Alpha Chi Omega sorority has opened membership to transgender women at the national level. The UGA chapter has been silent on the matter thus far.
The national branch of Alpha Chi Omega announced via a video statement released on the sorority’s Facebook page that it will allow “all who identify as women” to join the organization. The organization says it will continue to choose women based on the same criteria it has in the past, but some transgender students and advocates see this as a step forward for transgender rights.
“I think it’s a very big step to officially welcome transgender women into a traditionally gender-policed space,” said Mars Hallman, a transgender student at UGA.
Hallman himself is a member of the Phi Sigma Pi fraternity. Phi Sigma Pi the only UGA fraternity that is gender inclusive, meaning it is open to all students regardless of their gender identity. Hallman says he is proud of Alpha Chi Omega’s announcement.
“It feels like a sign that we’re not alone being a Greek [organization] that does support all of it’s members and all of it’s initiates equally,” Said Hallman.
Hallman has one caveat for other sororities and fraternities on campus considering the same change.
“The language of womanhood should already include transgender women,” said Hallman.
Laura Pontari, a UGA graduate student and former Alpha Chi Omega member, has a similar perspective.
“As a sorority, we are an organization of women supporting women and if you are discriminatory against a woman based off of her birth gender, then you’re going against the purpose of the organization,” said Pontari.
The UGA chapter of AXO has yet to speak on the matter. They are referring all inquiries to their national headquarters, which also has declined to be interviewed. Hallman thinks this could be a positive sign.
“I think its always good when cisgender– meaning identifying with their gender assigned at birth, do stop and think about the language they’re going to use especially when talking about gender policed spaces,” said Hallman.
The UGA chapter of Alpha Chi Omega hasn’t indicated when or if it will make a statement on their national chapter’s announcement.
By: Grace Holland