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First gay fraternity in Canada a model to follow

by The Concordian February 7, 2012
My gay friend has often complained about the lack of venues for young gay men to develop friendships beyond the politically-driven organizations.I realized that gay men at Concordia need a place where they can create bonds—a place where they can feel free to have fun and participate in charities. A fraternity would offer all these opportunities, yet one for gay males does not exist at Concordia. Screw tradition, times are changing and so should our social structures.This is where Delta Lambda Phi (DLP), an American fraternity, comes in.

Since its creation in 1986, DLP has “offered gay, bisexual, and progressive men across the nation the opportunity to grow in the true spirit of brotherhood — one that embraces diversity and respects the value of all,” according to their website.

Canada’s first colony (“chapter-in-training”) of DLP is located at McGill, and was launched last week.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re very different from the average fraternity. Our goals are social, service, and recreational activities and we work to fulfill those goals,” said Brian Keast, a member of DLP and also a member of Queer McGill.

Interestingly enough, DLP has been getting mixed reactions from the Greek system.
Marissa Caucci, a member of the Inter-Fraternity Council at Concordia (the organization that oversees all the fraternities and sororities), said that she is supportive of DLP joining the system.

“A gay fraternity would have the same underlying values and activities as other organizations and I feel as though they would enrich our community and add more diversity and awareness on issues that they [DLP] themselves value,” said Caussi.

In contrast, Ash Andre Fidelia, a member of the Concordia fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, said that he does not support DLP at all. “In my fraternity and in most [fraternities] we don’t discriminate and we accept anyone who is willing to join. Making a gay fraternity is just not right in my opinion because it’s just going to be a bunch of guys sleeping with each other,” he said.

Are these assumptions the only argument against the creation of a gay fraternity at Concordia? It is proven that even though straight fraternities may claim that they don’t discriminate, they are simply uninviting to gay men. According to Shane Windmeyer, the co-editor of the book Out on Fraternity Row, about ten per cent of men in traditional U.S fraternities are gay, and almost all of them remain in the closet out of fear of rejection from their fellow frat brothers.

“I would never join a normal fraternity, I would feel like I was pretending to be someone I am not and I would not feel comfortable always walking on eggshells,” said Concordia accounting student Jeremi Calderon. “A gay fraternity sounds like a great idea,” he added.

Another ridiculous argument against the idea of a gay fraternity is the stereotypical and outright ignorant belief that it would lead to sexual relationships between members and would therefore defeat the purpose of having a fraternity. This is why I believe that it would be important, then, to set rules for the members of DLP to prove to other skeptical schoolmates that gay men can indeed bond to promote service and camaraderie and not for sex. For example, members of the Florida International University fraternity, Gamma Lambda Mu, have their bylaws that state that members cannot date each other.

In the end, a fraternity offers a brotherhood and life-long friendships, and I think that this is what gay Concordia students, like my friend, are looking to find. Therefore, I believe that Concordia should follow in McGill’s footsteps and create their own gay fraternity.

For a link to the Facebook page of McGill’s Delta Lambda Phi colony, click here.

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2 comments

Quentin Gunn February 8, 2012 - 00:42

I think that Ash is way out of line with his comment . First off, his lack of knowledge about the members from or the structure of DLP should preclude him from even offering his bigoted commentary. The Gender and Sexual Minority (GSM) community is often not viewed solely beyond a hyper-sexualized image, where their only defining characteristic is who they happen to sleep with. This is the kind of attitude from the “Hetero” Fraternities that make GSM students uncomfortable and unwilling to join. Ash should perhaps look at interacting more with the GSM community in his area so that he can see that a non-heteronormative setting doesn’t automatically turn into sex. I think it is rather disappointing that his comment about “a bunch of guys sleeping together” is even included in the article.

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Luke Powers February 8, 2012 - 00:55

Actually, we became a full Chapter this past weekend. We have existed at McGill since 2009, first as an Interest Group, then a Colony in 2010, and now a Chapter. We have met with no negative reactions from the IGLC of McGill.

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