Imperial Court System

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Imperial Court System logo

Imperial Court System Grand Duchess and Duke XVIII Vivian Lee St. Michael and Ken St. Michael of the Royal Grand Ducal of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California

The Imperial Court System (ICS) also known as the International Court System is one of the oldest and largest LGBT organizations in the world. The Imperial Court System is a grassroots network of organizations that works to build community relationships for equality and raise monies for charitable causes through the production of annual Gala Coronation Balls that invite an unlimited audience of attendees to be presented at Royal Court in their fanciest attire throughout North Americaalong with numerous other fundraisers each year, all for the benefit of their communities. The Imperial Court System is the second largest LGBT organization in the world, surpassed only by the Metropolitan Community Church.[1]

History[edit]

The Imperial Court System in the United States was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1965 by José Sarria. Sarria, affectionately known as “Mama José” or similar among Imperial Court members, adopted the surname “Widow Norton” as a reference to Joshua Norton, a much-celebrated citizen of 19th-century San Francisco who had declared himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859.[2]

Sarria soon became the nexus of a fundraising group with volunteer members bearing titles of nobility bestowed by yearly elected figurehead leaders of Emperor and Empress. In the United States, the first court outside of San Francisco was in Portland, Oregon, which joined with San Francisco in 1971 to start the Court System, followed by Seattle, and then by Vancouver (through an accord with The Empress of Canada, Ted Northe, who founded the Canadian Court System in 1964; which created the International Court System). These empires operated and formed policies more-or-less independently until an Imperial Court Council led by Sarria was formed to prevent participation by groups that were not strictly and solely involved with charitable fundraising.[2][3]

For years, some chapters of the Canadian Imperial Courts remained outside the recognition of the Widow Norton and the Imperial Court Council for various reasons, some regulatory and some related to dispute over Northe’s title. Eventually ICS leadership recognized Northe as The Empress of All Canada, thus resulting in most Canadian chapters joining together with the American courts thus creating the International Court System.[4] In 1997, Northe was among the first recipients of the “José Honors Award” handed out by Sarria.[2][5]

Infrequently, a schism within a court chapter has given rise to a “rogue court” unrecognized by the organization as a whole. Most of these so-called “rogue courts” or “rival courts” have collapsed and dissolved within a few years.[2]

Structure[edit]

Each individual court chapter (or “Empire”) is a separate, legally-incorporated charitable non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for various charities and civic causes for people in need within its realm. Each chapter has its own Board of Directors and is financially responsible for its own management. In addition to local non-profit status, many courts in the United States have Federal 501(c) status.

The Imperial Court Council, created in 1995, is an incorporated non-profit organization created to advise chapters of the Imperial Court System and, when necessary, to grant or rescind recognition by the ICS as a whole. The Council also urges a degree of consistency regarding matters of protocol via proclamations which are generally observed by all chapters.[2][6]

On 17 February 2007, Sarria (who turned 84 years old in December 2006) officially passed the leadership of the ICS to Empress Nicole the Great of San Diego, CA (real nameNicole Murray-Ramirez), who held the designation of Heir Apparent 1st in Line of Succession, in a ceremony held in Seattle, Washington.[6] [7]

Nicole the Great has been the titular leader of the ICS for the past seven years holding the title of and “Queen Mother I of the Americas” and has been assisted in this capacity by her Privy Council made up of Empress Coco LaChine of New York, NY, Emperor Rick Ford of Long Beach, California, Empress Milo of San Diego, California, Empress Jack-E of Reno, Nevada, Empress Panzi of New York, New York, Empress Remy Martin of San Francisco, and other Imperial Court Council members. Queen Mother Nicole the Great has created her own line of succession replacing those formerly so designated by Sarria. Like those monarchs in the former line of succession, these “Heirs Apparent” comprise the current day International Court Council.[6][7]

After Ted Northe’s death in May 2014,[8] Avaughna Sanoir was selected as the new Empress of Canada in June.[9] This title is currently not recognized by the ICS as of September 2014.

