Written by Karen “Eleven” Gonzalez
New York is one of the most liberal and diverse cities in our nation. As you’ll find, our sorority embraces that and prides itself on such diversity. This was one reason I was called to rush, although I had no idea what I could do for this sorority and vice versa. I was also interested in the philanthropic side of the organization, which had sister causes that deeply resonated with me.
At the time, I was very soft spoken. I wanted to gain more confidence and better social skills that would transfer into a professional career when I graduated from college. Since joining, I have definitely matured in that aspect. I continue to push myself to reach my greatest potential as a sister and woman. More importantly, I have found a wonderful support system in my sisters.
I have been a member of the LGBT+ community since I was in middle school. Because people assume heterosexuality, coming out to every new person I meet is something that comes with being a lesbian. Doing so with the sorority meant I could live authentically and with an incomparable openness with my sisters. I have faced discrimination for this thing that I cannot change about myself but these women motivate me to be strong and fearless in the wake of adversity.
Earlier this year, we participated in the NOH8 campaign. It combines two of my favorite things — photography and advocacy -and was one of my favorite events to date. It sparked conversation. I cannot express how important it is to acknowledge the tragedies that the LGBT+ community has experienced and counteract stigmas wherever they exist.
We also attended Pride together. It’s one of those things you have to go to at least once, for the experience. While the first time I went was with my dad, this second time with my sisters was different. It was amazing how much support overflowed in the streets of New York. People were unapologetically the truest version of themselves and were demanding that their voices never be silenced — that is my favorite part of Pride. I shared so many laughs and took so many pictures along the way.
At the end of the day, the support I receive from my sisters is unwavering. Each sister is learning about herself, is at a different stage of her growth, and this sorority facilitates that growth. As a result, their solace has helped me to finally be comfortable in my own skin.