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    But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Fraternity for gays at ISU works past growing pains

    DesMoinesRegister.com
    In its three years, the Delta Lambda Phi chapter has flourished in some areas while also facing struggles like a flap over a campus blood drive.


    Ames, Ia. They've smashed stereotypes. They've endured insults posted on the Web. And they've made some great new friends.

    That is the story of the members of one of Iowa State University's newest fraternities, Delta Lambda Phi, a group of nine gay men without a house, but with a sense of purpose.

    The ISU Interfraternity Council recognized the chapter as an official colony in December 2004. It's the only Iowa chapter of the national fraternity and has established itself as a contributing member of the ISU Greek community, members and others said.

    Delta Lambda Phi welcomes "gay, bisexual and progressive men," according to its Web site. The chapter's appearance at ISU has stirred debate over the role of gays in the Greek system and over the role of a fraternity designed to create support for gay men.

    Mark Arant, director of the Salt Company, a Christian student organization in Ames, said he discourages gay students from seeking support from places like Delta Lambda Phi, which he said encourage immorality.

    "The ideal support that someone who struggles with homosexuality can get is not support that says, 'Hey, what you're doing is OK,' but rather support that says, 'Let me help you sort of walk through this,' " he said.

    A.J. Perdew, Delta Lambda Phi's current president, said the fraternity offers its members unconditional acceptance and a forum to express anything. He said that other Greek organizations support gay or bisexual members but that Delta Lambda Phi is the only fraternity at Iowa State founded for that purpose.

    "There's an acceptance to be whatever you are, wherever you are," said Perdew, originally from Corning. "You're in the majority with us. You don't feel like your viewpoint is different from the rest of the group."

    Perdew, a nursing student at Des Moines Area Community College, plans to return to Iowa State in 2009 to finish his degree there.

    Delta Lambda Phi was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and now includes more than 30 chapters and colonies from coast to coast, according to the fraternity's Web site.

    Some gays at ISU said they decided to join other fraternities where they might grow as people while also being part of a minority.

    Delta Lambda Phi doesn't have a house, which can be an issue for potential recruits.

    Lucas Sheeler, a freshman from Ankeny, said he considered joining Delta Lambda Phi but decided instead to become a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

    "I like the guys (in Delta Lambda Phi), but I wanted a fraternity with a house - an experience that's going to help me grow more because I'm going to have to live with a majority of heterosexual people," he said.

    Delta Lambda Phi at ISU started with seven charter members; there are now nine members.

    Warren Blumenfeld, the chapter's faculty adviser and an ISU assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, said Delta Lambda Phi brothers share experiences and culture with one another that are not easily understood outside the fraternity.

    "There's a language, a culture, within the gay male community, and we don't have to translate what that culture is among each other," Blumenfeld said. "This is probably the only place in many of the fraternity brothers' lives where it's just assumed who we are and what our culture is about."

    Blumenfeld said that the ISU Greek community welcomed the Delta Lambda Phi chapter but that some gays originally frowned on its creation because they viewed the Greek system as homophobic.

    But the integration of the Delta Lambda Phi chapter over the last two years has proven that attitude false, he said.

    Tom Ingram, an ISU sophomore in aerospace engineering and a member of the Adelante fraternity, said he hasn't seen signs of discrimination or homophobia in his fraternity, which he said includes one openly gay man.

    "I would say that we're accepting," Ingram said. "I don't hear anyone going around making any rude comments or anything like that."

    Fraternity members contribute to the ISU Greek community, participating in homecoming week functions and Greek events, Blumenfeld said.

    They've also stirred controversy.

    The fraternity members found themselves in the middle of a media frenzy in March during Iowa State's Greek Week, a celebration among fraternities and sororities that features competitions designed to create a sense of community.

    The Greek system historically has awarded incentives, called "points," to fraternities and sororities whose members participate in a blood drive. But federal regulations bar men who have had sex with other men since 1977 from donating blood, prompting Delta Lambda Phi members to ask Greek Week Central, the event's governing body, for an alternate way to earn points.

    Greek Week organizers decided not to award any points for the blood drive, sparking a backlash against the fraternity from some on campus, Blumenfeld said.

    "There was an undercurrent of homophobia that surfaced during the blood drive," he said.

    Blumenfeld pointed to online feedback posted on the Web site of the campus newspaper, the Iowa State Daily.

