Transgender: You're Part of the Story | Nicole Maines | TEDxSMCC
"Can Trans Girls Be Sorority Girls?" Subject Emily Kaufman Did Not Get a Sorority Bid
Emily Kaufman, the transgender University of Michigan junior who shared her longtime dream of joining a sorority in the Cosmopolitan.com article “Can Trans Girls Be Sorority Girls?” found out this past Friday night that she was dropped from the one new sorority she was rushing.
In her last chance to join a sorority (it would be unusual for her to try again next year as a senior), Kaufman was participating in informal recruitment with the new chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, a National Panhellenic Conference sorority, at Michigan. But after what she says was a positive interview with an alumna and another rush event where she connected with a group of fellow potential new members, Kaufman learned in an email that she was not invited back to the final round of recruitment.
“Thank you so much for your interest in Alpha Omicron Pi at University of Michigan. We appreciate your time and interest, but will not be extending you an invite to AOII’s Preference Round this evening,” the email read. “We wish you the very best for a successful future.”
Sorority recruitment is a highly selective process; there are many reasons why Kaufman may not have gotten in, including chemistry with interviewers, a limited number of spots, or the fact that she will be absent from school for the next month as she recovers from gender reassignment surgery scheduled for this Monday in Montreal, Canada, missing many of the sorority’s new member events. But Kaufman believes transphobia was a factor in her being dropped. As reported in the Cosmopolitan.com article, Alpha Omicron Pi is not one of the three NPC sororities that has an official public policy protecting transgender women from discrimination during sorority recruitment.
“I’m disappointed,” Emily says. “The dreams of a little girl were shattered into a thousand pieces.” She shared more of her reaction in the video below.
A representative for the national office of Alpha Omicron Pi told Cosmopolitan.com in a statement: "Alpha Omicron Pi does not speak on any specific membership selection situations; however, we do not participate in or tolerate the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of potential new members or members based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning/physical abilities, or religion.
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