College Fraternity to accept transgender members
Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity adopts groundbreaking policy in recognizing students' self-identified gender
Tempe, Arizona Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity's national board of directors enacted a policy at its May 14 th meeting in Tucson which allows transgender students to join the Fraternity. The policy goes above and beyond any other known policy of a national social college fraternity by allowing individuals who self-identify as male to seek membership, regardless of their sex at birth and whether or not they have obtained legal recognition of their gender identity. Furthermore, the policy allows full members to maintain their membership, even if at a later date they decide to change their gender to female.
Jamison Green, a nationally-recognized transgender activist and educator who serves on the board of directors of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, expressed his support.
"Sigma Phi Beta's decision to welcome transgender fraternity members is in direct fulfillment of the Greek Life values of self-determination, self-actualization, and brotherhood. The inclusion of gay and transgender students in the fraternity system ensures the formative experience of true brotherhood," said Green, who is also the author of Becoming a Visible Man (Vanderbilt University Press, 2004).
While the purpose of Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity has always been "to build character in gay, straight, bisexual and transgender male college students," this new policy acknowledges the complex nature of gender identity by respecting students' ability to self-identify."
"Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity wants to make it known that we are committed to being inclusive and supportive of transgender students while maintaining our identity as a Fraternity for men," said the fraternity's national president and chairman, Sam Holdren. "Students develop best in environments where they feel valued, protected, accepted and socially-connected to their peers."
"Brotherhood is about respect, and Sigma Phi Beta is demonstrating true leadership by adopting a fully inclusive policy that recognizes that our sense of self as men and women is far deeper than what's on the outside," said Donna Rose. Rose is a nationally-recognized transgender activist from Arizona who serves on the Human Rights Campaign's national board of directors and who authored Wrapped in Blue: A Journey of Discovery (Living Legacy Press, 2003).
Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity was originally formed as a local chapter at Arizona State University in September 2003, forming its own national parent organization in July 2005. Since its inception, the fraternity has made great strides in the Greek fraternity system.
The development of this groundbreaking policy came about in collaboration with the local and national transgender community. The policy enacted by the national board will be binding on present and future chapters of the Fraternity.
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Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity is a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to build character in gay, straight bisexual and transgender male college students though social and meaningful activities that will empower them in their future endeavors, while upholding the bonds and true meaning of brotherhood.
Policy on Gender
In furthering the purpose of Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity, the Council of Sigma Phi Beta has adopted this policy to provide clarification regarding membership requirements relating to gender, gender identity and gender expression.
Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity values brotherhood, diversity, leadership, education, scholarship, Greek Life, member rights, community service, tradition, and the overall Queer experience in a hetero-normative society. Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity strives to maintain its male gender identity in accordance with tradition and the desire to develop fraternal bonds.
* Definition of male: In an effort to clarify our identity, male is defined as any individual who self-identifies as male, regardless of his assigned sex at birth or his expression or the perceived expression of his gender.
* In order for an individual to be considered for or allowed membership in the Fraternity, he must be a college student who identifies as male, as previously defined.
* Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity strives to uphold its gender identity, but first and foremost values brotherhood; therefore, no member of Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity can lose his membership rights due to a change in gender, gender expression or gender identity.
* Any circumstance that does not fall within this policy will be considered at the discretion of the Council in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity.
* In any case where an individual Chapter wishes to induct or initiate an individual who does not identify as male, the decision to proceed would be at the discretion of the Council.