campus life

Is Rushing a Frat Any Fun Without the Homophobia?


Common wisdom suggests college fraternities are organizations with the purpose of letting men get wasted together, discuss sexual conquests in graphic detail, and then take photos of themselves teabagging their frat brothers after they’ve passed out. Sometimes, common wisdom is correct! But at one George Washington University frat, they’re trying to do away with the homophobia that usually comes along with frat life. How to accomplish this? Withhold food from potential pledges. No, this isn’t a form of hazing!

September is the season of rushing, when potential pledges try to make nice with the frats they want to join in the hopes they’ll be extended an invitation. It’s a whole song and dance that, from the outside, looks a whole lot like shopping for friends. It is. But this year, GWU’s Beta Theta Pi wanted to offer up non-homophobic friends!

Will the future fraternity brother enjoy s’mores at Kappa Sigma’s “acoustic jam” or feast upon Kappa Alpha Order’s steamed Maryland crabs? Will he chat up Sigma Chi’s favorite sorority ladies or help Sigma Nu launch a frozen turkey down a Slip ’N Slide? Will he scarf Lambda Chi Alpha’s Chipotle burritos or watch the brothers of TKE take a sledgehammer to a car?

This year, Beta Theta Pi decided to trade the food porn and the masculine displays of destruction for a more meaningful approach. “The events that I rushed into initially were food-focused,” says Stephen Molldrem, the fraternity’s vice president. “This year, we’re trying something completely different. Other fraternities will pick men who share their values out of the ones who show up for the Maryland blue crabs. We attract men of values, and we then just happen to serve them Maryland blue crabs when they show up.”

That formula—values first, crabs later—helps weed out the homophobes with the hungry. In Beta Theta Pi’s first rush event this year, titled “Frat Versus Fraternity: Myths Debunked,” Molldrem and his brothers discussed popular misconceptions about “frat boys” with potential pledges.

Same waspy sales pitch, but no naked ass paddling! At least not yet!

This is important, because while fraternities’ year-long purpose is to provide a campus environment to binge drink, officially they are service organizations.

William Zelenty, the fraternity’s rush coordinator, says the strategy had helped establish Beta Theta Pi as an organization of principle. “In the past, the fraternity was about upholding the status quo and letting the sexist and homophobic stuff fly,” he says. “Now, we’re dealing with it. If you’re the kind of person who goes around and says that kind of stuff, you’re not the kind of person I want involved in our chapter. Not everyone is perfect, but if any homophobic comments arise in a meeting or on the Listserv, I can tell you right now that it’s quelled immediately.”

Also not welcome at Beta Theta Pi: stereotypical comments about sexist and homophobic “frat boys.” “It’s just patently offensive,” says Molldrem, who is gay. “Even using the words ‘frat boy’ together can connote a bias.”

Just please don’t change the definition of “frat boy” so quickly. Otherwise, how will we know which str8-acting guys to go after on Manhunt?

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  • terrwill

    FRAT HAZINE=EVERY FRAT BOY FINALY GETTING TO ACT ON THE FANTASYS HE HAS HAD SINCE HIS FIRST PUBE SPROUTED…….If there is a hazing you know an exposed pee pee is 100% guaranteed to be involved!!

  • Jack

    Naked ass paddling was my favorite part, and I’ve been on both ends of the paddle.

  • blackjack44

    shout out to all my TKE brothers! sledgehammering cars is so us. TKE 4 Life! and Fraternities are so gay! kinda why i joined?

  • glasshouses

    Ditching the homophobic comments? Wait–I thought that was supposed to be the foreplay. What gives? Next they’ll go and ban the spread eagle butt-naked on the tree trunk “punishments.”

    Typical “straight” boys, ruining all the fun.

  • university_dude

    I expected more from Queery, on this topic. To be honest … a little offended.

    When I was a naive 2nd year dating a wonderful girl, i went to a Wine and Cheese put on by a fraternity. At the time i thought “eh.. a cool party where i can throw on my suit”

    When i went I met a bunch of solid guys, smart, outgoing, etc. They gave me a bid and I thought “why not”. When i was pledging 2 of my pledge brothers were openly gay. At first i thought “wow wow wow, these guys are too normal to be gay… gay people are flamey and obsessed fashion.”

    Backtracking a moment, I find guys hot.. however am too afaird to act on it. Typical closet case senerio.

    Although most of guys in my frat are straight.. all of them.. helped me become comfortable with who I am. It was only with their support that I think i was able to spill it to my rents and live a happy honest life.

    On a side I’m there prez now and can assure we have properly managed parties and the paddies are more for jokes.

    (I can’t speak for all fraternities thought)

  • dgz


    you expect *more* from Queerty? clearly you’re on the wrong site.

  • mattymatt

    I’m loving the socks in that photo.

  • Mountainword

    Frats are stupid. What is the point of them besides giving us all fodder for jokes?

  • YellowRanger


    Giving us fodder for porn sites.

  • I pliss

    @blackjack44: TKE for life baby! Shout out to the TKE’s as well. Although we ate more onions that sledging cars! I loved my frat life and still hang with my bro’s to this day! are you a TKE? what chapter?

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    I thought they changed their name to Omega! (Inside Gay DC joke)

  • Spike

    What, no gays in frats?!!? What fun is THAT?!!? We were easily 15% of the house (well we claimed to be bi back them), we dressed the best, danced the best, the girls liked us cuz we didn’t try to screw em, and we SCARED the best part . . . str8t boys to death.

  • Soupy

    My frat wasn’t homophobic. Chauvinistic yes.

Comments are closed.