Fraternities: the Mecca of college social life, or so we’re told. My most recent experience with a fraternity on campus was when they shouted from their house to one of my friends as he walked home alone from a party at night. From a bedroom upstairs, “Your shorts are too short!” Chiming in from the porch, someone shouted, “Yeah, [expletive]ing f-g!”
This was the fourth time it’s happened to him this year while walking down Frat Row. The shouts always came from one of the houses and included the affectionate words “f-ggot” or “queer.” To be fair, the shouts could have come from nonmembers. But regardless, the idea that these words can be yelled in anonymity from a giant, beautiful house at a progressive university in a progressive city is not only astoundingly immature, it’s nauseatingly bigoted. I’m not trying to attack these organizations as a whole, especially because Greek Life has been immensely helpful after they were made aware of what happened. And yes, I am vastly overgeneralizing due to my anger.
I’ll repeat that last statement: I am vastly overgeneralizing due to my anger.
Fraternities provide a network of support for their members, fundraise for causes and are generally not a negative addition to our campus. With that being said, this incident has happened within a recent rush of LGBT bullying-related suicides this past year, and it’d be irresponsible of me to not bring this issue into Drexel’s spotlight.
Just last month, 14-year-old gay teenager Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide because he was being tormented at school for his sexuality. At a dance a week after his death, students actually shouted, “You’re better off dead!” and “We’re glad he’s dead!” This time last year, five high school and college-aged kids took their own lives after being bullied for their sexuality.
Insults like “f-g” and “queer” aren’t a funny way to assert your dominance anymore. They aren’t jokes, and they aren’t an issue of what you believe in. These words are an issue of campus safety, and if you get caught harassing someone with them, you can get in serious trouble.
If you’ve been bullied for these reasons or any others, don’t be afraid to speak up. There are so many resources at Drexel — visit Kerry Hooks at the Office of Multicultural Programs or Michele Rovinsky, vice president of the Office of Equality and Diversity at 33rd and Chestnut. Come to a FUSE meeting, tell your RA or RD. Talking is the only way to fix the issue, so come forward!
Bridget Gawinowicz is a senior majoring in psychology. She can be reached at [email protected].