-type organizations are obviously important and I agree with you on recommending joining them. However, I believe they serve a different purpose than sororities.

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    I guess I should probably chime into this long-awaited article. First off, I was 18 in that picture and look horrible. I apologize to anyone looking at that photo.

    So, I could write my own whole post about my experience at Concordia (maybe I should?), but I’ll be brief. On the other hand, on the other hand, tradition…

    I had a much different experience as a lesbian at Concordia, especially as a Jewish lesbian in a conservative, Christian college. I ended up transferring after two years to NYU, which is probably the most Jewish, queerest, largest college I could choose (and the total opposite of Concordia.)

    I personally felt very attacked for being gay at Concordia. I had recently come out, never had a girlfriend, and didn’t know any other lesbians/queer women. During my second weekend at Concordia, I was told that homosexuality is a sin and can be cured. I was ostracized for being Jewish and told I was not going to go to heaven. People didn’t respect my religious beliefs.

    I did find community in Theta during my freshman year. However, during my sophomore year, I felt that people had turned against me. I lost friends and felt I didn’t fit in, which is really hard when I didn’t feel like I fit in at Concordia as a whole. When I transferred, I lost touch with most of Theta- I was defriended on Facebook and blocked on Twitter. I was kicked out of the Theta Facebook group. There are probably good reasons for this, and I might receive hate mail because of this comment.

    NYU has a very small greek scene, and I never took part of it. I love NYU with all my heart- it was the right school for me socially, academically, and I fit in. I pretend I never went to Concordia, and I have very few positive things to say about it. I am grateful for Concordia as a stepping stone to get me to NYU. So, thank you.

    To Sarah: hugs.

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      Rachel, was it after I graduated that you had this experience? I’m so glad you like NYU better, Concordia certainly has its religious bigots, and I’m so sorry you felt ostracized because of your religion. That’s never okay. I hope you never felt that way in Theta when we were all there — and the Facebook thing is just ridiculous and infuriating. In a small school, it is often difficult to break out of the cliques find community, and I hope in some way Theta helped you with that the way Theta helped me.

      Also you look great in that picture so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  8. Thumb up 3

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    Ahhh! I knew AS would write something about Greek life eventually. Thanks for this!

    I was in a sorority through all four years of college, and I have some mixed feelings about it. On one hand, my “sisters” (I kind of hate calling them that) are my best friends. They’re the ones I’ll always be able to count on, probably for the rest of my life. They absolutely DROWNED me with love and support when I came out to them after graduation. If not for joining, I don’t know if I would have developed such strong bonds and a deep sense of community. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

    On the other hand, I think that participating in Greek life pushed me further into the closet. Not to suggest that the Greek community at my school was homophobic – it actually wasn’t at all. One girl in my house was bisexual and openly dated women, to which no one batted an eye. Several friends of mine came out to their fraternity brothers and were completely embraced. However, there was this pronounced heterosexist emphasis on socializing with fraternities. Most of our activities revolved around it.

    I wasn’t afraid that my sorority wouldn’t accept me if I came out, but I felt extremely pressured to “fit in” so that I could relate to these people I was surrounded by every day. I only began to feel this way after joining; before I joined, in the beginning of my freshman year, I contemplated coming out. Then I went Greek, and suddenly I feared becoming an outcast. In retrospect, I’m sure they would have made efforts to accomodate me, so to speak, but I think I still would have felt pretty alientated.

  9. Thumb up 7

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    I’ve really enjoyed this article and am SO excited we’re talking about this on Autostraddle. I’m a student at a huge SEC school (Mizzou..what’s up!) where 25% of student are a member of Greek Life and PHA chapters have over 200 women a piece. I never thought I’d get involved in it based on stereotypes and how overall Greek Life is exclusionary towards the queer community.

    BUT somehow I found a sorority that accepted me, and all my queerness (as someone who frequently dresses in a gender non-conforming manner). Since joining I’ve been ritual director, Vice President(therefore new member educator) and founder of a professional development committee. I have brought OUTreach panels to our meetings from the LGBTQ Resource Center on campus and have spoken about my own coming out experience to the chapter. My girlfriend has been to multiple date parties and formals and more of my sisters know (and love) her than she can remember their names. Our local, and national, bylaws include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause which can not be said for even the majority of Greek letter organizations.

    I actively work towards queer acceptance in the Greek community and can only hope more people can have the amazing experience I have as a sister in my sorority. Let’s keep talking about this so we can change our Greek community to embrace queer people of all identities!

