Student Exposes Homophobia in Swarthmore Fraternities
A gay student has written an essay in the Swarthmore’s Daily Gazette about a string of homophobic run-ins he’s had with some of the school’s fraternity members.
In “More Out Than I’d Hoped,” Parker Murray writes about an evening in 2010 when he was forcefully shoved out of a frat house and told, “No fags allowed,” even when a close friend —and a member of that fraternity — stood by and let it happen. He writes:
Things like this weren’t supposed to happen … at Swarthmore, where I had been, for the most part, welcomed out of the closet with open arms by close friends and acquaintances alike. I’ve grown aware that peculiar, very un-Swarthmorean things have a way of increasing in frequency as I increase my interaction with greek life.
Fast-forward to present day and Murray explains another uncomfortable incident when the term “faggot” was used between two fraternity brothers:
I was invited [by] a new friend to his fellow fraternity member’s apartment. I sat on his couch and listened to the two of them name gay Swat students and decide whether or not they were “f*cking fags.” Needless to say, the scales tipped heavily in the direction of Swarthmore being infested by these nuisances of men, whom they both found “annoying” and “weird.” Those at the top of this newly laid out hierarchy were badly off – some of them were “so f*cking faggy” they deserved to get “smacked.” I sat there wondering if I’d have made the list if I weren’t sitting in this guy’s living room. I couldn’t decide which made me more uncomfortable: the sheer possibility that I may have made the list had I not been sitting there, or the fact that so many of dearest and most respected friends had just been gay-bashed from afar.
I asked them if this was something they’d talked about before. They both said yes. Perturbed, I asked one of them if he ever got worried about offending someone.
“Well, I’m just glad he’s not a faggot.” All’s well in the company of brothers — so long as they aren’t faggots, I suppose.
They say third time’s a charm, but twice was enough for Murray to decide to take matters into his own hands. In the essay, he justifiably questions the school’s two fraternity’s proposed “inclusive policies.” On its website Delta Upsilon lists its founding principles, one of which is, “We are not prejudiced of race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation.” Phi Psi states that it “prides itself on its openness and any student interested in pledging the fraternity should contact one of the officers.” But Murray’s experience begs the question, have these organizations lost sight of the principles they were built on, or are the words just convenient ways to satisfy a moral obligation they never intended to honor in the first place? You’d think being on a campus with such a dwindling Greek presence, the frats would do everything they could to walk the straight and narrow, or better yet, the straight and gay.