The men of Alpha Kappa Alpha?
|Professor Locs, aka Charles Easley, is an educator who explores race, class, gender, sexuality, media and popular culture with humor and insight. His column is published here each Wednesday. Opinions expressed are solely his own. Click here to read his blog.|
We are all familiar with the phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Well, there is one group of gay guys who are taking that expression to a whole new level.
A group called Men Interested in Alpha Kappa Alpha (MIAKA) is demanding that members be allowed to join the AKA sorority, which was founded in 1908 at Howard University for African American college women.
These guys are more than interested; they are threatening to sue. MIAKA members feel their rejection by the sorority amounts to discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Come on, guys, the AKAs aren’t denying you membership because of your sexual orientation; they are denying you membership because you pee standing up (well, at least some of you probably do…smile). You are men trying to gain access to an organization established for women. They don’t allow men, period...straight, gay, bi-sexual or asexual.
This Greek gender-bending is not a new phenomenon. The children have been imitating sororities for years, although it has historically been underground. The first time I saw this was during my undergrad years when I was attending a small HBCU in Austin, Texas. Back in the day, HBCUs were not exactly accepting of gay folks, so much of the culture was done discreetly or out at the clubs.
I remember going to one club and seeing a group of guys wearing pink and green, stepping, throwing the AKA sign and “skee weeing” all over the place. This was not a drag show; these guys really thought they were AKAs.
According to KollegeKid.com, MIAKA formed unofficial chapters at both Texas Southern University and Prairie View A & M. Members have been seen wearing AKA colors, throwing up their pinkies and making the AKA “skee-wee” sound.
When did the underground culture become so bold? These guys are walking around campus wearing AKA colors and even holding probate shows? I am surprised there has not been a Basketball Wives-inspired Pink and Green gay boys vs. AKA smack down slap fest!
I have seen fights break out just for walking on rival plots on campus or sitting on a bench when you are not a member. So what do you think would happen if some real AKAs saw anyone -- gay, straight, male or female -- trying to rep something they are not?
Before you other Greek folks get too comfortable, there are similar groups that shadow other sororities and even lesbian groups that pattern themselves after the fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha.
I queried some of my many family members and friends who earned Greek letters, and most see the hijacking of their organizations as disrespectful.
Is this threatened MIAKA lawsuit really about discriminatory practices, or are the AKAs simply trying to uphold traditions and legacies?
A well-respected educator, Mable McLean, president emeritus of Barber-Scotia College, recently passed away, and I attended the service held on campus to honor her memory. I had never witnessed the AKA’s “Ivy Beyond the Wall” ceremony,” and I was truly moved when I saw all of these mostly seasoned divas dressed in white singing and honoring their dear departed sorority sister.
In this day and age of fast food, reality TV stars and disposable culture, it’s nice to know that there are some things that are consistent and steeped in tradition.
I am not Greek, but I know that these organizations offer much more than step shows, throwing signs and wearing colors. Members are given a unique opportunity to enjoy true sisterhood and brotherhood and a commitment to community.
Maybe it would be more progressive if MIAKA members joined established gay Greek organizations like Delta Phi Upsilon or Delta Lambda Phi, and build, design and support your own rituals, ceremonies and traditions rather than biting off the work of other established groups.
I’m just saying.
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