Sometimes if you never ask a question you will never get an answer. Likewise, many fraternity/sorority members never ask questions regarding the policies and practices of inter/national fraternities/sororities on sexual orientation issues. Others may ask, but never get an answer. Either way, there are still a lot of questions to be asked and answers to be given on this issue.
Suggested questions are given for you and your brothers/sisters to call and/or write to your inter/national fraternity/sorority leaders about their position, practices and polices pertaining to sexual orientation. We believe all brothers/sisters (straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual) must begin asking the questions and insisting on their fraternities/sororities to take a proactive stance to affirm diversity including sexual orientation. And remember, if at first you do not succeed, try and try again. Let your fraternity/sorority leadership know how important this issue is to your chapter and to the ideals of brotherhood/sisterhood. The more people ask the same questions, the more the “right” answer will be given.
Until You Get the “Right” Answer
- Does our fraternity/sorority have any written organizational policies dealing with sexual orientation? (i.e. membership policies, standards policies, position statements, personnel policies, etc.) If not, why?
- Do we discuss the issue of sexual orientation and/or being gay, lesbian or bisexual in any of our educational programs and resources? Do we provide our chapter with any educational resources to help a brother/sister who comes out? Do you know about the Lambda 10 Project Resources Online? If not, what are we waiting for?
- Do we include workshops or other educational programs on sexual orientation issues at conventions or national or regional leadership conferences? If so, what does the program entail? Info on Lambda 10 Project? Speakers? Facilitators?
- Do we include the issue of sexual orientation in training for staff (such as leadership consultants) or volunteer alumnae? If so, what types of things are covered in the training? If not, why? Is the issue of sexual orientation addressed in any of our resource materials (officer manuals, volunteer advisor manuals, etc.)? If not, why?
- Would we be open to including an article or resources about sexual orientation in our national magazine or other publications? Have we ever done this? If not, why?
- What type of advice would our national fraternity/sorority leadership give to the following circumstances, and how do we expect our members to know appropriate ways to deal with these situations if we do not have any policies or resources on the topic?
- What should our fraternity/sorority do if a brother/sister “comes out” to the chapter?
- Can our fraternity/sorority president kick out a member because he/she is gay/lesbian or bisexual, but by all accounts is a good brother/sister? Is this OK?
- What should we do if someone openly gay/lesbian wants to rush our fraternity/sorority? Can we exclude him/her from being a member for this sole reason?
- Can a member take a same-sex date to the fraternity/sorority formal?
- How do we stop rumors that our chapter is a “gay fraternity/lesbian sorority” just because we have an out gay brother/lesbian sister? Should we care?
- Does the fraternity/sorority staff/advisors know about the Lambda 10 Project to support LGBT fraternity & sorority issues?
What are your questions to ask? Remember to be courteous and professional, but you have a right to get an answer. Feel free to share your responses with the Lambda 10 Project at firstname.lastname@example.org, so others can see the positive work of your fraternity/sorority to be inclusive of all types of diversity.