Chapters[edit]

The Imperial Court System over the past almost fifty years has grown to represent communities in 86 different locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Some realms cover entire states, such as Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii or Iowa, while others cover cities such as the city of Toronto, counties or regions, the communities of Alameda County, California or the Greater Niagara Region.[10]

Most chapters are Imperial Courts and are also known as “Empires”. A few chapters are called “ducal court” (infrequently called a “duchy”) or “barony” (infrequently called a “baronial court”). The term ducal court is typically used in the rare situation when one chapter’s area overlaps with the territory of an already established chapter, as is the case with the Grand Ducal Council of San Francisco and the Grand Ducal Council of Alameda. The term barony is typically used when a new chapter has yet to fully be elevated to the level of infrastructure and successful fundraising characteristic with those chapters deemed full-fledged Imperial Courts. Except for the titles used by the monarchs (i.e. baroness rather than empress, etc.) baronial and ducal chapters function in essentially the same way as those chapters headed by Emperor’s and Empresses.[10]

Indicative of the ICS’s continued growth, in the past decade, three of North America’s largest metropolitan areas — Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC, — established baronies which have since become prominent and successful Imperial Courts.[11][12]

As the oldest chapter in the organization, the Imperial Court of San Francisco is considered the “Mother Court” of the Imperial Court System. The term “Mother Court” is also used for a court chapter who grants the recognition and establishment a new court. For example, the Imperial Court of Rhode Island is the Mother Court of the Imperial Court of Massachusetts.[3]

Titles[edit]

Each court holds an annual “coronation” (or “adornment” in the case of baronies and ducal courts) which is usually the chapter’s largest fundraiser and is attended by both local people and members of other chapters from across North America. The evening culminates with the ceremony in which the new monarch or monarchs are crowned. The method by which monarchs are selected varies from chapter to chapter, ranging from election by vote among the active membership in closed session to election by open vote of the community region in which individuals are residents…held between one week to up to six months before the coronation to election by all in attendance on the night of the ceremony.[13]

The office of monarch is taken very seriously within the court system and requires a large commitment of the holder’s time and money. Accordingly, while the presence of an “imperial couple” is the norm, it is not uncommon for an emperor or empress to reign alone depending on the availability of suitably dedicated and charismatic candidates with the necessary resources to fulfil the requirements of a one year reign.[13]

In the most frequent case, several weeks after coronation the new monarch or monarchs present their court titles at a fundraiser called investitures. The titles given to members vary from one chapter to another and are primarily left to the discretion of the reigning monarch or monarchs, the fons honorum (fountain of honor) of their chapter.

Typical titles awarded are Imperial Crown Prince, Grand Duchess, Marquess, Viscount, etc. Other appellations bestowed resemble offices or professions within a medieval or modern noble court rather than titles of nobility, such as “Court Jester” or “Chancellor of the Realm” and so forth. These titles may be as serious-sounding or as humorouslycampy as the monarchs wish.[13]

Titles are traditionally based upon those used by European nobility (especially the British Peerage) but nothing prohibits the creation of titles such as Czarina, Raja or Sultan and these are sometimes used as well.

Noble titles are ranked according to an order of precedence so that, for example, a member who has been created a duke takes precedence over a member who has been created a countess. The main effect of this hierarchy involves the order that members are introduced during “protocol”, a ceremonial procedure endemic to the Imperial Court in which courts are presented with courtiers titles read by the master of ceremonies as members approach the presiding monarchs of the coronation. This bit of pageantry, which is typically reserved for coronations and similar large events, gives Imperial Court members an opportunity to display their titles as well as costumes to the assembled crowd.[13]

Monarchs, both reigning and former, are typically allowed to create various societies, clubs, houses, fraternities, sonorities and so forth. These are typically for the sole purpose of granting membership to people they wish to honor. Many of these have colorful names that are either grandiose, humorous or both. Examples include the House of Fairies, Friends and Frivolity, the Order of the Far East, The Society of the Crown and Scepter, “La Casa De Milagros” – The House of Miracles, etc. In some cases, membership is exclusive; in other cases, it is granted relatively indiscriminately. Unlike titles, these memberships are rarely if ever regulated by chapters’ by-laws or boards of directors.

Similar to society memberships are “family titles” such as the Foxx Family Den or the Surreal Family Dynasty. Monarchs often name people as sons, daughters, brothers, uncles, and so forth. These are likewise typically unregulated within the system and may be granted as freely or as sparingly as a monarch wishes.[14]

Fundraising[edit]

Due to the decentralized nature of the organization and inconsistent record keeping in some chapters early in their histories, it is difficult to estimate the total amount of money raised by the ICS. Proceeds from the Imperial Court of New York City‘s renowned “Night of a Thousand Gowns” have resulted in as much as $67,000 donationed to its charitable recipients in a single weekend. Since its inception, the Imperial Court de San Diego has raised at least $1 million.[6][15] In 2008 (Reign 22), The Imperial Court of Toronto awarded their charities $60,000 under Emperor 22 Hunter James and Empress 22 Tiffany Louise-Charles.

