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New LGBT sorority should be welcomed

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | AUGUST 31, 2012 6:30 AM

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At the beginning of the fall semester, the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership sent out an email trying to gather students who may be interested in starting a new sorority comprising lesbian, bisexual, and progressive women. Contents of the email included that this sorority would select its members based “solely on an individual’s character and commitment.”

With approximately 40 different Greek organizations on campus including Delta Lambda Phi, an international fraternity for gay, bisexual, and progressive men, it is puzzling that there has not been a similar organization for women. The new sorority should be welcomed into the community.

“I think it’s great that they’re introducing this to our campus,” said President of Sigma Lambda Beta Martin Lopez. “As president of Sigma Lambda Beta, I’ve worked with many brothers who are homosexuals,” Lopez said. “They’re great people, and I think this organization will be a great addition to our campus.”

Although the university has organizations and other resources for persons who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender such as the LGBT Resource Center and the Women’s Resource and Action Center, the value they have on any student’s life is significantly different from the value a social organization such as a sorority or fraternity would have. Linda Stewart Kroon, the WRAC director, said, “WRAC is not a sorority. It is a department in Student Life. We do a variety of activities, but they are different from the activities of a sorority.”

Quite a number of students involved in greek organizations have expressed to Kroon that their organizations serve as a home away from home. By being a part of these organizations, students are finding a way to make friends, which can often be very difficult for some persons on such a huge campus such as the UI; they connect with others by working together on projects that interest them.

Unfortunately, homophobia is a major issue that hinders the possibility of creating intimate friendships among sorority members. How could a potentially homophobic home be a happy home? Our university should always work to improve campus life by making students of all backgrounds feel comfortable, and this is what the sorority provides.

Margaret Vohs, the president of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, said this is especially relevant for LGBT students. Inclusive living communities such as sororities or dorm floors are important and necessary steps in providing these students with support systems as well as creating a greater sense of equality in the university’s structure. When more than half the American population knows someone that identifies as gay or lesbian, according to a poll from Gallup, it is imperative that we try to accommodate and accept all who belong to this minority group.


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