In high school, I participated in three different sports and somehow found time to be involved in every group. However, I never felt comfortable or accepted amongst a group of guys until I met the ones who I now refer to as the brothers of my fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.
The brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha at Homecoming
I’m gay, and that’s not something for me that is difficult for me to say anymore, nor do I shy away from my sexuality at this point in my life. I wasn’t able to speak so candidly of myself in a public sense until my senior year of high school. For the longest time I justified to myself that I would rather hide one of the most important pieces of my identity than be bullied by my fellow teenage peers. I don't regret hiding that secret because it was what I felt was the best option for my safety and sanity at that age, but I did become isolated, depressed, and all of that other textbook stuff that everyone associates with someone who was “in the closet.”
By the time I arrived at Lycoming I was over a year removed from "coming out," and the majority of my anxieties involving my sexuality and identity had dissipated. However, I was still nervous to introduce myself to a bunch of complete strangers, and I figured I would tell people about myself in one form or another. I didn’t scream that I was gay from the rooftop of Skeath Hall, but I did tell people the truth if they asked.
I wasn’t expecting to make very many “guy friends” at the time, considering I had initially found it much easier to have open, meaningful conversations with girls, just as I had in high school. But one mutual friend led to another, and I soon found myself socializing with these guys who I knew were in a fraternity. The word “fraternity” sent chills down my spine at the time, because I was very intimidated by the prospect of groups of 20-something year old guys living together and doing testosterone focused activities.
But to make a long story short, my brothers who at the time were nothing more than just new friends, had already known I was gay before I told them. Surprisingly, this was a great thing! I will never forget the first time that I brought it up to one of them and I was met with confusion because they never saw my sexuality as something that would affect my ability to befriend them. This realization may seem miniscule to someone who hasn't been in that crippling social position, but hearing that changed my confidence level of interacting with people who scared me in all situations because I learned that I am probably more intimidated by people than I should ever be.
Maybe I was simply stuck in my small-town mindset, but Lambda Chi Alpha quickly became home for me because these men allowed me to completely be myself without the prejudice that I feared so anxiously. I never would have considered joining a fraternity before I got to Lycoming, but I’m glad I didn’t let the stereotypes of Greek life by stand in the way of letting them get to know me, and me them. I am thankful for the lessons that being part of a diverse group of men in Lambda Chi Alpha has taught me about myself. I couldn’t have done it without their help.
Lycoming College is very diverse, which is what makes it so special. Come spend a day on campus, and you'll understand why Lyco students love to be here so much.