Fraternity lets government decide who can be a member

One of the oldest college fraternities in the United States recently changed its membership policy to accept transgender and transsexual members.

In a press release last week, the Chi Phi Fraternity announced that delegates at its 151st Congress had adopted an amendment to open membership to any male with legal documentation of their gender. This suggests that if a college student born a woman can change the gender on their driver’s license or birth certificate to male, they would have the ability to pledge membership in Chi Phi.

Sam Borchart, the fraternity’s Committee of Membership chairman, said Chi Phi was changing the conversation on accepting transgender brothers.

“The fact that this change comes as a result of [a] Congressional vote is a testament that our Fraternity and its individual members want to make Chi Phi more inclusive,” Borchart said. “One change is never a stopping point, and we hope this opens the door to further discussion about inclusivity, particularly transgender men who want to join us in brotherhood.”

The press release states that the initiative was student-driven, noting that an individual chapter originally promoted the idea at the fraternity’s annual conference. Local chapters are still free to choose their own members, though the amendment allowing transgender members went into immediate effect after receiving approval.

The fraternity shared its press release on Facebook, receiving dozens of “likes” and “shares”.

The mission of Chi Phi is “To build better men through lifelong friendships, leadership opportunities, and character development.” Founded at Princeton University in 1824, the fraternity boasts 45,500 living alumni and 2,800 undergraduate student members, and has over 50 chapters in 19 states listed on its website.

Chi Phi is not the first Greek-life organization to open its doors to transgender members, as Think Progress reports that individual chapters of various fraternities and sororities across the country openly admit transgender members, and that it is common for universities to have a few social clubs known for being gay-friendly.

[RELATED: U. of Oregon frats open doors to anyone who ‘self-identifies as male’]

Campus Reform reached out to the Chi Phi national office for comment but had not received a response by press time.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RiersonNC