For years Greek life on college campuses has been frowned upon for its exclusive tendencies and high alcohol consumption; although some students may be attracted to the fraternity and sorority scene for the community aspect, many shy away because of the high anxiety and social competitive nature of the rush progress.
Students looking for a low-key, inclusive, and diverse Greek life experience may turn to the University of Maryland’s first LGBT fraternity, Theta Pi Sigma. Though called a fraternity, as opposed to a sorority, it is gender-neutral and opens its doors to all LGBT members and allies.
“There is a perception in Greek life that you want a certain type of person,” said the president of the university’s Epsilon chapter of Theta Pi Sigma, Aubrey DiBello, as reported by the Diamondback. “We’re celebrating the fact that we’re different.”
Although this fraternity stands out as LGBT, members do not have to identify as such. The doors are open to allies and anyone who doesn’t feel they fit into the norm of typical sorority and fraternity scenes but want to get involved on campus and be a part of a community.
The original chapter was once known as Delta Lambda Psi and was started at the University of Santa Cruz in 2005. 2013 marks the first year Theta Pi Sigma will begin at the University of Maryland and will stand as the fifth LGBT fraternity in the country.
Although some Greek organizations say they are LGBT-friendly, they may not appear to be overtly so. When rushing a sorority there is an overt pressure to fit in so some LGBT individuals may hide their sexual orientation in order to meet the status quo of the group.
Just like any other fraternity, Theta Pi Sigma will host social events as well as commit to philanthropy work. However, their community building work will focus around LGBT causes and they plan to participate in equality marches.
Theta Pi Sigma is still waiting for some pending paperwork to be filled out before they gain official approval, but they have received nothing but support from administrators.