By Angel Schrader (Alpha Omicron, The Ohio State University)
I came to The Ohio State University as a first-generation student and as a young gay woman; these two identities were things that I was afraid people would look at me differently for when I began to navigate college life. These two identities also made rushing a sorority fairly daunting, as I had no idea what Greek life was like besides what I saw in movies and TV. Thus, when I decided I would try recruitment, I was awkward at first since I was scared to say anything that would make me seem less desirable. I avoided anything that could have outed me as a gay woman.
I then got to meet my soon-to-be sisters at Alpha Chi, and they stunned me. I met this group of incredibly driven, passionate and caring women who were so welcoming to anyone no matter their background, identity, orientation, etc., and I felt right at home. Even with that, I still had a fear that they would view me differently when they found out I was gay. That is something that I fear a lot. I do not want my identity as a gay person to override everything else. I am so much more than just gay; it is only one important piece to the whole puzzle. My sisters never viewed me as anything other than I was always just their sister, not their gay sister. When they learned about my girlfriend, they treated it just as if they heard about another sister’s boyfriend. That was all I wanted. I just wanted to be seen as the same.
One of the biggest things that drew me to Alpha Chi was the drive of the women I met. So many of them do such incredible things, and I wanted to add that they have done nothing but support me, which as a first-generation student, I am beyond grateful for. College is scary as is, but not having any idea what it is like is even worse. Having a group of supportive and uplifting women to look at you and tell you, “You got this” is so impactful. So many of my sisters have seen my work with protests and activism and shared my own passions and drive to create change. They have had important conversations, helped the actions to move for the change that is so needed and shared empathy by showing their support. It is phenomenal. Alpha Chi became more than just a sorority to me; it became a family of supportive, loving and empathetic women who have made me know that I am never alone.