Gay Greeks form BG brotherhood

Adam Wright and Adam Wright

There are fraternities for honor students, specific majors and party animals. Soon there may even be a new opportunity for gay men to go Greek.

Two students are trying to form a chapter of a national fraternity geared towards gay, bisexual and progressive men on campus. The fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi, would be the University’s first Greek organization to focus on sexual orientation.

The students hope DLP will become a place for to form friendships and be comfortable themseleves.”For gays coming out, it will be easier within a community of queers,” said Nicky Damania, one of the two students and an advisor for Vision — the organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

It was a member of Vision who came to Damania last month about setting up the fraternity. Since then, the two have posted flyers all over campus seeking male students — heterosexuals included.

According to DLP regulations, at least eight members are needed to start a chapter.

Ron Binder, director of Greek affairs at the University, said he does not think the students will have trouble finding new members because of the niche the fraternity would fill on campus.

“We perceive there is a need for this organization and we definitely want to support it,” he said.

Binder admitted that a gay fraternity may not have been possible ten or even five years ago, but with the current climate of acceptance concerning sexual orientation, he feels the campus will welcome DLP with open arms.

Greek leaders on campus also feel the fraternity will fit in well at the University, calling it “the next logical step,” according to Binder.

Opening the minds of other Greeks regarding sexual orientation was something the students hoped they could accomplish. Gay, lesbian and bisexual students have a notoriously difficult time coming out to their Greek brothers and sisters, according to Vision President Dan Headley. “It will bring more acceptance into Greek life,” she said. “This will be very much a good thing.”

DLP has been springing up all over the nation since it was created in 1987. It has over 20 chapters from coast to coast, including The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Kent State University and the University of Cincinnati. One may also be formed soon at the University of Toledo.

Alan Ratliff, the president of OSU’s chapter, said his campus and other Greek organizations have been very supportive of DLP since it was created there in May 2004. He feels it has been instrumental in opening the minds of traditionally homophobic Greek students.

“I see our fraternity as being a bridge between Greek life and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community as a whole,” he said.

OSU’s chapter has also given its members more opportunities to become involved on campus. With the confidence they acquire through DLP, they are more likely to participate in activities they might have once shied away from.

“It’s a place where gay, bisexual and progressive men can integrate themselves into Greek life without the fear of being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation,” Ratliff said.