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Lambda Chi Alpha Pride: Fostering Belonging

In recognition of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, our Chapter Support and Health & Wellness team wanted to share some data about Brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha who self-identify within the LGBTQ+ community. Through our confidential study of our Collegiate Brothers over the past two years, we’ve been able to identify trends in our membership, especially as they relate to identity, and how we can ever-strive towards a more equal membership.  

After the second year of the Collegiate Brotherhood survey with Dyad Strategies, we noticed an increase in Collegiate Brothers who self-identify as LGBTQ+. From 2020 to 2021, Lambda Chi Alpha Brothers identifying as a part of this community rose from 5.43% to over 10%. In 2020, 92.82% of Brothers completing the survey identified as straight; in 2021, 81.8% of Brothers completing the survey identified as straight. This represents a ten percent difference in Brothers identifying as straight along with twice as many Brothers identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This is valuable to note as Brothers may have not have felt comfortable or willing to answer and our LGBTQ+ community may be even larger. The remaining Brothers responding to the survey preferred not to answer or didn’t answer at all.  

This trend reinforces our commitment that Lambda Chi Alpha has a vested interest in creating supportive environments for our Brothers in the LGBTQ+ community, as a significant percentage of our Brotherhood belongs to this community. This conversation is always relevant, and we’re using LGBTQ+ Pride Month to bring it to the forefront (LGBT Pride Month, n.d.). Pride Month is celebrated annually to recognize the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. This was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. (LGBT Pride Month, n.d.).The LGBTQ+ community is ever-evolving, as illustrated by the Pride flag, so taking time to learn more about the history could be a valuable way to be more inclusive as a Brother. 

Creating a supportive environment for Brothers to fully be themselves may create a space for someone who hasn’t been fully able to be their true self. You may not know who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community in your chapter, so let’s find ways to honor our Brothers and best friends for who they are, even if they’re not ready to share that side of themselves yet. We know belonging increases other altruistic dynamics of brotherhood like accountability and retention of Brothers; this is all impacted by this inclusive environment. You can learn more about creating these supportive environments from this resource from the Canada Human Rights Trust

One of the trends we identified as it related to our LGBTQ+ Brothers and their responses to the Brotherhood survey is that their Net Promoter Score (NPS) is lower than that of straight Brothers (25 vs. 49). NPS measures customer experience on a scale of -100 to +100. With Lambda Chi Alpha having the second-highest NPS of any fraternity Dyad Strategies surveys, this is an area of opportunity that would serve us well to improve upon and address. We were also able to identify that LGBTQ+ members’ satisfaction scores are increasing at a far higher rate than Brothers identifying as straight (12→38 vs. 47→51). This means that the longer a Brother is in the chapter, the more likely they will be to identify as a promoter of the organization.  

Additionally, our LGBTQ+ members view their chapter experience as less inclusive (4.1) than straight members (4.2) when compared using a t-test with a p≤.05. This means the data is statistically significant and more likely to be applied to the broader population of Lambda Chi Alpha. Each of the mentioned scales is out of 5. In general, LGBTQ+ members have lower accountability (4.2 vs. 4.3), belonging (4.1 vs. 4.3), solidarity (3.7 vs. 3.9), and shared social experience scores (3.7 vs. 4.0) than their straight counterparts.  

This looks different chapter to chapter, but is a reminder that treating others how they want to be treated, the platinum rule, is valuable as we support Brothers from a variety of identities. Knowing what we know from the data, it’s worth looking at your chapter operations and identifying ways you may be unintentionally excluding Brothers from the LGBTQ+ community. This is a mental health and support opportunity for you and your brotherhood. More resources can be found through the Jed Foundation.  

Some questions to ask yourself may be: 

  • Do you use terms such as partner, plus one, and date instead of girlfriend? 
  • Do you let the use of homophobic and offensive language slide in day-to-day conversations? 
  • Do you promote the LGBTQ+ resources, spaces, and affinity groups on your campus and in your community? 
  • Do you allow freedom of gender expression of our members? 
  • Do you use gender-inclusive language? (e.g. hi y’all or hi everyone instead of hi guys) 
  • Do you consider LGBTQ+ philanthropy or community service opportunities?  
  • How do you manage member on member sexual violence or dating/domestic violence? 
  • Do you discuss sex, sexuality, and gender identity in Kappa/Fraternity Education sessions?  
  • Is your messaging and programming to Alumni Brothers inclusive of transgender alumni? 
  • Do you allow freedom of gender expression in apparel choices for events, composites, and programming? 
  • Do you advocate for members to use pronouns that best fit their identity? 
  • Do you use the pronouns that members request? 

Your Chapter Coach is here to help! If you think your chapter may have cultural issues that are excluding Brothers identifying within the LGBTQ+ community, reach out to your Chapter Coach for resources and programming to help address this.  

Correlation does not always prove causation, so it’s valuable to dive deeper into the dataset and identify what else may be going on to impact your chapter’s NPS and Brotherhood metrics. The Office of Administration is also interested in conducting focus groups with these members to identify ways that would further support the intersection between their identity and their Lambda Chi Alpha experience. If you’re interested in participating in a focus group and/or discussing this further, please reach out to our Director of Chapter Support & Wellness, Jessie Ashton, at jashton@lambdachi.org

LGBT Pride Month. (n.d.). Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/ 

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