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Greek–letter lesbian fraternity receives first pledges

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Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 12:00 am

Four women became the first to pledge Chi Lambda Theta Fraternity, UF's only Greek-letter organization for lesbians, on Feb. 2.

Three UF students founded the fraternity on Aug. 22 to provide a home for lesbians who either appear or choose to have masculine characteristics, said Tasha Owens, one of the founders.

Masculine women simply do not fit in with traditional sororities, she said.

"I felt like I couldn't fit in with a normal sorority because I don't wear dresses and skirts and heels," she said.

Owens said she still wanted to experience sisterhood with the deep bonds that typically develop in Greek organizations.

The group was founded as a fraternity rather than a sorority because many masculine lesbians do not identify with feminine ideals, she said.

"The term 'fraternity' is more encompassing," she said.

According to Tamara Cohen, director of multicultural and diversity affairs in the UF Dean of Students Office, the number of organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students is limited.

"In terms of student organizations, there is basically the Pride Student Union," she said. "There aren't a lot of other options."

Cohen, also the former director of LGBT affairs at UF, said many LGBT students consider Greek life because they are searching for ways to connect and belong. While some Greek organizations are open to LGBT students, she said many are not.

"There are many students that feel they would face a lot of opposition if they tried to become a part of the Greek community while they were out," she said.

Kesha Miller, another founder and a UF sophomore, said the group is doing extremely well for how recently it was founded.

"We haven't had any bad reactions thus far," she said. "But, we also haven't had any big events."

Miller said she has nothing against Greek life and noted that the group follows the traditional Greek recruitment and pledge process.

"We're not trying to take away from any sorority or fraternity," she said. "We're just trying to give people a home and a place to bond."

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