I started my journey as a sorority woman during formal recruitment in the fall of 2014. The second I stepped into the first house, I knew that I was where I belonged. The sisters made me feel accepted and welcomed, but when they joked about how I must get all the boys, I fell silent. I didn’t want to admit my biggest secret: I am a lesbian, and at the time was still largely in the closet.
When I accepted my bid card, I knew that this was a group of girls I could be myself around, but I still kept my sexuality a secret. I go to a private school in the Midwest, which is not the most accepting place for a young lesbian to be. I didn’t know how my sisters would react and the word “disaffiliation” floated around my head like a big red sign. My worst fear was that if I came out, I’d be leaving the sisterhood and not just the closet.
At the end of freshman year, I got together with my first serious girlfriend and I couldn’t stand to keep her a secret while my other sisters were getting promise rings and picking out wedding dresses. I was in a happy, adult relationship and I was tired of hiding it. I wanted to gush over the details and introduce my significant other to the other 100 significant sisters in my life. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I decided to take the plunge and tell them. I came out over an Instagram post, with a picture of the two of us posing in the park we (and three of my sisters) work at.
Much to my surprise, positive messages and likes started filling my notifications. They wanted to know how we met, how long we’d been together and why I hadn’t told them about her the second we got together. I finally felt like one of the girls, receiving the same questions they ask every sister in a new relationship. Nobody questioned my eligibility for sisterhood, nobody demanded I be disaffiliated or burned at the stake for lesbianism.
It was at that moment that I realized this is what sisterhood is about. Being in a sorority is about accepting and celebrating the differences that make every woman her own unique self. Some of our sisters are really good at sports, public speaking, makeup, singing, playing instruments or any number of things. It just turns out that I’m really good at being gay, and that’s a facet of my life that my sisters celebrate.
My big was the most supportive. She asked me why I hadn’t come out earlier, and I told her about my fear of having to disaffiliate and leave the chapter. She laughed and said I never had anything to worry about, because all the sisters already knew and were just waiting for me to make it official. They accepted me before I even admitted to them who I really was, and that’s what made me truly happy and proud to be part of such a loving sisterhood.
Coming out is hard, and it will always be hard. But through my own experience, I learned that your sisters will always love you, no matter what, and their gaydar is better than you think. No matter if you’re gay, bi, pan or questioning, your sisters will (or at least, should) support you through your journey. Because that’s what sisterhood is about in the end..