Greek life is meant to be an exciting, empowering part of your college career. When you pledge a Greek organization, your whole college experience changes. You find like-minded people who share the same values that you hold close, and it’s like a home away from home.
The LGBTQ+ community is definitely not excluded from the impactful world that is Greek life. While many mainstream Greek organizations are accepting of potential queer members, there are also organizations specifically created for the LGBTQ+ community.
So for those of you queer women who are still trying to decide whether or not you should rush, here’s your personal guide to LGBTQ+ Greek organizations and why they might be great for you!
Founded: Arizona State University in 2003
Colors: Purple and black
Best known as:“The first lesbian sorority”
How to join: Rush
What makes them stand out: Gamma Rho Lambda distinguishes itself from many other LBT Greek orgs because it is open to women of all gender identities and sexual orientations, as well as tailoring itself specifically to collegiate women.
Garance Merholz from the Zeta Chapter at the University of California, Los Angeles says that GRL not only helped break down the stereotypes she had in mind about Greek life, but also had a huge impact on her college experience.
“GRL has provided me with a circle of people who really understand me and who don't judge me for who I am,” Garance says. “Through them, I have been able to build my own little community and realized that I am part of something bigger, that we can really do something to make the world a more open and compassionate place.”
Founded: Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, in 2006
Colors: Wine, black and opal
Best fit: For masculine-identified lesbians
How to join: Submit a letter of interest
What makes them stand out: This organization is based on their five principles: fraternal sisterhood, political activism, community volunteerism, erudition and professionalism. One of their philanthropies is the Lambda Action Network, a national community service initiative that provides service such as LGBT youth mentoring.
This fraternity isn’t just involved in service, but they’re also down for political activism as well. Another one of their philanthropies is VOICE, a national political outreach initiative that aims to help minority gays and lesbians become respected political alliances.
Founded: University of California, Santa Cruz in 2005
Best known as:“The world’s first frarority”
How to join: Rush
What makes them all stand out: Calling all genderqueer collegiettes! This could be the perfect Greek organization for you. Theta Pi Sigma holds events catering specifically to the LGBTQ+ community, such as Breaking the Silence rallies with LGBTQ+ youth and allies and Sexual Assault Awareness Workshops, where they focus on “queering consent.”
They also all-inclusive community service events, with everything from One Billion Rising events, which set out to spread awareness about ending violence against women, to homeless shelter clothing drives on campus.
Founded: Houston, Texas in 2010
Colors: Royal Purple, Impeccable Turquoise and Onyx
How to join: Submit a membership interest request form
What makes them stand out: Alpha Pi Delta is well known for their philanthropy, the C.A.L.L.A. Lily Academy (the Cultured, Astute, Loving, Leading, Academic Ladies). This seven-week, free summer program is for young ladies ages 7-17 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It is designed to teach the girls ethics and respect, encourage and develop their self-esteem, help them practice proper etiquette, help them develop leadership skills and professional development skills and more.
Founded: Clark Atlanta University in 2003
Colors: Pink, black and pearl
Best fit: For the “professionally sophisticated, classy, feminine lesbian”
How to join: Submit the KALSI interest application
What makes them stand out: KALSI has a five-facet philanthropy program, including civil equality for LGBT people, diversity and tolerance education, health awareness, economic empowerment and leadership preparation and development. This organization of empowered ladies prides itself on being the only LGBT organization to develop a financial education program, arrange a strategy meeting with a state congressional official, and to initiate action in protest of human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan.
Whether or not you decide to rush a Greek-letter organization is your own personal decision, but it’s always exciting to know that you can find an organization with people to whom you relate on a more personal level.
“LGBTQ+ Greek life is still crucial because many people out there are still in search of a safe space and don't even know that they exist,” Garance says. “It is important because it allows individuals to be involved in LGBTQ+ activism while getting educated about things that really matter to them, and meeting real people with real stories. I think Greek life overall is beneficial for college students to find their space and associate with peers who understand them and pursue similar passions.”
While these might not be the mainstream sororities you see on television, they have everything that every Greek organization should: supportive communities where you can potentially find love, support and, most importantly, a new family to call your own.