Nyna Nickelson | Correspondent
When you think of a sorority what picture does your mind create? Perhaps an organization that values community outreach and philanthropy; maybe a group that consist of members who not only look like you but come from similar backgrounds.
Regardless the picture, the first word that pops up in the minds of most is sisterhood.
The hermanas (sisters) of the Rho Chapter of Lambda Pi Chi or Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad have taken sisterhood to new heights on our campus by creating a space that promotes inclusivity and diversity. In partnership with the Assistant Director of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Center at NC State, Natalie Nguyen, Lambda Pi Chi is the first NC State organization to be Trans-Inclusive and Chapter Safe.
“For me Chapter Safe was a very good and welcoming experience…it was something that I knew about but I did know the specifics. I feel like it was very eye opening and educational, especially now as our organization is welcoming anyone who identifies as a woman,” said Beatrice Paneto, secretary of Lambda Pi Chi.
Chapter Safe is the brainchild of Natalie Nguyen; it entails a certification process that is meant to break down barriers between populations and to help organizations to create safe spaces for all. Chapter Safe is a two hour workshop that uses scenarios to help build awareness and openness.
“The whole reason why I created it [Chapter Safe] was I noticed there was a huge divide between the people who were GLBT identified versus those who were in fraternity and sorority life. And what does it mean if there is someone already in fraternity and sorority life who identifies as GLBT or vice versa if there is someone who is GLBT who wants to be involved in fraternity and sorority life,” said Nguyen.
This is a huge step toward a more diverse atmosphere within Greek life on campus and one that is more inclusive of the NCSU transgender population. Lambda Pi Chi has opened its sisterhood to include all who identify as female. Lambda Pi Chi is not Latina exclusive, meaning that the organization is open to everyone and now has made the conscious choice to become Trans-inclusive and Chapter Safe.
Gabrielle Diaz, President of Lambda Pi Chi, said, “We decided that [this] was a great notion to make with today’s given society and how things have been changing just to become more inclusive…after this we decided to become Chapter Safe and Natalie was a great way to make that possible.”
“I’m hoping that us being the first sorority to become Trans-inclusive this will encourage other fraternities and sororities to follow the same path, but it is kind of hard because I know that with Interfraternity Council (IFC) with them having houses campus I don’t think that would be anytime soon,” said Diaz.
Lambda Pi Chi has made a notable stride in acknowledging NCSU’s transgender population and fostering a sisterhood that is accepting and welcoming. Though it would be difficult for many sororities and fraternities with on campus housing to implement Trans-inclusive policies, that does not mean that they cannot push to become Trans inclusive.
Now when you picture a sorority, imagine sisterhood that could exist by implementing a diverse and inclusive safe space for all.