From the Inside Flap
A Chance To Belong...
Anonymous Letter to the Lambda 10 Project Dear Lambda 10 Project:
Being gay and a member of the Greek community has been a frustrating experience to say the least. Because of the intense paranoia people have about gay individuals, I have only admitted my sexual orientation to one other person. There is no doubt whatsoever that I would have been pushed out of my chapter had my homosexuality been revealed, and my fraternity experience meant too much to risk losing it that way. Therefore, if I wanted to stay Greek and active in my fraternity, I had to "be" straight. It wasn't hard, as I've had to do that my whole life. But I feel no one really knows me as I really am.
I am the kind of guy no one would ever think was gay, other than the fact that I haven't seriously dated a woman in a very long time. I'm straight-acting, frequently hit on by lovely women, president of my fraternity chapter as a senior... but as much as I want to be straight, I know I'm not, and I suppose I never will be. It's really difficult for me to realize that the contributions I made to one of our national fraternity's top chapters would be completely discounted had my sexuality been made public. I wasn't president of some lame chapter: we're one of the best they've got! And we're consistently selected as the top fraternity on campus. Yet for me to have admitted being gay would have instantly discredited me from any values I brought to the chapter.
One of our chapter brothers was coming to terms with his homosexuality, but found himself ostracized because of it. We were notified a couple of years later that he had committed suicide, feeling alone, and pushed aside from both family and fris. Yes, he was dealing with issues other than his sexuality that led to such a tragedy, but his inability to find acceptance from those he wanted it from was undeniably a significant factor. Yet I'm not sure things changed much in the minds of our active members and alumni.
I know of at least one other brother from our chapter who is gay, yet held significant leadership roles within the chapter while active. I wonder how many more? If our brothers could see what goes on in the minds of closeted gay members when homophobic slurs fly around the house, would they care? If I was truly a brother when I was seen as straight, why can't I be as a homosexual as well? My deep friship and unquestioning loyalty to my brothers and fraternity were never suspect before: why would my being gay change anything?
I am still closeted, and might possibly be so the rest of my life. I care too much about some relationships between relatives and fris to admit my sexuality right now. My parents are just not ready to handle that reality, and my fraternal friships still mean too much to throw them away. Yet I know that I will never be able to "act" my way to being straight.
I think the Lambda 10 Project will show that I'm not alone in my experience. There are many men in fraternities who are gay, but live a straight life for fear of being shunned. Some would really be surprised to learn of certain chapter members being gay. Indeed, I know of homosexual men in every fraternity on campus. But until the larger Greek community is ready to be a brother to another person regardless of his sexual orientation, these Greek members will continue to live a lie among their chapters, trading their true identity for a chance to belong.
From the Back Cover
This uncompromising first-person series of accounts of life inside that traditionally homophobic institution-the college fraternity-is riveting and brutally honest. Brotherhood, friship, and a chance to belong are the promises offered to young men by campus fraternities. But what if the young man happens to be gay? Will his brothers accept him, or will he lose his friships and his community? More than 30 men join voices in this emotionally charged and important anthology to tell their individual stories of coming out or keeping silent and how this decision changed their fraternal experience, their view of themselves, and even their lives. Also included are information and educational interventions on how to deal with homophobia in the college fraternity and how to encourage the Greek system to accept openly gay members. For anyone struggling with issues of trying to belong or being true to himself, "Out on Fraternity Row will provide the comfort of knowing he is not alone.
Dedicated to my fraternity brother Jon Moore, and the many brothers of Phi Delta Theta who gave me the courage to come out, the love to accept myself, and the brotherhood for a lifetime.