  10. Thumb up 2

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    I joined Kappa Delta at a state school in California and overall loved the people I met because of it.

    They sold me on their promise of acceptance and they truly differed from the other major sororities. I suppose I got lucky that I had a positive experience while being in one. Had they not been so wonderful I had seriously considered starting my own lgbt coed fraternity.

    Regardless of your preconceived notions of what sororities are, I say just meet the girls and if they’re genuine then give it a try!

  11. Thumb up 3

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    I think Greek life varies widely depending on the overall culture of the school, so a blanket statement either for or against joining a Greek organization isn’t really an effective argument. My school is a super liberal small college in the Northeast that has a small Greek life, parts of which are very open to the LGBT community. I’m a member of the Alpha Delta Phi Society (the co-ed society, not the fraternity), where a significant portion of our membership identifies as queer. We’re not known as a “queer frat” on campus, though; if anything, we tend to be called the nerdy frat, which we’re totally fine with! Of course, your mileage may vary if you’re at a big school somewhere, where the Greek system adheres more to what we traditionally think of as fraternity/sorority life.

    I may be in a unique situation due to the large queer community at my school and our liberal student body, but I don’t think that queer women “have” to join an LGBT-affiliated organization if they want to join one at all. You just have to do your homework, get to know the people involved, and determine if you feel comfortable in that environment – just as you would if you were not queer and thinking of rushing.

  12. Thumb up 0

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    Doesn’t the Greek PAC support horrible people who hate us? I mean, its all nice and good individuals/chapters are accepting but if the political arm isn’t…?

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      Hmm interesting point. The PAC does support candidates, but with a bipartisan approach. They have financially supported three sorority women representing both parties who made it into house/senate. Now they are working on a bill that would give more protection and financial support for fraternity and sorority houses, and I believe more independence from campus requirements.
      Then again, politicians can be hard to trust.

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    So glad to hear that there are so many other sorority members out there who are also lesbian! I joined a sorority my freshman year before I even realized I was gay, happily my sorority is very accepting and has other members who are either lesbian or extremely supportive of LGBTQ rights. I have never been anything like the stereotypical “sorority girl”, but it’s affirming to know that there are more of us out there who break the mold!

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    YAY! This article! I went to a private conservative christian college in MI & found a lovely little queer friendly sorority! We’ve been around since ’57, and in the 80s actually had a “big split” in the sorority and many people left b/c the sorority was letting lesbians join.
    I love this article b/c anytime I tell someone in the real world that I was in a sorority they don’t understand why or how. Then I usually explain that we were like the Zetas in House Bunny before they were changed & if they’ve seen the movie they get it.

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    oh hansen. i have SO MANY FEELINGS about greek life / queerness. i don’t think i’m in the right emotional state to verbalize my feelings this evening, but thanks for forcing me to start thinking about it…i want to come back and talk about this more. thank you for writing this <3

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    “Concordia is an LCMS-affiliated college, which means it belongs to the most conservative branch of Lutheranism.”

    As someone who was raised LCMS before my parents’ divorce, I wanted to point this actually isn’t the case – Wisconsin Synod (the one to which Michele Bachmann belongs) is more conservative.

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    I’m glad Autostraddle has an article about Greek life, but honestly, I think it’s more about the school and the specific sorority than about whether it is a national organization, whether it has a non-discrimination policy, etc.

    I went to an engineering college in Chicago and joined a national sorority. Our dues were less than the local sorority by $150 per semester. Why? One reason is that nationals provided some of our programming. The bigger reason is that my sorority was nationally dry. No alcohol in the building is a HUGE insurance savings, which translates to a huge savings in dues.

    On many of the other points I agree, Greek life isn’t for everyone, gay or straight, and if you realize this, depledge/leave. It works out best in the long run for all.

    To speak to my sorority experience, I loved it. When I joined, I didn’t even know gay was a thing that you could be. By the end of my freshman year, with the support of some of my sisters, I worked it out. I went on to be our president my sophomore year. I love my chapter, and it was an important part of my college experience.

    tldr; Judge sororities on an individual basis, not on an ‘is this national?’ basis. The people matter more than the organization.

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      I completely agree with Lisa. I don’t think the decision to join/not join a sorority should be based on an organization’s national/non-national status or even how much it costs. The decision should be based on the people in the chapter you are joining and whether you fit in with them or not (because you will inevitably be spending a lot of time with these particular people).

      Every college is different, and even a national sorority can be extremely different from chapter to chapter. I went to said engineering school, and met my lesbro (above), some amazing straight allies, and enlightened some sisters about LGBT issues. We even brought up the conversation of trans* issues and what “defines” a woman to our Nationals (which already had a policy about not discriminating based on sexual preference).

