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There is a group of Black lesbians who are giving the brothers of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated (Ques) a real headache. The women have appropriated many of the aspects of the “Divine 9” fraternity and it is causing a heated discussion. The group calls itself Omicron Psi Omega and its website states:
“Omicron Psi Omega, Incorporated was founded on April 21, 2000, in the beautiful city of Tallahassee, FL. We are a Greek organization that prides ourselves in embracing women who self-identify as aggressive, dominant, or masculine within the LGBT community. This Bruh-therhood is like none other. We believe in our family. We also encourage professionalism, advocacy, and the idea that we can uplift our community by leaning on one another for support, motivation and love.”
The women step like Ques, dress like Ques and even exhibit the same behavior that one would see from the men of Omega Psi Phi. But these are not all college students in the organization; the majority of them are adult women who wear male clothing and openly identify as lesbian. The message to some is a confusing one of gender identity and the theft of the traditions of a predominately Black male organization that was founded in 1911 on the campus of Howard University. The fact that this group of Black lesbians wants to organize and have a fellowship among themselves is not an issue. At issue is the message that they are putting forward visually. They are emulating a proud group of Black men and Black male bonding and sexual identity. This includes hyper sexualized behavior of the steps of the men of Omega Psi Phi and presenting a look of being “hard.” The women of Omicron Psi Omega grab their crotches, stick out their tongues and shout about being lesbian. These women are part of what is called the Rainbow Greek Network, which are organizations that are LGBT themed and oriented. On the website for this network, it lists five Greek letter organizations that are geared towards “feminine lesbians only,” masculine identified lesbians or openly lesbian. The group even has anti-hazing policies for its member organizations.
Gender bending Greek organizations have been around for some time on many HBCU campuses, but often hidden. There have been many instances of gay Black men who call themselves secret Deltas or secret AKAs and dress in the colors of these sororities as well as perform in secret step shows. During these step shows, they strike the same poses that the sororities are famous for and yell out familiar phrase and display the hand signs for the sororities. But the self described “bruh-therhood” of Omicron Psi Omega has taken it to another and someone would say highly disrespectful level. The question is, have these women taken it too far?