I Told My Sorority That I Am Queer

I Told My Sorority That I Am Queer

Being honest with my sorority made me embrace greek life even more.
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Throughout recruitment at the beginning of the semester, I was just a bundle of nerves. There was a part of me that was excited because I never envisioned myself in a sorority, but I wanted to try something new. The other part of me was nervous that I would say the wrong thing and not complete recruitment or receive a bid.

With that, I did hide an important part of myself during the whole process. Of course, I talked about why I joined a sorority, my college experience so far (the positives and negatives), and the basic information about me you could find on my Facebook and Instagram. I never mentioned to anyone that part of the reason why I was rushing is because I haven't found my place yet on campus and I'm still trying to adjust to life away from home.

The main reason why I was having problems adjusting was because of my sexual orientation. In October 2016, I came out as pansexual. For the most part, a majority of people accepted me for who I am and was happy I felt free to be myself.

However, as expected, some did not have the same positive reaction. Many people who vocalized some negative thoughts/feelings had believed that I would suddenly be attracted to them (even when they are not my type), did not understand pansexuality and did not bother to try to understand, and/or believed I had contracted AIDS and would infect everyone. I have also run into troubles when it comes to dating as some people believe since I am pansexual, I am more prone to cheating on someone.

When I got to college, I became afraid of what people might think of me for being so open about my sexuality. I decided I wouldn't really tell people unless it seemed safe or I felt the need to. I tried attending queer student events on campus, but I always felt like people would stare at me like a caged animal at the zoo.

For those reasons, I didn't tell anyone about who I really was. I was afraid of being rejected and not having a chance to get into a sorority just off my sexuality. I thought some of the girls and my potential sisters would shy away from me and I just wouldn't fit in anywhere.

I guess my plan worked since I received a bid from Alpha Xi Delta. I was beyond excited to finally make new friends and be a part of something new, to finally start over and get involved on campus. However, I now felt the need to tell people since I was going to become a sister.

For weeks, I didn't tell anyone except a few of the already initiated sisters just to test out the waters. I didn't want to be labeled the "weird one," so depending on how often I saw someone and the closer I felt to them, the more comfortable I felt with telling them.

Then, at a new member meeting, I had the opportunity to tell my soon-to-be sisters that I am pansexual. We did one of those activities where you realize you never know what struggles others might be facing and the importance of treating others with kindness and love. I was terrified when the words "I'm pansexual" fell from my lips.

I remember sitting in the huge circle, staring at everyone, and just shaking. I had no idea how these girls, some complete strangers, would react to me. I mean, if those who were close to me freaked out and practically shunned me, how would they react? Regardless, I did come out to my sisters.

The reaction from the girls made me feel so much relief though. For the first time, I didn't feel the need to hide who I am. These girls didn't reject me or talk to me any less. They still treated me as a friend and made me feel important, which is something I never even felt before. I felt like I actually mattered.

I think part of my worry was just because there is a stereotype when it comes to sororities, and for the longest time, I did believe it. Living most of my early childhood in Georgia and Texas, I knew what sorority girls looked like down there. On top of that, being queer and in a sorority was not even a possibility. I was living in constant fear due to my past and negative mindset.

With all of that, I am grateful to be pledging to Alpha Xi Delta. I know this is my home while in college and maybe for the rest of my life. I finally feel like I belong somewhere rather than worrying of being rejected just because of who I am. I am also now allowing more positivity into my life after realizing that I am surrounded by down to earth, kindhearted, genuine girls.

Thank you to my soon-to-be sisters for letting me express myself and loving me for it. I am honest when I say this is the happiest I've been in a very long time.

Cover Image Credit: PIxabay

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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Netflix's 'Special' Is A Groundbreaking Series About A Gay Man With Cerebral Palsy

Based off his memoir "I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves" Ryan O'Connell reimagines his journey in this witty 15-minute comedy.

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Ryan O'Connell is a gay man with cerebral palsy, and he's here to showcase his story in a must-see eight episode series. O'Connell navigates his world behind sexuality and disability in a coming-of-age twentysomething comedy, that's extremely important in today's society. When it comes to the topic of representation, O'Connell exceeds expectations as he shines a light on internalized ableism, being a fish out of water in his own community, and even the topic of gay sex. This series has a significant amount of charm, it's almost like a rated-R Disney show with its quirky music, fast-paced story and it's a success in making everyone's heart melt.

"Special" is about Ryan Hayes (Ryan O'Connell) a charismatic and shy gay man with mild cerebral palsy who's "28 and hasn't done a goddamn thing." Therefore, he takes the initiative of becoming an unpaid intern at an online magazine titled "Eggwoke" and begins his journey in soul-searching for his identity. His boss Olivia (Marla Mindelle), a chaotic Anna Wintour-type, expresses that most articles going viral right now are confessional ones. This allows Ryan to have his moment, as he writes an anecdote about getting hit by a car and inflates it from a minor injury to a traumatic piece, which allows him to use it as a cover story for his limp and to keep his condition a secret from his peers.

Ryan befriends one of his peers, a South-Asian American woman named Kim (Punam Patel) whose professional niche involves body positivity, the empowerment of being a person of color and a curvy girl. Her constant confidence helps paint her as the motivating friend that helps Ryan get more comfortable with himself. They share a moment at Olivia's pool party in a room when Ryan refuses to take off his clothes and she coerces him into taking off his clothes and appreciating his body. Kim might be a bit of a push towards Ryan, but she's only leading him in the right direction.

"Special" is extremely self-aware, especially within the first scenes of the first episode which explain what mild cerebral palsy is and in response a child screams in fear and runs away, leaving Ryan confused but humored. There even is a complex relationship between Ryan and his mother, Karen (Jessica Hecht). Karen's an overprotective mother who only wants the best for her child, but when she's at that point of finally letting him be free she's put into a place of loneliness. The show tackles a very specific mother/son relationship, as Ryan tries not to rely on his mother for help all the time, Karen does not mind any hassle regarding her son... especially with his condition. The two butt heads at multiple occasions, but their love for one another prevails.

"Special" has eight episodes that you can watch on Netflix right now, it's binge-worthy especially with each episode being around 15 minutes and it's also an eye-opener. This show helps strive for self-revelation and self-evaluation, it's a reflective process on identity and what categories we put ourselves in. Ryan O'Connell has made such a marvelous show, with a charming cast, multiple important messages, and a motive to help normalize disabilities and homosexuality to the public through a unique and specific perspective. It's a personal experience that everyone should watch, learn and love from.

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