Each court conducts numerous fundraisers throughout the year. Drag shows, ranging in size from performances at local bars to events in hotel ballrooms and other large venues, are the main way in which revenue is raised for charity. Especially in recent years, court chapters have diversified their fundraising strategies to include yard sales, giftraffles, etc. Court members also solicit donations at LGBT events, gay pride parades and other public events.

Imperial Court chapters donate the funds raised to a variety of causes including those related to AIDS, breast cancer, domestic abuse, and homelessness. Empires have also established or contributed to a variety of scholarships. Court chapters receive frequent recognition by elected officials and celebrities for their humanitarian contributions.

Unlike many other large charitable fundraising organizations, the Imperial Court System is composed entirely of volunteers. There are no paid positions within the Imperial Court System and both the culture of the Court System and the regulations set down by the boards of directors of each chapter prohibit any member from profiting from the Imperial Court or its activities. Rather, depending on individual level of involvement with the system, many court members spend hundreds or thousands of dollars of their own money each year on costumes, travel to events in other parts of North America, and donations to various charitable beneficiaries.

Membership[edit]

While composed primarily of homosexual and transgender people, membership is open to all. Gay, bisexual, transgender and straight people have all served as monarchs and court members in the system’s history.[16] Drag queens and other sorts of cross-dressers collectively comprise about half of the membership.

The Court System also appeals to people interested in various forms of costume and dress-up who are willing to lend their enthusiasm to the court’s culture of charitable fundraising. Included among these are people involved with the leather fetishism and leather subcultures, members of the Society for Creative Anachronism and similar historical reenactment hobbyists, various types of cosplay enthusiasts, and so on.

Most court members, especially monarchs, past-monarchs and those aspiring towards a throne, wear an assortment of regalia including elaborate crowns, bejeweled chains of office and other costume jewelry which is often custom-made for the wearer.

Related groups[edit]

Many court members are involved with other LGBT groups, especially non-profit groups that provide charitable services directly rather than providing the funds for such services as ICS does. Besides these, two specific spheres of activity have relevance to ICS history:

Competitive pageantry: Some court members have also been involved with competitive pageantry, especially drag pageants and the various leather competitions through which people may qualify for International Mister Leather. Like the ICS, these competitions provide an opportunity to garner titles while showcasing one’s appearance and talents. Some court chapters grew out of the sphere of competitive pageantry and some courts conduct annual competitive “Mr. Gay. ..” and “Miss Gay. ..” (or similarly named) pageants as part of their fundraising schedule.[17][18][19]

Ball culture: Less frequently, the Imperial Court System has had overlapping membership and joint ventures with drag houses of the type documented in Paris is Burning. For example, during the 1990s the annual “Snow Ball” in Hartford was both a coronation and a competition in which contestants did “walks” in various specific categories in order to win trophies. The ICS has innumerable “houses” within its ranks as mentioned above. However, unlike ballroom scene houses such as The House of Xtravaganza and House of Labeija, houses within the IICS are not an important means of organization within the group and there is no limit to the number of houses to which a person can belong.[14][20][21]

See also

Fraternal / sorority Orders around the world

Social or general fraternities and sororities, in the North American fraternity system, are those that do not promote a particular profession (as professional fraternities are) or discipline (such as service fraternities and sororities). Instead, their primary purposes are often stated as the development of character, literary or leadership ability, or a more simple social purpose. Some organizations in this list have a specific major listed as a traditional emphasis. These organizations are social organizations which cater to students in those majors. Other organizations listed have a traditional emphasis in a specific religion or ethnic background. Despite this emphasis, most organizations have non-discrimination membership policies.

Fraternity is usually understood to mean a social organization composed only of men, and sorority one of women, although many women’s organizations also refer to themselves as fraternities. For the purposes of this article, national also includes international organizations, and local refers to organizations that are composed of only one chapter. This list is not exhaustive and does not include local organizations that do not have Wikipedia articles.

International

Australia

Fraternities or lodges were an important part of Australian society in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. They were gradually replaced by “service clubs“, such asLions, Apex, Rotary, etc. By the end of the 20th century, all the fraternities had been wound up[clarification needed] except for the Freemasons and a few lodges of the Buffaloes. The reasons for their decline probably have something to do with generational change and bemusement at the secretive rites that all fraternities had, as the service clubs that succeeded them did fairly similar charitable work.

