Friday, December 09, 2005

Charlotte native publishes new book on gays and fraternities

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From Q-Notes, the leading gay and lesbian news source of the Carolinas: Fraternity life rushes out on campus By Q-Notes News Staff December 3, 2005 issue CHARLOTTE — Are the bonds of brotherhood strong enough to overcome homophobia within a fraternity, even when it comes to rushing openly gay or love between fraternity brothers? Those are among the questions raised in “Brotherhood: Gay Life in College Fraternities,” a provocative new anthology edited by Shane L. Windmeyer. Published by Alyson, the book explores the concepts of brotherhood, masculinity and sexuality in college fraternities through a series of frank and emotionally charged essays. The book follows up Windmeyer’s groundbreaking 1998 anthology, “Out on Fraternity Row: Personal Accounts of Being Gay in a College Fraternity,” by delving deeper into the closet of fraternity life, asking questions rarely discussed openly. Several of the first-person accounts of “Brotherhood” illustrate the remarkable progress fraternities have made toward acceptance over the last decade, while others reflect the necessity for a more inclusive, valued meaning of brotherhood. Rather than shying away from taboo topics, the book includes tales of homophobic hazing, suicide, sexual experimentation, alcohol abuse and religious intolerance. The issues are complex, centering on the bonds of brotherhood and how sexuality, masculinity and homophobia intertwine to shape the male experience within the college fraternity. “Never before have we heard about the trials of rushing a fraternity openly gay or the reality of an intimate sexual relationship among brothers,” explained Windmeyer. “Ten years ago that was unheard of or unspoken. In ‘Brotherhood,’ the writers share details about both experiences, along with the resulting triumphs or harms.” Windmeyer, one of the foremost educators on issues of sexual orientation and Greek life, came out to his own fraternity 11 years ago and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Shortly after, he founded the Lambda 10 Project (, the national clearinghouse for gay, lesbian and bisexual fraternity and sorority issues. The Charlotte resident’s personal experiences, along with his work as Lambda 10 Project coordinator and as a well-known speaker on college campuses across the nation, have given him unique insight into the concept of brotherhood. Ultimately, he says, the issues of acceptance, rejection and homophobia boil down to the strength and value placed on brotherhood within a fraternity. “Brotherhood depends on all brothers, straight and gay, to forge a bond of respect and understanding when it comes to differences in sexuality,” says Windmeyer. “If a fraternity intrinsically defines brotherhood as being there for a brother — being an ally to one another regardless — then it will prevail over any dilemma, not just homophobia. “Going into the next decade, we need to ask ourselves how to foster that sort of brotherhood in more fraternities. ‘Brotherhood’ asks the questions and shares the strategies to get us there.” Original source ===== Shane is a good guy. I met him at the 2004 HRC Carolinas Dinner in Greensboro, which I attended after receiving a youth dinner scholarship. Shane helped to coordinate the youth attendees that night. I can't wait to read his book.