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The Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. sorority found itself in the middle of some heated criticism after a report went out that the organization banned transgender women from its ranks. The sorority has reversed course on the reported ban and will now allow transgender women to join its ranks.
Around two weeks ago, the Washington Blade publication reported on Zeta Phi Beta’s diversity statement, which included a line that all potential members must be “cisgender” or born as the sex they identify as. The backlash was strong enough that the organization issued a statment exclusively to ESSENCE, which can be viewed below.
Early Sunday morning, the sorority, which will be celebrating its 100th year of existence next January, released an exclusive statement to ESSENCE, apologizing for the previous diversity statement, and emphasizing that there is no “ban.”
“Since our founding on January 16, 1920, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. has sought to create a sorority that embraces and values all of our members,” the statement read. “Sadly, a previous diversity statement made by our organization fell short of that goal and for that, we offer our deepest apologies.”
Zeta acknowledged that their current membership “already includes transgender women,” noting that “they have always been entitled to the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other member and shall retain the rights, privileges and responsibilities they were endowed with once they took the oath and became a member.”