No general history has been written, but some of the many lodges that operated in the state of Victoria were:

  • Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes,
  • Druids,
  • Foresters,
  • Freemasons,
  • Odd Fellows ,

Of course in those sectarian times there had to be two different lodges for those of Irish descent:

Canada

Europe

South Africa

United States

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional Emphasis
Acacia (Chapters) AKAKIA 1904 NIC Masonic (Masonic membership no longer required)[1]
Adelphikos Αδελφικοσ 1913 Local, Grove City College Christian
Alpha Beta Chi ΑΒΧ 1941 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Alpha Chi Alpha ΑΧΑ 1919 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Alpha Chi Rho (Chapters) ΑΧΡ 1895 NIC Traditional
Alpha Delta ΑΔ 1847 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Alpha Delta Gamma (Chapters) ΑΔΓ 1924 NIC Jesuit
Alpha Delta Phi (Chapters) ΑΔΦ 1832 NIC Originally a secret literary society, now traditional
Alpha Epsilon Pi (Chapters) ΑΕΠ 1913 NIC Jewish
Alpha Gamma Omega ΑΓΩ 1927 Unaffiliated Christian
Alpha Gamma Rho (Chapters) ΑΓΡ 1904 NIC Agricultural
Alpha Iota Omicron ΑΙΟ 1998 Unaffiliated South Asian[2]
Alpha Kappa Lambda (Chapters) ΑΚΛ 1914 NIC Traditional
Alpha Phi Alpha ΑΦΑ 1906 NIC, NPHC African-American
Alpha Phi Delta ΑΦΔ 1914 NIC Italian-American
Alpha Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΑΣΦ 1845 NIC Originally secret sophomore society, now traditional
Alpha Tau Omega (Chapters) ΑΤΩ 1865 NIC Founded on Christian principles, now traditional
Beta Chi Theta (Chapters) ΒΧΘ 1999 NIC, NAPA South Asian
Beta Epsilon Gamma Gamma Alpha Rho Sigma ΒΕΓΓΑΡΣ 1923 Local, Loyola University New Orleans Jesuit
Beta Kappa Gamma ΒΚΓ 1999 Unaffiliated Asian[3]
Beta Sigma Psi (Chapters) ΒΣΨ 1925 NIC Lutheran[4]
Beta Theta Pi (Chapters) ΒΘΠ 1839 NIC Traditional[5]
Beta Upsilon Chi ΒΥΧ 1985 Unaffiliated Christian
Bones Gate BG 1901 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Gamma Epsilon ΧΓΕ 1905 (1987) Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Heorot ΧH 1897 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Chi Phi (Chapters) ΧΦ 1824 NIC Traditional
Chi Psi (Chapters) ΧΨ 1841 NIC Traditional
Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau ΓΣΤ 1871 NMGC Multicultural
Delta Chi (Chapters) ΔΧ 1890 NIC Originally a law fraternity, now traditional
Delta Epsilon Psi ΔΕΨ 1998 NIC South Asian
Delta Gamma Iota ΔΓΙ 1965 Unaffiliated national Traditional[6]
Delta Kappa Epsilon (Chapters) ΔΚΕ 1844 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Delta Lambda Phi ΔΛΦ 1986 NIC Gay, bisexual, progressive
Delta Rho Upsilon ΔΡΥ 1929 Local/Traditional
Delta Omega Epsilon ΔΩΕ 1985 Unaffiliated national Traditional[7]
Delta Phi (Chapters) ΔΦ 1827 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Delta Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΔΣΦ 1899 NIC Traditional/Social
Delta Tau Delta (Chapters) ΔΤΔ 1858 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Delta Theta Sigma ΔΘΣ 1906 Unaffiliated National Agricultural[8]
Delta Upsilon (Chapters) ΔΥ 1834 NIC Traditional
Epsilon Sigma Rho ΕΣΡ 1986 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[9]
FarmHouse (Chapters) FH 1905 NIC Agricultural
Gamma Omega Delta ΓΩΔ 1989 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[10]
Gamma Zeta Alpha (Chapters) ΓΖΑ 1987 NALFO Latino[11]
Iota Nu Delta ΙΝΔ 1994 NIC South Asian
Iota Phi Theta ΙΦΘ 1963 NIC, NPHC African-American
Kappa Alpha Order (Chapters) ΚΑ 1865 NIC Traditional/Social
Kappa Alpha Society (Chapters) ΚΑ 1825 NIC Originally literary society, traditional/social
Kappa Alpha Psi (Chapters) ΚΑΨ 1911 NIC, NPHC African-American
Kappa Delta Phi (Chapters) ΚΔΦ 1900 NIC Traditional
Kappa Delta Rho (Chapters) ΚΔΡ 1905 NIC Traditional
Kappa Kappa Kappa ΚΚΚ 1842 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Kappa Sigma (Chapters) ΚΣ 1869 Unaffiliated national Traditional[12]
Kappa Upsilon Chi ΚΥΧ 1993 Unaffiliated Christian[13]
Lambda Alpha Upsilon (Chapters) ΛΑΥ 1985 NALFO Latino
Lambda Chi Alpha (Chapters) ΛΧΑ 1909 NIC Traditional
