US sorority members quit en masse to support transgender student

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Nearly half of the members of a US sorority have left the group to protest the mistreatment of a transgender student.

Alpha Omicron Pi’s national organisation attempted to block the branch at Tufts University from allowing a trans woman membership once they heard she had been invited.

The sorority has since allowed the student to take the pledge – but those who walked out say the damage has already been done.

Alpha Omicron Pi’s former chapter president Kristin Reeves said that the national organisation did not want them to offer the trans student a bid.

“They were like, ‘well, we’re not saying you never could, we’re just saying right now you can’t,'” Reeves explained.

“I was really mad about this, as was the rest of the chapter, so we unanimously decided to give her a bid anyway.”

Reeves said that once they had offered a bid to the trans student, the national chapter warned it could invite legal programs. A federal law in the United States, known as Title IX, prevents single-sex educational organisations – though sororities and fraternities are exempt.

Initially concerned that allowing a trans woman would violate the Title IX exemption, the organisation finally ruled they will anyone who identifies as female.

Members of the Tufts chapter however had already begun to leave, questioning the values of a sorority who would not recognise a transgender sister. Ms Reeves, along with 46 other members of the group walked away from their pledges.

“Because of all these conversations about – are they really not gonna allow us to accept a transgender woman – then this like kind of veiled threat of would we get our charter pulled? Whats going on there? It kind of started a conversation about ‘do our values align with AOII international?” Reeves said.

“I left because I’m not participating in a system like that. I refuse to take part in it, and by staying, for me, it would be allowing it to happen.”

The trans student thanked the other student for their support in an op-ed for the university’s student paper.

“We are friends, we are allies, we are sisters.”

OIP Staff


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