Last night I was scrolling through Facebook, as one does on a Wednesday night when all their homework is done and they’re trying to go to bed early for once in their life, and I saw that a few of my friends had shared a link to a Rotunda article, and the title was what caught my attention: “Bigender Student Receives Bid into Fraternity.” The article talks about Beasa Dukes, a student who identifies as bigender, or not solely male or female, who received a bid from Phi Mu Delta, a fraternity here at Longwood University. Reading this article made me think about Dr. Jes Simmons’ talk with us in class about how open-minded Longwood is in regards to the LGBT+ community, and the progress that the University is making in regards to accepting people of all genders and sexual orientations into University organizations.
Seeing this article makes me happy for how Longwood is changing. I actually had a class with Beasa and I was at men’s walk when Phi Mu Delta welcomed their new members. It was amazing to see how happy they were and accepting of this. Also, this does amazing things for our Longwood community to see and be accepting of anyone joining. This shows others universities this and they will make that step at their school.
At first glance when I saw that Longwood had a bigender student I was surprised. I currently take a gender course and I had never heard of the term “Bigender.” It was because the student has made it up herself. She doesn’t categorize herself as neither female no male. I thought it was exciting news to hear that she had gotten into a fraternity. However, in the tradition of fraternities you rarely would see the acceptance of those who are not male unless they are a part of an academic fraternity. I am glad to see that Phi Mu Delta is trying to make an effort to make people feel like they belong regardless of their gender preference. I should hope that more stories about people who seek change come out so that people can be better informed.
I actually had a conversation with someone about this yesterday. She was talking about how proud she was of Phi Mu Delta for being accepting and willing to take someone who is bigender. She mentioned that her sorority welcomes transgenders and tries to accommodate and be inclusive to everyone. I told her that it is wonderful how open minded and thoughtful it is for a sorority or fraternity to be so inclusive. They have to break some social norms and divorce themselves from the previous gender norms and expectations of society which is necessary at this point. After reading and hearing about this and talking to my friend I started to wonder how my opinion would be different if I had not been enrolled in this class. As soon as my friend said the word inclusive I smiled because that is such a refreshing thought after hearing of Dr.Jess’ experience and how exclusive many work places and people there were. To be completely honest I do not think that I would appreciate this step for all it is worth without this class. I am not saying that I would be against it by any means. I simply believe I would not understand the depth or full meaning of the decision. Trans and bigender individuals are starting conversations. Due to people like Dr.Jess the conversations we have had in this class I have a better understanding of the struggles that trans and bi gender individuals have. In all honestly I have become more aware and open minded. It breaks my heart to know how people treat someone when they are different. So this decision makes me happy especially because of the prior knowledge and insight I have learned from this course and our discussions.
I also read the article about Beasa’s acceptance into Phi Mu Delta. I was really excited when I read the article because I know Beasa on a personal level and I empathize with her a lot. I have always felt more androgynous than anything and I think it’s great that there are organizations here at Longwood which allow for a someone who is Bigender. I wanted to likewise join a fraternity when I was a freshman, but learned that most fraternities have either a “sweetheart” or “little sister” option for females, but none are otherwise inclusive. I think this is a major step in the right direction. This isn’t just a step in the right direction, but it’s also a conversation starter. It’s acceptance like what we have here at Longwood which helps to change the problems of yesterday.
I actually met B a couple weeks ago and she is really excited to be a new member of PMD. I actually felt a little emotional when I saw her run to her brothers at IFC’s Mens Walk. As a member of a Greek organization, I’m very curious to see how my chapter would approach a similar situation. If a trans person wanted to pledge a CPC organization I can only hope they would be offered the same support that B found in Phi Mu Delta, but I have a gut feeling it would be a little more controversial for the sorority counterparts.
I found myself to be pleasantly surprised when I initially looked on Longwood’s home page and saw the story surrounding Beasa’s bid. It personally hit a spot with me because I used to be a member of Phi Mu Delta several semesters ago. I always admired how Phi Mu Delta tried their best to be inclusive to all members of the campus. I believe that Beasa’s story will help inspire more Bigender students who have the conviction to join greek organizations and other groups on campus. Furthermore, this proves as a blatant example that the times are changing and everywhere across the country and the world, people are being forced to confront this topic of gender and thoroughly reflect on what it means to them.
This is an awesome step that a Longwood fraternity has taken. I remember a student talking in my gender class about another college that has recently began accepting trans students into Greek life. In my opinion things like this are a major step not just in equality, but in awareness among young people. Nineteen and twenty years old’s may not have the same awareness that twenty-four to thirty-year old’s do simply due to information pipelines and parent situations.
I found this article on Facebook last night as well and thought that it was great. Similarly to allowing trans students to undergo formal greek recruitment at some schools, I think that this is a huge step for Longwood and Phi Mu Delta. I am interested as to why a fraternity was chosen as opposed to a sorority since Beasa does identify as bigender. I do think that it is awesome that Beasa received and accepted the bid into the chapter and was also very impressed at the fact that the chapter already had a bylaw in place so that there were no restrictions for the student.