By Ngoc “Oriflamme” Doan, Contributing Writer
In the beginning of June I reached out to sorority sisters on Facebook to connect with our LGBT+ community. I didn’t get any responses––mostly likes. I started to become discouraged of not being able to connect to the LGBT+ community within Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. Surely, I can’t be the only one. That’s not possible. I wanted to celebrate Pride Month with sisters from around the nation in some way.
Pride Month is a very festive, colorful and glorious month for people in the LGBT+ community. People go out and express their truest selves with no shame, just love. While it’s not perfect, people today have less to worry about when it comes to their identity compared to people only five or ten years ago.
From the 1960’s to the 70’s, establishments did not openly accept LGBT+ individuals. If they did, those establishments would be immediately shut down by the government. The only notable places that would allow gay people were bars, and often times, these bars were ran by crime syndicates and eventually succumbed to police raids. However, a notable bar that openly accepted gay people was the Stonewall Inn in New York. Usually, the bar would get a tip that a raid was coming, but one time they didn’t. On morning of June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided. People fought and were arrested, which escalated the situation to riots in the streets. These riots are often revered as one of the most notable events in LGBT+ history in the United States.
Same-sex marriage was legalized across all 50 states on June 26, 2015. It was a monumental moment for civil rights in the United States. Despite this change, a person can still be discriminated against and fired in the workplace in 13 states. “Pride” is how we celebrate our past and be motivated to move forward to better our lives. Because in the past, LGBT+ individuals were not allowed to be who they are.
Delta Phi Lambda’s policies dictate that anyone who identifies as women is able to join the sorority. This includes transgendered persons. This language provides inclusion within communities across the country and a space for sisters within the sorority. Providing representation and more accessible spaces for sisters in the sorority will only reinforce our bonds with each other, truly encompassing the idea of Everlasting Sisterhood.
A few days later, my Facebook post received some replies! I got direct messages from some sisters, and we were able to talk and get to know a little bit about each other. I came in wanting to talk about the LGBT+ experience, but as I talked to other sisters, I found myself wanting to know them as individuals instead. A common thread between all the sisters I talked to was that they were all supported by their collegiate sisters. Many sisters credited their line sisters for being influential to their acceptance and understanding of themselves.
Melissa ”Lejjit“ Olarte, an alumna from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said it beautifully, “Pride, especially when it comes to LGBT pride, to me means enjoying being your real self. It means feeling different, which I think is cool. It means feeling no shame, just love. Love for myself and other LGBT people like me.”
“Pride” doesn’t have to be only a month, it can be celebrated all twelve months of the year. We can take the time to learn and understand those before us, connect with those near and far, and create change for our future.
EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: All personal statements, beliefs, and opinions in this article are subject to the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jade Times and/or Delta Phi Lambda.
Featured Image: Special to The Jade Times.
Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2018, from http://deltaphilambda.org/resources/policies/#nondiscriminatory
History.com Staff. (2017). Stonewall Riots. Retrieved June 19, 2018, from https://www.history.com/topics/the-stonewall-riots
M. (2018, June 20). Obergefell v. Hodges. Retrieved June 19, 2018, from http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/obergefell-v-hodges/