Lambda Iota Society ΛΙ 1836 Local, University of Vermont Originally secret literary society, Traditional
Lambda Phi Epsilon (Chapters) ΛΦΕ 1981 NIC, NAPA Asian
Lambda Sigma Upsilon (Chapters) ΛΣΥ 1979 NALFO, NIC Latino
Lambda Theta Phi (Chapters) ΛΘΦ 1975 NALFO, NIC Latino
Lambda Upsilon Lambda (Chapters) ΛΥΛ 1982 NALFO Latino
Men of God 1999 UCCFS Christian[14]
Nu Alpha Kappa (Chapters) ΝΑΚ 1988 NIC Latino
Nu Sigma Beta ΝΣΒ 1937 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Omega Delta Phi (Chapters) ΩΔΦ 1987 NIC Latino
Omega Psi Phi (Chapters) ΩΨΦ 1911 NPHC African-American
Phi Beta Sigma (Chapters) ΦΒΣ 1914 NIC, NPHC African-American
Phi Delta Alpha ΦΔΑ 1884 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Phi Delta Gamma ΦΔΓ 1942 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Delta Psi ΦΔΨ 1977 Unaffiliated national African-American[15]
Phi Delta Theta (Chapters) ΦΔΘ 1848 NIC Originally nonsectarian, Traditional
Phi Epsilon Chi ΦEX 1943 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Eta Kappa ΦΗΚ 1906 Local, University of Maine Traditional
Phi Eta Mu ΦΗΜ 1923 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Phi Gamma Delta (Chapters) FIJI 1848 NIC Traditional
Phi Iota Alpha (Chapters) ΦΙΑ 1931 NIC Latino
Phi Kappa Pi ΦΚΠ 1913 Unaffiliated, Canadian national Traditional[16]
Phi Kappa Psi (Chapters) ΦΚΨ 1852 NIC Originally service, traditional
Phi Kappa Sigma (Chapters) ΦΚΣ 1850 NIC Originally secret order, traditional
Phi Kappa Tau (Chapters) ΦΚΤ 1906 NIC Traditional
Phi Kappa Theta (Chapters) ΦΚΘ 1889 NIC Catholic
Phi Lambda Chi (Chapters) ΦΛΧ 1925 NIC Traditional
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia ΦΜΑ 1898 NIMC Music
Phi Mu Delta (Chapters) ΦΜΔ 1918 NIC Originally Commons Club, traditional
Phi Rho Eta ΦΡΗ 1994 Unaffiliated national African-American[17]
Phi Sigma Alpha (Chapters) ΦΣΑ 1928 CIPFI Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Phi Sigma Chi ΦΣΧ 1996 NMGC Multicultural[18]
Phi Sigma Gamma ΦΣΓ 1915-1916 Unaffiliated national Osteopathic Medicine
Phi Sigma Kappa (Chapters) ΦΣΚ 1873 NIC Traditional
Phi Sigma Nu ΦΣΝ 1996 Unaffiliated national Native American
Phi Sigma Phi ΦΣΦ 1988 NIC Traditional[19]
Pi Alpha Phi (Chapters) ΠΑΦ 1929 NAPA Asian
Pi Delta Psi (Chapters) ΠΔΨ 1994 NAPA Asian
Pi Kappa Alpha ΠΚΑ 1868 NIC Traditional
Pi Kappa Phi (Chapters) ΠΚΦ 1904 NIC Traditional
Pi Lambda Phi (Chapters) ΠΛΦ 1895 NIC Traditional
Psi Sigma Phi (Chapters) ΨΣΦ 1990 NMGC Multicultural
Psi Upsilon (Chapters) ΨΥ 1833 NIC Traditional
Seal and Serpent 1905 Local, Cornell University Traditional
Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Chapters) ΣΑΕ 1856 NIC Traditional
Sigma Alpha Mu (Chapters) ΣΑΜ 1909 NIC Jewish
Sigma Beta Rho ΣΒΡ 1996 NIC, NAPA South Asian/Multicultural
Sigma Chi (Chapters) ΣΧ 1855 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Delta Alpha ΣΔΑ 1992 Unaffiliated National Latino
Sigma Lambda Beta (Chapters) ΣΛΒ 1986 NIC Latino
Sigma Nu (Chapters) ΣΝ 1869 NIC Originally anti-hazing, traditional
Sigma Phi Delta (Chapters) ΣΦΔ 1924 NIC Engineering
Sigma Phi Epsilon (Chapters) ΣΦΕ 1901 NIC Traditional
Sigma Phi Society ΣΦ 1827 NIC Originally secret society, traditional
Sigma Pi (Chapters) ΣΠ 1897 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Tau Gamma (Chapters) ΣΤΓ 1920 NIC Originally literary society, traditional
Sigma Thêta Pi ΣΘΠ 2003 Unaffiliated national Francophone Greek
Tau Delta Phi ΤΔΦ 1910 NIC Jewish Social
Tau Epsilon Phi (Chapters) ΤΕΦ 1910 NIC Jewish Social
Tau Kappa Epsilon (Chapters) ΤΚΕ 1899 NIC Traditional
Theta Chi (Chapters) ΘΧ 1856 NIC Traditional/Social
Theta Delta Chi (Chapters) ΘΔΧ 1847 NIC Originally secret society, traditional/Social
Theta Gamma ΘΓ 1912 Unaffiliated national Traditional
Theta Xi (Chapters) ΘΞ 1864 NIC Engineering, social
Triangle Fraternity (Chapters) TriangleDeltaT.png 1907 NIC Engineering, architecture, and Science
Trojan Knights 1921 Local, University of Southern California Traditional
Zeta Beta Tau (Chapters) ΖΒΤ 1898 NIC Originally Jewish, traditional (no religious affiliation)
Zeta Phi Rho ΖΦΡ 1995 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Zeta Psi (Chapters) ΖΨ 1847 NIC Traditional/social

