By Kristine “Aster” Medina, Editor-in-Chief

The Board of Directors of Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. released a national update for the organization’s non-discriminatory policy yesterday, addressing transgender membership.

The updated non-discriminatory policy states: “Delta Phi Lambda is fully committed to a policy against legally impermissible, arbitrary, or unreasonable discriminatory practices or procedures and complies with the Civil Rights Act and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1983. In the selection of our members, we offer this opportunity to all women and transgender persons who identify themselves as women without regard to race, color, national origin, age, religion, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability. Males are excluded from seeking membership, as provided by Title IX, 20 U.S.C. §1681(a)(6)(A), which pertains to social fraternities and sororities. However, membership status will not be affected for initiated members who have transitioned and identify as trans-masculine or gender non-conforming. Our organization will be mindful of each potential member’s personal situations that may conflict with sorority activities provided that these situations are communicated in a timely manner with the current members of our organization and as such, those potential members will not be barred from the opportunity for membership due to those circumstances beyond their control. As an organization that strives for Asian awareness through sisterhood, we exemplify and appreciate the value of diversity and express respect for each individual for what they offer.”

Discussions regarding transgender membership and Title IX from the greater fraternal community and a chapter’s correspondence about a male student interested in membership inspired the Board to take action and consider transparency and inclusion through an updated non-discriminatory policy.

“We are excited to announce that we have updated our non-discriminatory policy to include verbiage addressing transgender membership,” the Board said in an email to members. “We are proud to be the first [National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA)] organization to nationally address more transparency and inclusiveness in our membership.”

The director of risk reduction, Pamela Pedersen, has recently worked on updating all organizational policies, which reminded Wilma Miranda, national president, about further addressing membership through the non-discriminatory policy. Miranda then spoke to Pedersen about the idea for an updated policy and provided her with resources to include transgender membership.

Miranda and Pedersen reached out to other members as resources to develop the idea. They contacted Hannah Seoh, former national president and current NAPA executive chair, for guidance and additional resources. Phillipe Cunningham, a DePaul University alumnus, was contacted to help the organization find the best words to convey its message because of his expertise and personal experience.

“The updated policy supports our mission of empowering women leaders by allowing us to be more inclusive with our membership,” Miranda said. “It also allows us to respect our members who transition after being initiated into our organization.”

For questions and more information, contact the Board at bod@deltaphilambda.org.

 


Featured Image: Special to The Jade Times