by Guest Contributor Monica Roberts, originally published at Transgriot
I was checking out the recent story of transman Devin Alston-Smith and the drama that ensued between him and his local Zeta chapter.
It made me recall a March 2007 post I wrote in which I asked the question are the Divine Nine frats and sororities ready to accept qualified transgender people into their ranks.
Judging by some of the negative responses posted in the comment thread of that story, there’s a lot of Trans 101 education that needs to happen with some peeps in the Black Greek Letter Organization (BGLO) world. But before y’all start bumrushing the comment threads assuming I’m going to defend Devin, hear me out first.
I and many of my transsisters and transbrothers have much love, respect, and admiration for the history, traditions and the historic roles that BGLO’s have played in uplifting our race and shaping our communities. I have female family members, female friends and my late godmother who are proud members of their respective historic Black sororities. I look up to them and many of the women in these organizations as role models in terms of my own Black feminine evolution.
But what happened to Devin wasn’t cool, nor is Devin off the hook either. It’s called Zeta Phi Beta SORORITY, Inc. for a reason, and there is the reasonable expectation that if you’re going to pledge ZPB or any sorority you at least be female bodied.
I’m Monday morning quarterbacking here at this point, so I don’t know what Devin’s state of mind was at the time he was asked to pledge or any of the other stuff that went on outside of what’s documented in the article. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, there are hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and ZPB will handle their business as always and sort things out.
But if Devin was contemplating transition, there were two bigger considerations here besides himself, the organization and the transgender community. Continue reading