Gay, Greek and Good to Go: In One of the Many Personal Stories in Brotherhood, a New Anthology about Coming out in Fraternities, Richard R Peralta of DePaul University in Chicago Learns Just How Much His Brothers Know about Him

Article excerpt

The fall of my freshman year at DePaul University, I became a founding father of a colony of Sigma Phi Epsilon national fraternity, often called Sig Ep. DePaul is the largest Catholic university in the nation and the largest private institution in the Chicago area. Most men joined the new Sig Ep colony because the fraternity gave them a sense of purpose. My reason, on the other hand, was the fact that during rush Sig Ep did not judge me for being gay. They did not place me in a box along the spectrum of the Kinsey sexuality scale, wondering if I fit any gay stereotypes, They merely got to know me as "Dickey," my affectionate nickname. I never came out to the brothers as a whole. I let them figure it out on their own through conversation when I felt it was appropriate. There were two other queer brothers already in the fraternity. If I didn't make a big deal about being gay, I knew the chapter would not care either. I left behind my blatant high school T-shirt slogans and buttons, and my physical traits made me the all-American fraternity man. Sig Ep brought out the best in me.

Shortly after the acceptance of my bid to join Sig Ep, the brothers and I were eating at the student union, referred to on campus as the Max. We were gorging ourselves on food like most college men do when my brother Mark casually asked, "So how was your date last night?"

Mark was a calming individual who studied bio. He was relatively short in stature and often amusing on account of his klutzy habits. Mark was the average type of guy anyone would feel comfortable befriending on account of his big heart.

"So?" he asked again.

I panicked for a second and then responded nonchalantly, "It went well, actually." I didn't know for sure if he knew I was gay or how he knew I had gone on a date the night before. …

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