Pledging change: the transgender college students integrating Greek life

Sep 25, 2016 by

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Policies vary across the US but some sororities and fraternities have adopted inclusive rules – Ryan Bishop, Leigh Angel and Sean Finn tell their stories

In March of 2015, after being recruited for months, Ryan Bishop was thrilled to receive an invitation to join his university’s chapter of of Chi Phi, America’s oldest fraternity. But a week before his induction, Chi Phi’s national office notified the Ohio Wesleyan University chapter that Bishop wasn’t eligible.

Chi Phi’s official rules only allowed men, and Bishop was born a woman.

Bishop was raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. He always said his sex felt wrong, but never felt safe enough to transition in the conservative Balkan country. America offered a sort of gender asylum and so three years ago, on his first night at university, Bishop introduced himself as Ryan.

“It was life changing,” Bishop said. “It felt like the moment I arrived here I was seen as who I truly am, and could just act like myself.”
Bishop jumped into campus activism and devoted his studies to zoology. Former Chi Phi president Kyle Simon, 22, said he recruited Bishop to join the fraternity because he was so impressive.

“Ryan represented the best student leader that I had seen as a first year since coming to the university,” Simon said. “As an international student and transgender, we would get a really amazing person, with another diverse perspective. He was everything I wanted Chi Phi to become.”

Source: Pledging change: the transgender college students integrating Greek life | Society | The Guardian

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