In both a video and a letter to all members on Friday, February 17th, Alpha Chi Omega announced a new plan that will allow its collegiate chapters nationwide to accept transgender women.
While some of the comments on the video were negative, it seems like the response to the announcement was generally positive.
The full letter from AXO National President Angela Harris:
Over the past year, Alpha Chi Omega and its National Panhellenic Conference peers have been challenged to reexamine the concepts of sisterhood and sorority through the lens of a quickly changing landscape.
Alpha Chi Omega is, as it always has been, an organization for women. The mission of our organization is clear: From advocating for domestic violence awareness and teaching women of all ages how to cultivate healthy relationships, to providing leadership and education opportunities, Alpha Chi Omega exists to develop and empower strong women. If we are to continue to live this important mission in today’s world, Alpha Chi Omega must be inclusive of all who live and identify as women, regardless of their gender assigned at birth.
In recent months, members from chapters in all parts of the country have sought guidance about transgender women who have expressed interest in joining our Fraternity. These inquiries were not made out of fear or obligation; they were born from our sisters’ sincere desire to create a sorority experience that more fully reflects the realities of today’s women, in today’s world. This announcement is about meeting our collegians where they are and responding to their calls for inclusion.
This position is the result of extensive National Council deliberation, best-practices research, legal consultation and frontline discussions with higher-education and sorority/fraternity life thought leaders. It did not emerge as a reaction to external influences, but from introspection about how Alpha Chi Omega will continue to redefine the sorority experience.
This does not, in any way, alter our National Membership Standards. Our chapters will continue to recruit potential new members based on: 1] academic interest; 2] character; 3] financial responsibility; 4] leadership ability; and 5] personal development.
Today, our Fraternity is more than 230,000 members strong. We recognize that for some of those 230,000 sisters, embracing this position means adopting a new mindset. And as our understanding of gender identity evolves, so must Alpha Chi Omega.
The power of women’s organizations is real and necessary. This remains true today more than ever. I hope you will stand with me, and the rest of the National Council, in embracing Alpha Chi Omega’s inclusive approach.
Props to Alpha Chi for taking steps to be inclusive. Here’s hoping other organizations follow suit.