I do not speak for all of Greek life, nor the LGBTQ community, but I am a part of both and I am visible.
The LGBTQ community and the Greek life community are seemingly opposites. In the simplest terms, they have not mixed well. Perhaps from an outsider’s point of view, it is because of the rapid sexism and inflamed masculinity plaguing fraternity life. Jumping to those conclusions is natural for someone who has never had the privilege to experience both communities hand-in-hand.
For me, my Greek life journey started out of pure curiosity. Never could I have imagined how it would benefit me as a person and continue to surprise me.
I hear many fraternity men say that Greek life is on the decline, or that it is changing for the worse. With thoughts like this, sure, Greek life will end up failing. But a little shift in perspective is needed: Greek life is not on the decline, but rather, it is changing. Change can be a tough thing for a traditional “boys club,” but there is more to Greek life than letting rampant masculinity free. Speaking from experience, it is more about personalities and creating genuine bonds with other people.
From the LGBTQ side of the coin, whenever I say that I’m in Greek life, any given person would ask why I’m doing it. That then leads me to explain how being involved in Greek life while being openly gay has not been a negative experience for me. The minute my sexuality came to light at the start of my time with the fraternity, I was met with nothing but open arms and support.
When I tell people that fact, sometimes they offer pure disbelief, perhaps because of the terrible reputation fraternities have had. Obviously, not everyone will have a positive experience; there have been pure nightmares. It goes the same for any social group that you’re a part of. If you see yourself there and you enjoy the people, you see then go for it.
I would fight for my brothers as much as I would fight for my fellow members of the LGBTQ community.
I am not a diversity point or part of a quota, I am an openly gay fraternity brother. Thank you to the Tau Mu chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi for everything.
Sean Githens (Towson, 2021)
AEPi Voices is a segment dedicated to highlighting those with something to say about their positive experience. Are you a voice that wants to be heard? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article reposted from theodysseyonline with permission from the author.