      Hansen, kudos to you for realizing that the currently established sorority wasn’t a good fit and being able to start your own. That’s amazing (and I love your letters)! But it stresses the point that choosing to participate in the Greek system is a very individual decision that depends on a lot of complicated factors.

      Thank you for writing a piece to allow Straddlers to have this conversation.

  18. Thumb up 1

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    This article has made me sorority-curious now. This wasn’t a thing in Malaysia or Australia (I think the closest Oz has are the residential colleges??), and my current SF school is so small and so hippie that you’re more likely to find a budding ashram than a budding sorority.

    I looked up open-to-anyone kind of sororities and found some for lesbians of colour, though some of the requirements bugged me out a bit (“be a real lady!” err…)

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    You guys, reading the title i only concentrated on the words “Greek life” and thought “wah-hey! We have a Greek first person blogger??”

    Interestingly (or not so!) enough we do not have Greek sororities in Greek universities. I did however think about creating a LGBT group at some point, but that plan fell through, shortly after it’s inception, due to boredom/lack of interest. Same condition applied to my education. :P

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    I’m a sorority sister on a traditionally christian campus (we share a campus with the theological seminary)but I’ve never caught any flack for being being queer at least not from sisters, the fraternity boys are more uncomfortable and make some questionable jokes or comments, but there are gay brothers too so for the most part its a non issue. I guess it just depends on where you are and who you choose to pledge, but all my sisters are super supportive and even come to GSA meetings with me.

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    I joined a NPC sorority and have been dating my fellow sorority sister for three years now….we graduated this spring and moved to Chicago together…. I am so glad I found my soul mate in my sorority (not saying it’s good for everyone…it just worked for us)…… I went on being the Panhellenic President (the governing board of all the sororities on campus) so our relationship was very public in Greek Life. Our Greek community in Vermont is super gay friendly (in my experience) and we had so many events collaborating with our schools LGBT community on campus. Even when our relationship hit a rough patch last year it was great to have a community of sisters as a support system for both of us.

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    I am not in a sorority- I go to a very small all women’s college that is basically a sorority in and of itself, so I actually relate to this article much more than I relate to most of the other articles about college. I’m glad that Rachel posted her comment, because I feel much the same way that she does. While there is a very active GSA at my school, it is a very small portion of the students and faculty and when contrasted with the fact that the other 90% of the population here is homophobic, it’s not enough to combat how attacked I would feel if I ever came out to the general population of the school. It’s part of living in the South- people were raised to be homophobic, so even the people that claim they are not, usually are and will make hurtful comments or worse all while claiming to be accepting. Unless you go way out of your way to seek and find TRULY accepting people, you won’t, you will find bigots. Even if you do go out of your way you might find bigots. It’s very difficult and frustrating and I wish that there were more stories on here about living life in the closet. Because for some of us who don’t want to lose our families and friends and sense of safety, that is our reality and I think it has just as much validation as anything else. And unfortunately, it would take moving across the country and leaving all that I love to live somewhere that would be different in that regard. I would like to know that there are others like me who are still actively struggling. I’m tired of reading stories about lesbians who magically overcame and were all queer and happy. My life is the total opposite of that, and I doubt that I’m the only one.

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    I can totally relate to this post. I went to Truman State University, a small school in Missouri. They have a lot of the big name sororities (AGD, EEE, EK, ASA), and my junior year I looked into joining one of them because I wanted the friend base and support group they offer. AGD seemed like a good fit (gay-friendly), however, Truman has a local sorority/sisterhood that is unaffiliated with PanHel. So I joined BOB. It was honestly the best decision I made while an undergraduate. BOB is kind of known as “the lesbian sorority” on campus, so I already knew it would be queer friendly. Beyond that, though, the sisterhood was really supportive, and I recommend to anyone joining a sorority if they feel that the environment is accepting and open. Often, you’ll meet a lot of great people, most of whom are looking for what you are: a group of solid friends.

    Thanks for posting this. I was wondering if/when Autostraddle would have something about Greek Life.

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    I have been talking to my Greek Life Office about creating a nongendered Greek house at my school. We have a couple of houses dying out, and I thought it would be really cool to have a non-binary house. I hate gendered housing for all the reasons (and all of the rules that tell me I can go in the rooms at my adopted frat but my bros can’t go upstairs in their gf’s house?)… But the process is difficult and hard. Wish me luck in space queering!

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