More than 30 fraternity and sorority members gathered in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house Thursday night for a panel discussion entitled "Homophobia in the Greek system." The program, which was sponsored by the Greek Social Action Committee and organized by Chi Omega sister Haesin Kim and Zeta Beta Tau brother Jeff Furman, featured four panel members from the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Alliance who fielded questions from the audience and discussed their own feelings on homosexuality. Students in attendance were asked, upon arriving, to write answers to two questions, which were read to spark the discussion: "What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the terms 'gay' or 'lesbian'?" and "What is one question that you would want to ask about homosexuality or bisexuality?" LGBA members related personal stories about their experiences "coming out of the closet" and their difficulties in dealing with their sexual orientation. "I was really looking for a community," said one panelist about her public admission to her homosexuality. "Before I came out of the closet, I felt so alone. I thought I was the only one. Now, the more and more I come out, the more I feel honest. I don't want to be alone anymore." Reactions to what the words "gay" and "lesbian" mean ranged from "friend" to "different," reflecting the diverse views of the Greek members present at the program. Most students present said they empathized with the panelists' views of homosexuality, although some said they felt uncomfortable with the discussion. Another panelist admitted that it wasn't always easy knowing that he wasn't like his friends. "I remember praying every night 'Oh God, please let me fall in love with a girl,' " the panelist said. "All I did was make myself and those around me miserable." Engineering senior and LGBA member Cheryl Rose said that these are common feelings within the lesbian, gay and bisexual community. Many of these people are "really terrified" to admit to their homosexuality because they have been surrounded by heterosexual role models all their lives, Rose said. "There are so many images of men and women together in the media," said Rose. "But, when L.A. Law showed two women kissing, people were talking about it for a long time." The one and one half hour discussion also dealt with myths about homosexuality, the Greek view of homosexuality and the lesbian, gay and bisexual community's reactions to the Greek system. The panelists' frank responses to questions were well received by students and most seemed enthusiastic about the program. The program is only one of many taking place during BGLAD week.Comments powered by Disqus
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