Sororities and women’s fraternities[edit]

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional emphasis
Alpha Chi Omega ΑΧΩ 1885 NPC Originally music, now Traditional
Alpha Delta Chi ΑΔΧ 1925 Unaffiliated Christian
Alpha Delta Pi ΑΔΠ 1851 NPC Originally secret society, traditional
Alpha Epsilon Phi ΑΕΦ 1909 NPC Originally Jewish, traditional
Alpha Gamma Delta (Chapters) ΑΓΔ 1904 NPC Traditional
Alpha Kappa Alpha ΑΚΑ 1908 NPHC African-American
alpha Kappa Delta Phi aΚΔΦ 1990 NAPA Asian
Alpha Nu Omega ΑΝΩ 1988 UCCFS Christian
Alpha Omicron Pi ΑΟΠ 1897 NPC Traditional
Alpha Phi ΑΦ 1872 NPC Traditional
Alpha Phi Gamma ΑΦΓ 1994 NAPA Asian
Alpha Pi Omega ΑΠΩ 1994 Unaffiliated Native American
Alpha Pi Sigma ΑΠΣ 1990 NALFO Latina[20]
Alpha Sigma Alpha (Chapters) ΑΣΑ 1901 NPC Traditional
Alpha Sigma Kappa ΑΣΚ 1989 Unaffiliated Math, architecture, engineering, and science
Alpha Sigma Omega ΑΣΩ 1997 Unaffiliated Latina and Caribbean[21]
Alpha Sigma Rho ΑΣΡ 1998 NAPA Asian[22]
Alpha Sigma Tau ΑΣΤ 1899 NPC Traditional
Alpha Xi Delta ΑΞΔ 1893 NPC Traditional
Ceres 1984 Unaffiliated Agricultural[23]
Chi Omega (Chapters) ΧΩ 1895 NPC Traditional
Chi Upsilon Sigma ΧΥΣ 1980 NALFO Latina
Delta Chi Lambda ΔΧΛ 2000 Unaffiliated National Asian[24]
Delta Delta Delta ΔΔΔ 1888 NPC Traditional
Delta Gamma ΔΓ 1873 NPC Traditional
Delta Gamma Pi ΔΓΠ 1998 Unaffiliated Multicultural[citation needed]
Delta Kappa Delta ΔΚΔ 1999 NAPA South Asian
Delta Lambda Chi ΔΛΧ 2002 Unaffiliated Asian
Delta Phi Epsilon ΔΦΕ 1917 NPC Non-sectarian
Delta Phi Lambda ΔΦΛ 1998 NAPA Asian
Delta Phi Mu ΔΦΜ 1991 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Delta Phi Omega ΔΦΩ 1998 Unaffiliated national South Asian
Delta Psi Epsilon ΔΨΕ 1999 UCCFS Christian
Delta Sigma Chi ΔΣΧ 1996 Unaffiliated national Multicultural[25]
Delta Sigma Theta ΔΣΘ 1913 NPHC African-American
Delta Tau Lambda ΔΤΛ 1994 Unaffiliated national Latina
Delta Xi Nu ΔΞΝ 1997 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Delta Xi Phi ΔΞΦ 1994 NMGC Multicultural
Delta Zeta ΔΖ 1902 NPC Traditional
Eta Gamma Delta ΗΓΔ 1928 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Gamma Alpha Omega ΓΑΩ 1993 NALFO Latina
Gamma Eta ΓΗ 1995 NMGC Multicultural
Gamma Phi Beta ΓΦΒ 1874 NPC Traditional
Gamma Phi Omega ΓΦΩ 1991 Unaffiliated national Latina[26]
Gamma Rho Lambda ΓΡΛ 2003 Unaffiliated national LGBTQ[27]
Kappa Alpha Theta ΚΑΘ 1870 NPC Traditional
Kappa Beta Gamma ΚΒΓ 1917 Unaffiliated national Traditional
