When I think "frat," I think hyper-masculine boys with poor hygiene trying to out-drink and out-wrestle one another, while having sex with the most women, and pulling unnecessary, cruel, and ignorant pranks.
But at a basic level, fraternities were meant to join groups of young men in service to others, brotherhood, and social and networking activities.
However, a story from BuzzFeed earlier this week tells the tale of Brian Stewart, a student at Morgan State University who believes he was rejected from Kappa Alpha Psi because he is gay. He reached this conclusion, understandably, after being forwarded a message between fraternity members, which used an anti-gay slur.
While this occurrence brings to the light the long journey the gay community has ahead, there are many who believe we’re already finished. The New York Times’ David Carr is one of these people. Leave it to a straight man to make the announcement that being gay isn’t a big deal anymore.
Here is a public service announcement to Carr, and folks like him: you need to sit down and stay seated. The largest opponents to gay equality are fields, organizations, and occupations that are male-dominated. There is a privilege that comes with excluding women, but these types of groups also exclude femininity in general, under the belief that femininity is solely "for women."
In Stewart’s case, no apologies have been made. The organization has been quiet about the entire incident.
What we must take from this is a passion to stop similar behaviors in the future. We hear stories of homophobia every day in the news, making Stewart’s case all the more real and important. We see exclusion in the military, sports, and on college campuses all over the world. We like to tell ourselves that "it gets better," but does it? And for who?
I want to know that if I apply for an organization or interview for a job, I don’t have to worry that my sexuality will be used against me. I want to succeed, but if a White House intern like Stewart can be rejected, how will I fare?