Although my first year of college brought me many adventures along with five of my best friends, like many freshmen, I walked into summer break feeling as though I had not grown to feel quite at home at UCSB. Perhaps it was the distance from home or simply the adjustment to unsupervised life, but the change that coming to college brought left me feeling immensely lonely and unsettled. While I was sure other students felt this way, I couldn’t help but feel isolated when scrolling through the pictures and stories of my dormmates going out with their sorority sisters or bonding at a sunset sisterhood event that littered my Instagram feed. For one reason or another, college life seemed easier for the girls who rushed, and seeing this, I started to consider joining Greek life myself.
As the summer passed by, I went back and forth between whether or not I would rush a sorority the coming fall. I would ask myself questions: Am I pretty enough? Will anyone like me? Where will I fit in? However, the most pressing question that continued to dominate my thoughts was “Will they care that I am Pansexual?”
While Greek life seemed enticing, I had never once seen any part of the LGBTQ community being represented within the community. This made me nervous, and of course I wondered if there were any LGBTQ people at all in some of the houses. However, I realized that if I was going to join a sorority, they should want me for who I am entirely, not just hand-picked aspects of my being, but my whole self; this was the only way I would find the true sisterhood I so craved.
As the rush process began, I could feel myself shaking in my boots, or in this case heels, as I approached each house. Walking through the doors with a new stranger each time, I wondered whether my sexual identity would come up or if it would even matter. As I conversed with the girls of each house, to my surprise, I found myself feeling comfortable enough to bring up my sexuality on my own. Each time I would discuss my sexual identity, the girl with whom I was speaking reacted as though it were completely normal and continued to ask questions, interested in getting to know who I was. This was not to say that they dismissed my “coming out.” On the contrary, they acknowledged and accepted my sexual identity, but continued to ask questions about other aspects of my life because they did not view my sexuality as the entirety of my being.
For me, the idea that people are able to see me beyond my sexual identity is extremely important. While I am a proud member of the LGBTQ community, I am also much more than simply “pansexual.” I am a writer, a dancer, a musician, someone who appreciates a good sunset, and an avid napper. During rush, I never once felt as though someone saw me as just my sexual identity. Moreover, I found a number of girls who also identified as LGBTQ and was able to connect with them through both the community as well as a number of other similarities.
By the end of the rush process, my fears regarding being LGBTQ and in a sorority had diminished. I eventually chose the house I felt was a home, and they chose me for who I am in my entirety.
This being said, I understand that my personal rush process as a member of the LGBTQ community may have been different or even easier than the experience of others. However, I strongly encourage those in my community who are considering rushing to do it! I know it is nerve wracking, but coming from someone who was terrified, I am so incredibly happy that I took a leap of faith and decided to join the Greek community. Through my sorority, I have made some of the most meaningful friendships in my life and have found a community that truly feels like a second home. As cheesy as it sounds, I love my sisters, and they love me; I truly could not ask for anything more.