Greek Allies, the LGBT group associated with Greek Life, was recently restarted on campus.
Greek Allies works to find allies to the LGBT community, educate the community and empower Greek Life members who are also LGBT, according to its website. The group meets once a month in the LGBTQ Resource Center in the lower level of the MU Student Center.
The three directors of Greek Allies, junior Kayley Weinberg, junior Lilly Kraus and junior Julianne Sinak, all agreed that Greek Allies is a bridge between the Greek and LGBT communities.
“It’s more of an initiative or an awareness group than a program-based organization,” Weinberg said.
Greek Allies’ first meeting was Sept. 5 in the LGBTQ Resource Center.
“I’ve had an amazing experience in the Greek community, and I’ve had an amazing experience being gay,” Sinak said. “... I think that it’s important to reaffirm to the community that being Greek and gay is normal, and that it’s good.”
On Oct. 10, during MU’s Coming Out Week, Greek Allies will be hosting an event called “Coming Out While Greek.” The event will consist of a panel of Greek life members who will tell their coming out stories or share their stories as allies. It will take place in the LGBTQ Resource Center in place of the October meeting.
“We’re not trying to do more programming,” Kraus said. “Greek Life already has more than enough programs, and we’re not trying to add more. We just focus on supporting the community and on having allies.”
The organization restarted after Weinberg, a Sigma Sigma Sigma Panhellenic Delegate, and Kraus, a Kappa Delta Panhellenic Delegate, heard through a friend that Greek Allies was being taken off the list of organizations. They then made the decision to restart the organization.
“We started talking about how we didn’t think that the Greek community was too queer-friendly, and not because they were rude or ignorant or not accepting, but more because I don’t think people know that they have to be,” Weinberg said. “There are members of the Greek community who are queer, who don’t come out because the community is not necessarily outwardly accepting.”
Sinak, who identifies as lesbian, said she has been lucky.
“I’ve been really lucky in my life,” Sinak said “I haven’t been persecuted as a gay woman. And I know that if I ever was persecuted, my sisters would have my back.”
Weinberg, who identifies as queer, originally was not out when she and Kraus talked about restarting Greek Allies.
“I initially wanted to be an ally, but I started to come out during finals week of last year and over the summer,” Weinberg said.
All of the directors said they were optimistic about the future of Greek Allies.
“It’s an important group because people on the outside may have misconceptions about Greek Life not being accepting,” Kraus said. “This group really allows us to educate the community about what Greek Life stands for and shows that it is not a bigoted group.”
Sinak said the group has an opportunity to show that the Greek Life community is accepting.
“There are plenty of people who don’t think that the Greek community is an accepting one, and it’s just not true,” Sinak said.
Greek Allies recently ordered 400 new Greek Pride T-shirts that will be available during coming out week through Greek Allies.
When discussing about coming out, Sinak said people should not be scared.
“Yes, there are people who will bring negativity, but there are so many more people who will accept you,” Sinak said. “People will surprise you.”
Weinberg said she is excited to see where the semester takes the organization.
“We’re very overwhelmed with the support that we’ve received from all the different chapters and just impressed with the Greek community for how quickly and easily they’ve jumped on this,” she said.