Kappa Delta ΚΔ 1897 NPC Traditional
Kappa Delta Chi ΚΔΧ 1987 NALFO Latina
Kappa Delta Phi National Affiliated Sorority ΚΔΦ 1977 Unaffiliated Traditional
Kappa Kappa Gamma ΚΚΓ 1870 NPC Traditional
Kappa Phi Gamma ΚΦΓ 1998 Unaffiliated national South Asian
Kappa Phi Lambda ΚΦΛ 1995 NAPA Asian
Kappa Phi Chi KΦX 1991 Local, Brooklyn College Traditional
Lambda Pi Chi ΛΠΧ 1988 NALFO Latina
Lambda Pi Upsilon ΛΠΥ 1992 NALFO Latina
Lambda Psi Delta ΛΨΔ 1997 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Sigma Gamma ΛΣΓ 1986 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Tau Omega ΛΤΩ 1988 NMGC Multicultural
Lambda Theta Alpha ΛΘΑ 1975 NALFO Latina
Lambda Theta Nu ΛΘΝ 1986 NALFO Latina
Mu Alpha Phi ΜΑΦ 1927 CIPFI Puerto Rican
Mu Epsilon Theta ΜΕΘ 1987 Unaffiliated, national Catholic[28]
Mu Sigma Upsilon ΜΣΥ 1981 NMGC Multicultural
National Society of Pershing Angels 1962 Unaffiliated Military drill[29]
Omega Phi Beta ΏΦΒ 1989 NALFO Latina
Omega Phi Chi ΏΦΧ 1988 NMGC Multicultural
Phi Beta Chi ΦΒΧ 1978 Unaffiliated national Lutheran
Phi Mu (Chapters) ΦΜ 1852 NPC Traditional
Phi Sigma Rho ΦΣΡ 1984 Unaffiliated national Engineering
Phi Sigma Sigma (Chapters) ΦΣΣ 1913 NPC Non-sectarian
Pi Beta Phi (Chapters) ΠΒΦ 1867 NPC Originally secret, Traditional
Pi Lambda Chi ΠΛΧ 1994 Unaffiliated national Latina[30]
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Pi ΣΑΕΠ 1998 Unaffiliated national Jewish
Sigma Delta Tau ΣΔΤ 1917 NPC Non-sectarian
Sigma Gamma Rho ΣΓΡ 1922 NPHC African-American
Sigma Iota Alpha ΣΙΑ 1990 NALFO Latina
Sigma Kappa ΣΚ 1874 NPC Traditional
Sigma Lambda Alpha ΣΛΑ 1990 NALFO Latina
Sigma Lambda Gamma (Chapters) ΣΛΓ 1990 Unaffiliated national Latina
Sigma Lambda Upsilon ΣΛΥ 1987 NALFO Latina
Sigma Omega Nu ΣΩΝ 1996 Unaffiliated national Latina[31]
Sigma Omega Phi ΣΩΦ 2008 Unaffiliated national “Aggressive” lesbian[32]
Sigma Omicron Pi ΣΟΠ 1930 NAPA Asian
Sigma Phi Omega ΣΦΩ 1949 Unaffiliated national Asian
Sigma Pi Alpha ΣΠΑ 2004 Unaffiliated Chicana/Latina[33]
Sigma Psi Zeta ΣΨΖ 1994 NAPA Asian
Sigma Sigma Rho ΣΣΡ 1998 NAPA South Asian
Sigma Sigma Sigma ΣΣΣ 1898 NPC Traditional
Theta Nu Xi ΘΝΞ 1997 NMGC Multicultural
Theta Phi Alpha ΘΦΑ 1912 NPC Originally catholic, traditional
Zeta Chi Phi ΖΧΦ 2003 Unaffiliated national Multicultural
Zeta Phi Beta ΖΦΒ 1920 NPHC African-American
Zeta Sigma Chi ΖΣΧ 1991 Unofficial national Multicultural
Zeta Tau Alpha ΖΤΑ 1898 NPC Traditional

