Men Interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha: Where I Think MIAKA Goes Wrong

June 11, 2012  |  

Source: lovemyblack.com

According to the site, Kollege Kids:

“There may be a big lawsuit in preparation against the oldest and most renowned sorority founded for African American women. Men interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, also known as MIAKAs, are threatening to file a lawsuit against Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a sorority founded at Howard University on Jan. 15, 1908. The group of men, whom all are homosexual, are alleging homophobia and gender discrimination by the sorority.”

There is not much about the MIAKA out there except a few pictures posted mostly on blogs and online message boards. In these photos, you see these men donning the pink and green, signature colors of the organization, wearing AKA paraphernalia and doing the signature “Ske-Wee.” But from what I gather, the group in question has established themselves at Prairie View University, a HBCU in Houston, Texas, sometime around 2005. The group is said to be rogue chapter of MiAKA Inc., which really stands for Men Interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha. MiAKA Inc., acts as a support auxiliary for the sorority, much in the same way that Alpha Angels Inc., Omega GEMS, Kappa Sweethearts, Sigma Rhomeos Inc., Delta BEUAX Inc. and so on work to support those fraternities and sororities.  However, real members of MiAKA Inc., according to the message boards, strongly contend that they do not support or condone the MIAKA chapter at Prairie View.

No lawsuit has been officially filed as of yet.  MIAKA has no official website (that I know of) or leader to speak on nor confirm this issue. So right now the story seems to be all speculation. However, MIAKA is real. And this story raises all sorts of questions about the intersection of gender, sexuality and inclusion. It seems that the same sort of national conversation on gender identity, which found its way at the steps of the Girls Scouts, the Ladies Professional Golf Association and the Miss Universe Pageant, now has landed on the yards of black Greek-letter sororities and fraternities. And while the authenticity of this lawsuit can not be fully confirmed, the reality is that it may not be too long until we start having to have this conversation. And there is no better time than the present. So in the interest of creating dialog: would it be homophobic and discriminatory for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., to deny homosexual men membership into their sorority or are these guys barking up the wrong Ivy vine?

I am not a black Greek. In fact, the only colors I wave with pride are the red, the black and the green, so I don’t have a horse in this race. But personally, I am leaning towards the latter. While I can sort of understand their reasons for wanting to challenge the status quo of gender-specific organizations, I find their quest for acceptance a bit misguided.  For one, from what I have read, none of these men, while gay, identifies with being women. They are not transgendered or even women, who love the same sex.  In fact, I would be more sympathetic and willing to side with them if these were transgendered women. But to claim homophobia, or even gender discrimination against a sorority doesn’t quite jive with me.

I don’t think members of the AKA organization are upset with these young men for trying to have a group of their own to identify. This is less about discrimination than it is about appropriation, peppered in with a little misogyny.  The reality of a male-centered society is that women do not have a significant political or social identity or existence outside of the realm of what men have decided as appropriate definitions and actions of women.  Thus, women-centered circles, such as sororities, which were created in response to women being excluded from the male fraternities, help to create a space on college campuses where women can bond, network and assist each other for a common goal.  This is especially true of black Greek-letter sororities, who established themselves not just in response to male fraternities but because of their exclusion from the historically white sororities as well.

Yet these men, while gay but certainly still men, have taken to adopting the colors, symbols and other paraphernalia of the AKAs, which is not only tantamount to theft but also disrespectful to the historical identity that this women’s group has fought hard to establish.  And while these men probably don’t see their actions as insolent–in fact, I’m willing to guess that they truly love the AKA organization – you have to ask yourselves, if this was truly a matter of inclusiveness, why not direct their angst at the fraternities as well?

There are a number of LGBT black Greek-letter organizations all over this country. For example, there’s Omicron Epsilon Pi Sorority, Inc., the nations first Greek letter organization catering to the needs of black lesbian women, and Delta Phi Upsilon Fraternity, Inc, whose mission is to improve the public stature of same gender loving people by supporting a progressive interest in the social and civic welfare. There is, indeed, a need for such organizations because, just like the rest of society, there are folks within these sororities/fraternities organizations that do not openly embrace the GLBT community.  In that spirit, I have lots of appreciation for the MiAKAs, who just want to be accepted and celebrated for who and what they are, and also support the AKAs when they can. However, I also believe that this rouge MiAKA chapter would probably blaze more trails, if they would, in addition to fighting for inclusion of our GLBT brothers and sisters into these organizations, help the existing black LGBT Greek letter organizations establish more chapters on black college campuses as well as take their rightful place among the Divine Nine.

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