Missouri State sorority to accept transgender students

Colleges across the country are changing university policies to accommodate students who don’t conform to traditional gender norms, and now individual student organizations are following suit.

Missouri State University’s (MSU) Xi Omicron Iota sorority recently passed a resolution to allow transgender students—in this case males who identify as women—to join their sorority. The change will be enforced during this fall’s recruitment process beginning on September 13th.

In an interview with The Standard, the sorority chapter’s secretary Kara Venzian said the change is important in giving “all women” a chance to join the sisterhood.

The sisters said that the move is an attempt to modernize their organization.

“This just essentially brings [Xi Omicron Iota] into the 21st century,” Venzian argued.

To join Xi Omicron Iota, one must be a full time student at MSU, maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA, and with the new bylaws, “identify” as a girl.

According to KSL News, the sorority has 75 active members and the organization’s leaders could not give any examples of transgender students trying to rush in the past.

The resolution to allow men who identify as women into the sorority “passed with flying colors” according to Venzian.

"We just want to be as inclusive as possible to all women on the Missouri State campus," the sorority’s vice president Liz Lersch told KSL.

Lersch said a transgender student got in touch with the organization to thank them after hearing about the bylaw change. "She said she wished she had something like that," Lersch explained. "When I read that, it just touched my heart."

Xi Omicron Iota has been on Missouri State’s campus since February 2002. It is not affiliated with any national organization.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BethanySalgado