Two fraternities at the University of Oregon announced this month that they are actively recruiting gay, bisexual, and transgender students and will now be considering all male-identified applicants, The Oregonian reported Thursday.
Delta Upsilon and Delta Tau Delta join a handful of fraternities and sororities nationwide that accept transgender members. Last year, both Missouri State University's Xi Omicron Iota sorority and the national fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon announced they would consider transgender members, The Oregonian reported. At Emerson College, a small liberal arts school in Boston, frat brothers from Phi Alpha Tau went beyond acceptance and helped their brother Donnie Collins raise funds for top-surgery. Still, fraternities and sororities are exempt from Title IX regulations requiring equal opportunities for all students and may accept or deny whomever they chose.
Members of both Eugene-based fraternities said they hope their decision inspires other fraternities and sororities to become more accepting.
"Fraternities and sororities are really powerful units for change," said Henry Korman, the vice president of loss prevention for Delta Upsilon. "We have a big presence and influence on campus, and we want the culture to be more inclusive. Frat culture can be very dangerous. We want to change the culture from the inside." The University of Oregon has been a leader when it comes to accomadating transgendger students, allowing for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus and ranking among the top 10 universities for trans students.
According to The Oregonian, Delta Upsilon is itself a vanguard when it comes to challenging typical notions of American frat culture. The group formed with a pledge to fight misogyny, hosting events including a presentation on harmful gender roles. Last fall it rewrote its bylaws to align with inclusive values, accepting "all men of superior character including transgender males."
"Me and a few other guys, we really wanted language that did not exclude transmales," Korman said. "So we changed it to say any self-identified male student. I really wanted to make sure we weren't excluding any men from joining our fraternity." At the other frat house, Delta Tau Delta, several brothers are gay and all members look forward to welcoming transgender students. "There are people in the community who might not have a comfortable place, a social group where they fit in," Alec Malnati, the local president, told the paper. "I'm just really hopeful we can be that place for people."
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