    "Good for the Greek System, you allow a special gay fraternity in and they make you cave and (can) your long-held traditions," read one anonymous comment posted on the Web site in response to a March 7 letter to the editor.

    Perdew called the experience one of the most trying times the fraternity has faced.

    He said fraternity members felt they were blamed for the decision to stop awarding points for the blood drive, when all they had done was ask for a different avenue to earn points.

    "We had a meeting that Monday night, and things got heated among the brothers on how to proceed," he said.

    Some in the fraternity wanted to wait until the controversy blew over, while others wanted to take a more vocal stance.

    "That was a very, very tough week for all of us," he said.

    Members decided to refer questions from the news media about the incident to the fraternity's national headquarters.

    Delta Lambda Phi erased preconceptions about gays the moment the ISU chapter was created, said Nathan Bell, a former Delta Lambda Phi member and vice president of the ISU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally Alliance.

    "I think (Delta Lambda Phi) has definitely changed a lot of views in the Greek community just by being there - just by being present - and showing there are gay men who want to be a part of fraternities," Bell said



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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Is there a point to your posting this?


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Seems to me like a general interest news item about my alma mater. I wasn't aware we had a gay fraternity; pretty progressive for a small-town, midwestern university. So what was the purpose of your post?



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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Quote Originally Posted by Go2Guy View Post
    Seems to me like a general interest news item about my alma mater. I wasn't aware we had a gay fraternity; pretty progressive for a small-town, midwestern university. So what was the purpose of your post?
    Is the CUFFS club still around? I would say that was pretty progressive.



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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Quote Originally Posted by Go2Guy View Post
    Seems to me like a general interest news item about my alma mater. I wasn't aware we had a gay fraternity; pretty progressive for a small-town, midwestern university. So what was the purpose of your post?
    Sometimes people are too touchy around here, and are sceptical of posters' motives. I thought it was pretty interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Me State View Post
    Is the CUFFS club still around? I would say that was pretty progressive.
    Yes, it is still around.



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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Delta Lambda Phi welcomes "gay, bisexual and progressive men,"

    A.J. Perdew, Delta Lambda Phi's current president, said the fraternity offers its members unconditional acceptance and a forum to express anything.

    I would propose that the top two things are hypocrisy of the highest order. I very much doubt this organization could pass the "free expression" test. I doubt anyone who doesn't ape the gay-stapo agenda would be allowed in the organization, or to have a voice within it.

    I also abhor the hijacking of the word "progressive." So, homosexuality and the fiction that it is "normal" behavior is "progress"?

    Sex organs have an implicit purpose. Homosexuality is a perversion of that purpose. Homosexual behavior really should be between consenting partners, but to insinuate it is "normal" behavior is like peeing on our heads and trying to tell us it is raining.

    But the thing that really ticks me off is their designation of anyone who doesn't advocate and cheer their perversion loud enough as having committed a "hate crime." The blood drive thing is a fine example of this.

    Have a nice day!


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    the blood drive thing was a huge problem, the "points" incentive was big enough to casue many people who wouldn't normally donate to donate becasue they didn't want to let down there perspective organization. some peple say you shouldnt need a points system you should just give out of the goodness of your heart, well i say who cares as long as you are donating. One unit of blood has the capability of saving three lives, as a result of the revoking of the points system the blood drive lost some where between 400-500 units of blood fromthe previous year. that means because of this "progressive" decision 1200-1500 lives were potentially lost. now im ok with having a gay fraternity if they want to have this sort of safe club go ahead its your right as a US citizen, but all i ask is don't try to change policies that really should't be changed. i dont care if you are offended that you can't donate blood, you could donate time and recieve the same points, as stated in the points system. it was just a bad decision but hey thats life.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    I don't believe it should be a "hate crime" for not advocating it.

    Obviously, there will be people who are for gay rights, those who aren't, and those who just don't care.

    I am 100% all for gay rights, but I don't like the idea of gay ONLY pride parades and things like that...I also don't think you should "call out" people who don't support or don't cheer on gay rights. The one thing we need to understand, gay people are HUMANS and nothing we do should ever take away their human rights.

