Morehouse College made headlines last week when it was announced that transgender men will be eligible for admission into the all-male HBCU in the fall of 2020. It’s a groundbreaking policy that shows that they are open to understanding how gender identity has evolved. It shows that the 150-year old college has a progressive board of administrators behind them who are focused on trailblazing and are in favor of forward-thinking. Now that this historically black college has made such a change, it makes me wonder if black sororities and fraternities will ever accept trans-people into their organizations.
Sororities are exclusively for biological women and fraternities are for biological men, but it has been a century or just about since most Black Greek Letter Organizations were founded and what it means to be a woman or a man has changed significantly. With transgender women and men having more of a presence in the world, should they be accepted into sororities and fraternities?
When I bring this question to my own sorority sisters, I get mixed reactions and responses. Some have even responded with saying they should establish their own organizations, which they can do. However, why shouldn’t we have a conversation on a national level to discuss offering membership to women who were not born biological women? After all, they are women now, right? As many of these organizations have passed their centennial or are approaching it, I haven’t seen anything dynamic happen outside of their community service. Though community service is one of our core principles, so is sisterhood and brotherhood. Excluding the transgender community without having the conversation about it is not sisterly or brotherly and if we want to continue to spearhead change I think the discussion around having transgender members is needed.
Why should membership only be for biological women or men? That’s not so easy to answer. Yes, there are other organizations transgender people can join that can offer community service opportunities and life-long relationships, but that doesn’t justify BGLOs not considering opening their arms to them.