Coeducational fraternities[edit]

Coeducational fraternities permit both male and female members. Occasionally coed groups use the term frarority.

Organization Symbol Founded Affiliation Traditional emphasis
Alpha Nu Omega (Chapters) ΑΝΩ 1988 UCCFS Christian coed fraternity
Zeta Phi Zeta ΖΦΖ 2001 UCCFS Christian[34]
Alpha Delta Phi Society ΑΔΦ 1832 Unaffiliated, national Literary and traditional
Alpha Psi Lambda ΑΨΛ 1985 NALFO Latino
St. Anthony Hall (Delta Psi) ΔΨ 1847 Unaffiliated, national Literary and social
Delta Psi Alpha ΔΨΑ 1998 Unaffiliated, national Multicultural
Lambda Lambda Lambda ΛΛΛ 2006 Unaffiliated, national Traditional
Theta Delta Sigma ΘΔΣ 2001 Unaffiliated, national Multicultural
Alpha Theta ΑΘ 1920 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Delta Lambda Psi ΔΛΨ 2005 Local, University of California at Santa Cruz LBGTQ
Zeta Delta Xi ΖΔΞ 1852 Local, Brown University Traditional
Kappa Gamma Psi ΚΓΨ 1913 Local, Ithaca College Performing arts
Nu Alpha Phi ΝΑΦ 1994 Local, SUNY Albany Asian
Phi Tau ΦΤ 1905 Local, Dartmouth College Traditional
Psi Upsilon ΨΥ 1833 Local, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Traditional

Defunct national organizations[edit]

Organization Symbol Operated/Merged
Alpha Delta Theta ΑΔΘ 1919 – 1939, Phi Mu
Beta Phi Alpha ΒΦΑ 1919 – 1941, Delta Zeta
Delta Sigma Epsilon ΔΣΕ 1914 – 1956, Delta Zeta
Iota Alpha Pi ΙΑΠ 1903 – 1971
Kappa Phi Lambda ΚΦΛ 1862 – 1874
Lambda Omega ΛΩ 1915 – 1933, Delta Zeta
Pi Delta Kappa ΠΔΚ 1907 – 1913, Chi Omega
Pi Kappa Sigma ΠΚΣ 1894 – 1959 Sigma Kappa
Pi Lambda Sigma ΠΛΣ 1903 – 1959 Beta Phi Mu
Sigma Iota ΣΙ 1904 – 1931 Phi Iota Alpha
Phi Omega Pi ΦΩΠ 1922 – 1946 Delta Zeta
Phi Lambda Alpha ΦΛΑ 1919 – 1931 Phi Iota Alpha
Theta Kappa Nu ΘKN 1924 – 1939 Lambda Chi Alpha
Theta Upsilon ΘΥ 1921 – 1962 Delta Zeta

See also