Gender-Neutral Sorority Welcomes All at Otterbein

Posted Mar 19, 2021

By Madelyn Nelson ’23 

The conversation about gender inclusiveness is trending nationally, but one sorority at Otterbein opened its doors to all genders six years ago. Otterbein’s Tau Delta sorority is gender-neutral, which means everyone, no matter their preferred pronouns, identity, or gender, is welcome to join their chapter.  

“Gender-inclusive chapters demonstrate diversity by educating the community as well as the chapters about all identities,” Tau Delta President Reyana Bates said. “I believe that Greek Life is stereotyped as extremely feminine for sororities and extremely masculine for fraternities, but there can be a happy medium.” 

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The change to become gender neutral was initiated in 2014 when some members expressed fears that they would be excluded from the chapter if they identified as a gender other than female. Once these fears were recognized, Tau Delta knew there needed to be a change to better accommodate current and future members. 

In 2015, the active and alumni chapters voted to change the Tau Delta constitution to be considered gender neutral. Even though there could not be a formal, in-person celebration, last year Tau Delta reflected on five years of welcoming everyone into their chapter.  

Following the change in 2015, Tau Delta edited the language in their songs and constitution to refer to all the genders.  

The Otterbein community supported the change, especially chapter alumni. Their support surrounding the change emphasized that Tau Delta did the right thing to move their organization forward. 

Bates, a senior public relations and communication studies double major from Mount Vernon, Ohio, has held several leadership positions within Greek Life. 

“Having leadership roles in Tau Delta has taught me my potential as a human, and it has made my Otterbein experience much stronger,” Bates said. 

Six years later, Tau Delta still operates as a gender-neutral sorority on Otterbein’s campus. 

Although they have not officially changed their constitutions, other sororities on campus also welcome all genders. 

“For Kappa Phi Omega, we strive to be completely gender-inclusive and continue to learn more about how we can achieve that goal. Within our chapter we have individuals with varying gender identities and work to ensure they feel welcomed, comfortable, and supported,” said Kappa Phi Omega President Katie Barber, a senior psychology and public health education double major from Bay Village, Ohio. 

“Greek life here strives to be inclusive to everyone which represents Otterbein to the fullest,” Barber added. 

Gender-inclusivity within Greek life demonstrates that everyone can find a home here on campus. “I am proud to be a part of a sorority where we welcome all identities, because I believe that everyone deserves to find a home away from home here at Otterbein,” Bates said.