College �04: Back to School
By Richard Morgan
There�s a lot about frat boys that�s pretty gay already. Pledging loving submission to men who paddle, strip, and drink their way into each other�s hearts�c�mon, guys. Still, there�s perhaps no college where gay Greek life means more than at the University of Virginia, where alternative life used to mean wearing an orange tie with blue stripes rather than a blue tie with orange stripes. The landscape is already flush with preppy Southerners in plenty of secret societies as well as fraternities�and now one group is officially gay, out, and proud.
This year a club called Out on Rugby became a chapter of Delta Lambda Phi, a nationwide gay frat house. But it�s not the first group to offer fraternal men-on-men loving. The Greek Men�s Club, started in fall 2003, involves about a dozen members of varying levels of outness who belong to �straight frat houses� and meet in a secret location that changes every two weeks. Matt Maring (Delta Upsilon), an �04 grad, started the group. �People are finally growing up and realizing that gays aren�t bad, that they don�t go Greek to get ass,� he says. Despite changing attitudes, he adds, �There are still so many secrets out there in the UVA Greek system.� He notes, �Our group is not a gay Greek circle jerk. It�s a place where people feel comfortable being themselves, finding other kids in the same situation. It�s brotherhood.�
One club member who�s partially out spoke anonymously because of the ROTC program. A junior in a frat that had an out president, he�s out to about a third of his 30-some brothers. He doesn�t hide his sexuality; he just doesn�t broadcast it. �When I came out, it felt natural. It wasn�t because of pressure,� he says. �That�s the thing. I know my brothers love me. There�s never pressure in a bad way. Not really.�
The guys at the University of California, Berkeley, aren�t hot. Or cold. They�re perfectly warm in the sunny East Bay 24/7, all year round. This means that there�s always a healthy dose of men lingering around the campus shirtless, tanned, and shirtless (yeah, we said it twice, but seriously, it deserves to be said twice). �From March to November you see a lot of guys in skimpy clothes, sleeveless shirts, and�hmm, what was I saying?� muses Sun Tang, a junior and head facilitator of Cal Q&A (queer and Asian). �Within the gay community there�s so much diversity too. Punks, goths, activists, homebodies, guys looking for relationships at the ripe age of 21 to last their whole lives. There�s something for every kind of hot.�
For much more about the best colleges for gays, pick up the September issue of Out.