Echo Inducts Stevie Tran into Hall of Fame

By Staff, November 2017 Issue. Meet the rest of the Class of 2017 here.

Stevie Tran is an attorney, published author, and speaker whose scholarship has been focused on the intersection of diversity litigation and social issues in the transgender community.

Tran called Arizona home from 2003 to 2010, and, during that period she left a lasting impression on the Valley of the Sun. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from Arizona State University in political science, with minors in Japanese and women and gender studies as well as a LGBT studies certificate.

In 2005, Tran became a member of Sigma Phi Beta Fraternity which offers “a unique social and educational environment for our members within the traditional Greek fraternity system, while providing all open-minded men in college with career and character building opportunities” to gay, straight, bisexual, and transgender men in college.

“Without my fraternity, I do not know where I would be,” Tran said, adding that she held various positions within the chapter throughout her collegiate experience, including chapter president.

As Tran’s gender expression became more feminine, members of her fraternity began to ask questions around membership as it pertained to transgender individuals. As a result, the fraternity formed a transgender working group that led to the National Council’s enactment of its Policy on Gender, which provides that any individual who identifies as male, regardless of sex assigned at birth, is eligible for membership in Sigma Phi Beta. It further provides that no member may lose their membership rights as a result of a change in gender identity or gender expression.

“Because of this Policy on Gender, I felt affirmed. I felt like I was seen. And I felt like my fraternity truly was living consistently with these values of lifelong Brotherhood,” she said. “To see myself in the words of the Constitution of my organization and to know that my Brothers have created a place for me was pivotal in the way that I viewed where I belonged in the fraternity. It was empowering to know that I would never lose my brotherhood along my journey of self-realization.”

It was through this research and subsequent validation, that other young trans folks deserved the same opportunity to experience the supportive friendships that she found in Sigma Phi Beta – especially when, like in her case, college serves as the first time they feel safe enough to be honest with themselves and those around them.

“My fraternity provided me opportunities to interact with other campus organizations and members in the community, even as I continued with my transition," she explained. "When I became chapter president, I regular sat together in meetings with the presidents of the other men’s organizations. There I was, visibly different – very different – from the men around me. Yet, I somehow found the confidence to enter spaces that may have never seen a transgender person, and I found my place at the table among my peers. I never thought I would have these kinds of opportunities. Despite my differences, my fraternity helped me to understand that I am capable, that I am able to have goals for my future, and that I have the skills and the experience that will support me in my future endeavors."

As part of the next chapter of her journey, Tran continued to examine the intersection of fraternal law and the role Title IX played in ensuring transgender individuals had access to these spaces. In doing so, she published several pieces on the topic, including “Transgenderless,” which was published by the Harvard Journal of Law & Gender.

“It’s inspiring to see how the fraternal community is not afraid to take the lead and address this issue within each of their own organizations,” she said. “Many have already determined that trans men and women have a place in this community, and I’m ready to support those who are still working through the research and development of their own policies.”

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