On Thursday, we told you about allegations that a fraternity at the University of Texas allegedly bans “interracial dating”, Mexicans and “fagetry." And last year, another fraternity at UT was suspended by the school for anti-gay discrimination.
Perhaps that helps explain the need for UT's newly formed colony of Gamma Rho Lambda, the LGBTQ-inclusive national sorority, which was launched this semester. The Daily Texan student newspaper reported this week:
The sorority aims to combat issues regarding the status of queer women in mainstream society and within the LGBT community, Lauren Ferguson, president of the colony and art history and English senior, said. As part of the three-semester colonization process, the organization’s leaders recruited nine members this semester for the Alpha class and will start taking pledges in the fall.
Founding members hope the colony will create a space to improve the quality of dialogue between the LGBT community and social conservatives, according to neuroscience and psychology senior Shelby Dax Fisher-Garibay, the sorority’s new member mother — a type of recruitment leader.
”I think the biggest thing we can do is education,” Fisher-Garibay said. “If we are educated about what the [conservative] opinions are and the best responses to those arguments, then, hopefully, we can bring a more educational dialogue to the table instead of just hateful banter back and forth.”
In addition to educating social conservatives, the Gamma Rho Lambda chapter will work to combat transphobia within the LGBTQ community:
“There are a lot of really awesome women’s or LGBT organizations [on campus], but they are either really specifically for, say, LGBT women of color or they are non-trans-inclusive,” Ferguson said. “One of the tenants of [Gamma Rho Lambda] is that no one is excluded, and the only requirement is that you identify as a woman. A lot of the feminism movement and the LGBT community does not want to include trans-women into the queer spectrum because there is a lot of transphobia within [those communities] as well.”
UT has had a chapter of the LGBTQ fraternity Delta Lambda Phi since 2008. The Gamma Rho Lambda chapter will be one of 17 chapters and colonies nationwide, according to the sorority's website.
Sadly, the Gamma Rho Lambda colony has already received hate mail. And representatives from the school's fraternity and sorority councils didn't respond to The Daily Texan's requests for comment.
From KEYE-TV's report on the Gamma Rho Lambda colony:
“We're still having issues on campus with racism. It's easy to think we live in a society where issues like that aren't the norm, but they kind of still are,” says Lauren Ferguson. The women say feedback on campus has been more positive than negative, but they know their new sorority will face challenges. “Unfortunately that's the nature of the beast, but that just goes to show how necessary we still are,” she adds.
The women say feedback on campus has been more positive than negative, but they know their new sorority will face challenges.
“Unfortunately that's the nature of the beast, but that just goes to show how necessary we still are,” she adds.
Watch KEYE-TV's report, AFTER THE JUMP …