Kappa Delta Chi sorority hosts pride panel to unite LGBTQ, Greek communities

As they sat in a small circle, members of the LGBTQ and Greek communities, along with supporters of both organizations, discussed ways to make Greek life more inclusive to LGBTQ students.

The sisters of Kappa Delta Chi hosted their second annual pride panel at the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Two panelists, Regina Godoy and Guillermo Rebolledo, shared their stories of coming out before they opened the floor for discussion. During the hour, they talked about the exclusivity of the LGBTQ community within Greek life.

"(Kappa Delta Chi) were actually the first Greek life to host a pride panel at OSU," said Godoy, a senior studying human development and family studies and one of the night's panelists.

Godoy is disappointed, rather than shocked or angry, that Kappa Delta Chi is the first sorority in the history of Oregon State University to present a pride panel. But she is relieved that an organization is standing by its inclusivity statement.

Last year's panel was operated through the OSU Pride Center. This year was unique, Godoy said, because they branched out and collaborated with the office of equity and inclusion and Project Social Justice.

She also reached out to the center for fraternity & sorority life. Godoy believes the panel's independence from the Pride Center made a tremendous difference. The event received more attendance and support.

Last year, about four people came, Godoy said. This year, 25-30 people joined the discussion.

More notably, this year's pride panel was the first to have representation from a member of Greek life.

Rebolledo, a member of SOL and Omega Delta Phi Fraternity Inc., shared his story at Tuesday's panel.

"I came out (in) 2009, my sophomore year of high school," Rebolledo said. "It was hard for me to feel a part of the LGBTQ community in high school. There was so much tension between the gay individuals."

Rebolledo found himself fighting for his true identity. Literally.

"There were times when I would get in a physical fight," he said. "That I put myself out there to get hurt scared me."

His experience in high school made him pull away from the LGBTQ community at OSU. Rebolledo did not want to be a part of any community. But not long into his university experience, Rebolledo was encouraged by brothers in a fraternity to learn more about Greek life.

"They made the environment so welcoming," he said. "I ended up joining and becoming a brother. I think it was one of the best decisions I made."

Rebolledo thinks his experience with Greek life, as a student who identifies as gay, was rare.

"I never, in a million years, thought a frat boy would come up to me and say, 'You should join our organization,'" Rebolledo said.

The issue of sexuality, Rebolledo said, gets swept under the rug. He feels members are afraid to come out and face their house with the truth.

"The social norm is not to talk about the issue," he said.

He doesn't think other houses in the Greek community will be inspired to host their own pride panel.

But Katlyn Taylor, president of Kappa Delta Chi and representative for the United Greek Council, hosted the event with other members in her sorority to spark a change.

"The Greek community and the LGBTQ community don't really have much interaction," Taylor said. "I've never heard of there being an outright issue with inclusivity, but I also know that it's not something that is commonly discussed."

Mickey Means-Brous, a second-year student who identifies as a lesbian, attended Tuesday's panel out of curiosity. She thinks the panel raised a lot of important issues. More importantly, the environment was one of acceptance.

"A lot of times, when you put labels on things, it can dehumanize it," Means-Brous said in reference to sexual identity. "When you have events like this, everyone is invited (and) that brings the issue to a more personal level."

Still, she was not inspired to join Greek life. The community, she said, creates little opportunity for someone in the LGBTQ community to be comfortable.

"I would love to see more things like this on campus," Means-Brous said, "see more of the Greek community be involved in events like this to feel comfortable."

Ria Rankine

Greek and clubs reporter

managing@dailybarometer.com

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