PRIDE STORIES | MORE THAN I COULD’VE HOPED FOR
The following post was written by Elizabeth Chabot, Gamma Beta–Florida State University and is part of a month-long series of Pride-focused member stories.
I never wanted to be in a sorority.
With it came this expectation of what and who to be: a specific type of woman. I had the stereotypical blonde hair and blue eyes, but I wasn’t straight—so I never thought I would fit in. This was the narrative I constructed in my head about sororities.
But the reality was so much different than I imagined.
I was fortunate to grow up in a progressive community where being queer was not only accepted but quite common. Throughout high school, I was never afraid to admit I was queer—but I never really explored that side of my identity.
I didn’t deny it, I just didn’t nourish it or let it grow as a part of me. Everyone expects that living in a progressive home with accepting parents means you will live your fullest, gayest life. Still, there was a feeling inside of me pushing me to ignore it. It was something I could deal with later.
I left that version of myself behind when I went to college, but I was still missing something.
I was invited to brunch at the chapter house and a Continuous Open Bidding event later that evening—and I was very apprehensive at first. Little did I know I had found my home, the missing piece that would allow me to explore the part of myself I’d denied for so long.
Even though I felt great connections with the women I met, I was afraid if I joined I would have to suppress that part of identity and become the stereotype I had seen on TV in order to fit in. At my southern school in a conservative state, I knew I would likely face homophobia and prejudice—but I didn’t want it to come from my future sisters.
Before joining, I spoke to the member who invited me to the COB event. I was so relieved when she said everyone was very supportive of queer sisters already in the chapter.
I’d finally found the missing piece that nourished my growth. I was home.
Within my first few months, I knew could confide in my sisters. I had people I could talk to about my feelings and identity who would understand and love me for me.
I’ll never forget the many conversations I had in the dining room and on the balcony with my sisters. While I was having my first experiences with queer relationships, my sisters—both queer and allies—were there to support me. They helped me navigate a toxic relationship and gave me a shoulder to cry on when everything fell apart. They were there for the good and the bad, and—thanks to them, I was able to grow and flourish.
With my sisters by my side, I learned more about myself in one year than in my previous 19 years.
I now try to support other sisters as they explore their own identity and be there for them the way those members were for me. I want to show them they don’t have to fit into a standard mold of being a certain kind of pretty or straight.
If I’ve learned one thing from joining Alpha Gam, it’s that you become more yourself. Without Alpha Gam, I wouldn’t be the proud queer woman I am today. So, thank you to all my sisters. Let’s continue to welcome the next generation of members—gay, straight, black, white and everything in between—into our sisterhood and change the sorority experience for the better.