I’ve heard it all : “You’re just in it for the parties” “You pay for your friends” “It’s pointless” “You’re one of THOSE girls”. I’m telling you now don’t let these opinions distort your view on what we’re really about. I myself never thought i’d be part of an organization like this. Coming from being a leader of a Catholic youth group to now being an Executive with my Sorority and Vice President of greek Council for my University this is somewhere I never thought i’d be. Especially with the stigma attached, which some of my friends in this youth group haven’t been able to let go of. Not once have I ever been asked to abandon my values or my faith, i’m more or less the same person I was before except I hold a set of letters close to my heart, as well as a more open minded view on the world. Being part of greek life has taught me invaluable lessons that I probably would of never learned if I didn’t decide to take this leap in the first place. It’s taught me leadership skills, Career building, Responsibility, Courage and most of all real Acceptance. Not to say that you can’t learn these anywhere else, but for me this is where most of these skills and lessons have been cultivated.
Acceptance was one of the most prominent things that stood out and continues to stand out for me. Before joining greek life i’ve only closely interacted with people that follow the same faith as me, have the same attitudes on life and how if should be lived, people that are straight, and from the same cultural background. When coming to university and joining this community my whole world and view on things took a 180, not for the worse but for the better. I now have friends that come from all backgrounds, orientations, faiths and have different values as me. The one thing that unites us all is the common understanding that we seek to be the best versions of ourselves through the common morality we all share to a certain degree. Regardless of background, sexual orientation, faith or no faith we are all capable of being the absolute best we can be.
I used to be so wary of associating myself with people that weren’t like me, and followed the same faith journey as myself. For reasons known and unknown this was the way I thought and lived my life. all throughout high school this was how I identified myself, this was where I was comfortable. The constant participation of the youth group I was in was one of the contributors to this. Not to say it wasn’t a bad thing no, but it did affect the way I saw my friends outside the youth group community. That if they didn’t follow the same things as me faith wise they needed my “help” to show them God’s graces. 4 years after I look at myself an I can only think “wow” I used to think that way? I believe regardless of faith, orientation etc. as long as you’re heart is in the right place then it’s perfectly fine. I drew the line with my association with them when a conference took place, and out of all days on my birthday. Where one of the topics discussed was being a 100 percent man/ woman of God. I drew the line where the view on homosexuality was discussed in my point of view, in a negative light. Regardless of orientation I believe anyone man, woman, trans is capable of being a real man or woman of God wether they choose to be in a relationship or not with the person whom they love. Yes, love. I believe two men as well as two women are capable of sharing the same love as a man and a woman. If anyone that’s reading this is offended I apologize in advance. But I feel this needs to be addressed. I don’t appreciate that a persons sexual orientation is seen as something that needs interference, like its a disease. Even If you may think you’re not treating it like one, reality is you are. Giving “help” where its not needed or asked for, sending articles, shoving “affirmations” to those few members that have had the courage to come out it doesn’t help. It hurts, it makes it just as hard for them to accept and love themselves fully. Why? Indirectly you help contribute to the internal conflict they may or may not have that being, Sexuality vs. religion. Wether you know it or not it happens.
Leading back to Greek life. I can speak from this end because I know exactly and to the point how it feels to be in this position. It’s a battle that shouldn’t have to be fought by anyone, and it’s a battle i’ve been fighting for the past couple of months. Like I said being part of a sorority and greek life in general has opened up my eyes to so much one of those things as mentioned was acceptance. The hardest thing was surprisingly not accepting other people, that came so easier than I thought. But the hardest was accepting myself. ALL of myself. I hid a part of my life that I was so ashamed to share or act out because of the fear of being loved less and respected. Especially with what I was taught, it brought me deeper and deeper into denying myself because what I was feeling and what I wanted was not seen as “right” in the eyes of God.But being given the right environment and friends I was able to slowly step out of my comfort zone with some confidence and tested out the waters, which I actually felt okay with until I had that voice in the back of my head telling me not to. With recruitment week fast approaching I decided to take a leap. Not because I just wanted to get it over with but because I needed the support of my sisters, and this was the perfect time to do it. I wanted to be able to be transparent with both my sisters and new recruits that we will soon accept into our circle. but most of all with myself. The tears started pouring down my face before I could even utter the first word. I got to the point and told them ” I want you ladies to know, i’m bi-sexual, my hope is that you will still love me and see me the same way”. I had sisters holding my hand putting their arms around me and just smiling as I went on to say that “Down the road I don’t want to feel ashamed to hold the hand of my partner even if its a girl, that I don’t want to feel ashamed to bring her to our formals, tell her I love you in front of them, and just be a regular couple”. The feedback I got was nothing but love and support, they went on to affirm me and tell me that they still love me regardless, that if down the road I do want to bring a girl to our formals or events then they’ll be more than happy to welcome her in, and that I can trust them. Everything was light hearted after that, they made me laugh by making comments like “your selection pool is bigger now” ” I would be flattered if you hit on me” ” “Im sad i’m not your type but, I am your sister so close enough”. It was such a positive experience sharing this part of my life with them. In a perfect world I would hope everyones experience would be as wonderful as mine.But, unfortunately the world isn’t perfect. There are going to be people that will take it the wrong way, try to change you, or try to skew what you’ve had the courage to tell them. Last night if there was one thing I was affirmed of the most, it was that there is a community that will love and accept me,for everything that I am including my orientation and everything that comes along with it.The fear of telling my friends outside the greek community still hangs on just as tight as the hands of my sisters that held me. If anyone from my youth group is reading this I can hope you’ll still love, respect and try to understand me. If i’ve disappointed you i’m sorry.
As a Catholic I refuse to believe in a God that will love me any less because of my orientation, and if I choose to pursue a relationship with a man or woman. One of The greatest commandments that was given was to love one another, I think this teaching transcends above all else that has been taught.Regardless of my friends, sisters and brothers :background, race, orientation, religion I choose to love them all and without judgement. I choose Acceptance.
Lay Me Down (Acoustic Version)
Make It To Me