McGill’s Gay Fraternity a Canadian First
Let’s face it: the frat boy/sorority girl stereotype was born in the movies. From Animal House to American Pie, the booze-drinking, sports-loving college kids partying too hard while studying too little have become cultural icons—and they are overwhelmingly portrayed as heterosexual.
But things are changing, as evidenced by the McGill chapter of Delta Lambda Phi. The frat is the first gay frat in Canada. Operating out of McGill University, the fraternity is welcoming to all gay, bisexual and transgender men.
While Brotherhood Director Luke Powers acknowledged that frat culture isn’t as widespread in Canada as it is in the US, there are certain stereotypes that he himself believed in prior to pledging—ones that he found out to be completely untrue.
“The stereotypes that you expect to be there weren’t,” Powers said. “Nerdy people to bros, fraternities are actually, in general, a pretty diverse group of people.”
The frat’s defiance of the alpha-male frat house stereotypes is something that President Michael D’Alimonte has been acutely aware of since joining.
“A lot of people do a double take. You have stereotypical frat dudes and stereotypical gay men—and [these ideas] kind of clash,” admitted Powers. “I think the thing a lot of people aren’t aware of is that we stand for the same ideals.”
Breaking both visual and social stereotypes, Powers and D’Alimonte both said that what comes to mind at the prospect of a gay fraternity is very far from the truth.
Although being gay and Greek have a whole other set of connotations, Powers said that people still should know Delta Lambda Phi is a fraternity first, and orientation doesn’t change its mission.
“What we have here are fraternal bonds, not sexual ones,” he explained.
Since Delta Lambda Phi is faced with the unique issue of inter-fraternity relationships, however, they do have a few rules in place. Relationships with an unbalanced power dynamic—such as between members and rushes—are forbidden, and dating between brothers is allowed but not encouraged.
Although Delta Lambda Phi has over 20 chapters in the United States, the McGill chapter is the first in Canada. After seeing the positive effects that the frat has had on members, sexuality-based and otherwise, Powers said he hopes that other gay fraternities will soon form on university campuses across Canada.
“It should be available to anyone who is gay or bi or progressive and might want something that’s not a political or religious affiliation,” he said “It’s social, safe and about building bonds and friendships with other gay men.”