#TSRUpdatez: #ZetaPhiBeta Sorority, Inc. made headlines a while back after an article published in the #WashingtonBlade revealed a recently adopted “diversity statement”. The statement apparently specified that “an individual must be a cisgender woman” to join the organization.

The organization is now speaking out, apologizing for the previous diversity statement, which was adopted by the sorority’s International Executive Board on January 12th, according to @essence.



The organization insists 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,” according to a statement obtained by Essence. “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.”

“To be clear,” the organization wrote in the statement, “there is no ban.”

Zeta added that it was in the process of updating its membership guidelines in order to “provide additional guidance” to the organization.”

The statement added, “We have always aimed to foster an inclusive and diverse sisterhood and remain committed to being an organization that embraces scholarship, provides true service and sets the standard for sisterly love.”

The organization was founded nearly 100 years ago on the campus of Howard University in Washington D.C.

Zeta Phi Beta has more than 100,000 members in 800 chapters spread across the United States, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, according to its website. Five students formed the organization at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was running rampant, but the Harlem Renaissance was also offering an outlet for Black people to demonstrate their talents, the website says.

TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh