EUGENE, Ore. -- With school back in session, fraternities and sororities have started their recruiting process, too. This year, one transgender man is playing a crucial role in the recruitment process for his chapter.
Sophomore Oliver Cochener grew up in a conservative town in Kansas. He decided he wanted to transition at 14 years old, and he was not accepted by many family and friends.
At the University of Oregon, he decided to rush and was given a bid to join the fraternity Delta Upsilon. Cochener said he wants his personal experience in Greek life to pave the way for others.
“I feel like it helps other people who are LGBTQ realize that they would be accepted into this fraternity, that they wouldn’t be shunned out for being who they are and that it would help people feel comfortable," Cochener said.
Delta Upsilon members said that most of their house is made up of minorities. Their goal to be welcoming and eliminate the negative connotation fraternities carry.
“Sometimes you don't get that especially when there is hyper masculinity perpetuated in some of the fraternity environments," said Bryant McLaughlin, president of Delta Upsilon. "People don't really get to be themselves. They are trying to be what they think is the typical frat guy.”
McLaughlin said having Cochener on the other side of the recruiting process this year has been a been a big benefit for them. Delta Upsilon hopes their welcoming ways will pave the way for others.