Are you part of the LGBTQIA+ community? Are you thinking about rushing? I was once in your shoes, and even did rush. Well, here’s something to think about: the Greek Life community is not exactly “welcoming” to us. In fact, we’re not even meant to be in this space as it is made by and for straight cis people. I am not saying do not rush, as I love the friends I have made and the community I have carved for myself in this institution. It is just also necessary to think it through, and to be aware of some things going on that might make you feel less than comfortable.
Greek life is notoriously white, cis, and straight, both in body size and sexuality. I fit into one of those four categories. When I rushed, I was quiet when I was asked about myself. I didn’t want to share about my trans sister, who I am so proud of, and I did not want to share that I myself am also part of the LGBTQ+ community. Already the outlying fat girl, I didn’t want to expose myself as different in any other way. I am an out and proud person, and I was immediately silenced with conformity.
Most college aged people are super supportive ad accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but the pure hetero and cisnormativity of Greek Life attracts an exponentially larger number of homophobic and transphobic people. Even the sentiments of the few people who are accepting are often clouded with ignorance. I am surrounded by problematic girls such as a roommate who desperately tried to relate to my experience by telling me about her one lesbian encounter at Dublin Pride, where she, a straight, cis girl, went with all her straight, cis friends. I had someone try to prove their “wokeness” by calling me a faggot. I had someone say that the leadership team does not need to say that girls can bring girls to date parties as dates, as it doesn’t apply to enough people.
As I said before, Greek Life as an institution is built by and for straight people. Sororities can’t throw parties, thus enforcing some gender dichotomies where men must “care” for women, in this case with alcohol. Fraternities throw mixers, in which the frat throws the party and sorority girls engage in some sort of mating ritual in which they get very drunk and hook up with a fraternity boy (never mind the concept of consent), and then are bullied for embracing their sexuality as straight women. While this happens, LGBTQ+ women and men are put in uncomfortable situations where the opportunity for any sort of hook up or relationship is completely out of the question, not talked about, and disapproved of.
Some fraternities and sororities have been created to be historically queer or to be accepting of queer people. These groups, however, do not exist here at the University of Michigan. Moreover, these groups enforce gender roles, and exclude nonbinary and trans people, making me think about the LGB activist group who was not only trans exclusionary, but also transphobic. Now, we don’t have this here, so I can’t speak too much on it, but these my initial thoughts.
So, that’s that. If you are LGBTQ+ and decide to rush, I hope your experience is positive, and that you find the friends and community you are searching for.