    The only thing I don't understand is how someone heterosexual can be so anti-gay people...I mean if two men or two women want to have sex, it does not affect me (a straight person) so their love or physical attraction or w/e you want to call it is perfectly fine with me. I just don't understand how someone can sit around and think to themselves "damn gays! going all around having sex with each other...someone needs to stop this!"

    I don't really know a whole lot about this frat, is it a gay ONLY frat? because I kind of have a problem with that...I kind of have problems with the idea of frats in the first place...I understand they do a lot of great things for a university, but I don't like that it can be like the idea of exclusion in any instance for those type of reasons.

    I just want to remind people to keep this thread in good taste, as I will try to with my posts. And also to think: "What if my daughter or son came out to be homosexual to me?, would I accept her or him or would I abandon them?"

    Lots of choices in life, it's hard to tell what are the wrong or right ones or the ones that are neutral, you can only make the best ones with the information in front of you.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    I have a problem with "FRATS" too but am all for "FRATERNITIES" big difference a FRAT is a bunch of useless pratygoers that drink them selves silly **** the bed and dont go to class. they are the "animal house". on the other hand a FRATERNITY is a group of men driven by the purpose to suceed in all aspects of life a group the is to quote my own "Committed to LIVES of excellence" meaning that one should try to achieve greater than whats expected of him in life and help others to exceed their expectations. The FRATERNITIES and SORORITIES at ISU run the university, we are roughly 12% of the schools poplation yet we hold nearly 90% of all student run leadership roles on campus. VEISHEA, Homcoming, Varieties, many GSB posistions, Blood drive, Dance marathon, I could continue, these things that are essential to this great University would simply not function with out the Greek Community. The point is Fraternties and Sororities have an awful stigma that is just not true in most cases. Are we exclusive? I say No, we are always trying to expand, but because people give us such a bad rep people shy away from us and more exclude us. I am and will always be a Greek Supporter because I know the type of people that come out of it and they are honestly better because of the experiences they are given in our Greek Community. I am a first generation Greek and I hope my kids will make the same decision as i did, because I know if they do they will have many more opportunities for success in their future.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    the blood drive thing was a huge problem, the "points" incentive was big enough to casue many people who wouldn't normally donate to donate becasue they didn't want to let down there perspective organization.

    I thought the blood drive dilemma was because gays can't donate blood at all, not "points." Maybe I'm thinking of a different issue than you are though.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Quote Originally Posted by clones11 View Post
    the blood drive thing was a huge problem, the "points" incentive was big enough to casue many people who wouldn't normally donate to donate becasue they didn't want to let down there perspective organization. some peple say you shouldnt need a points system you should just give out of the goodness of your heart, well i say who cares as long as you are donating. One unit of blood has the capability of saving three lives, as a result of the revoking of the points system the blood drive lost some where between 400-500 units of blood fromthe previous year. that means because of this "progressive" decision 1200-1500 lives were potentially lost. now im ok with having a gay fraternity if they want to have this sort of safe club go ahead its your right as a US citizen, but all i ask is don't try to change policies that really should't be changed. i dont care if you are offended that you can't donate blood, you could donate time and recieve the same points, as stated in the points system. it was just a bad decision but hey thats life.
    It looks like typical overreacting by well-meaning but somewhat misguided organizers. Since they couldn't participate in this particular activity, Delta Lambda Phi just asked for an alternative activity. I find this quite reasonable and it should have been easy to think of a dozen alternatives that would not have disrupted the blood drive tradition. (Specifically, there are many things to be done during a blood drive other than actually giving blood.) However, instead of simply solving the problem and finding an alternative, the organizers seem to have overreacted and abandoned the whole thing. I don't know their motives, but it could have been the typical oversensitivity by many well-meaning people to minority issues.



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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    I don't know how that blood drive points thing worked because I was not a greek myself but if it was strickly on the number of members that donated? I can't imagine that even if all 9 guys were able to donate it would make much of a difference when some frats have over double or triple that for members. If it was percentage-wise then it would be different.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Percentage wise....

    I donated blood after the ISU blood drive down in Des Moines. I told them that I was sucking it up and donating again because I didn't want them to be short because of what happened at ISU. The lady said, "it didn't really affect us." Then she was rude to me the rest of the time.


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    Re: But will they get to have a VEISHEA Float?

    Quote Originally Posted by isucyclone4 View Post
    I The one thing we need to understand, gay people are HUMANS and nothing we do should ever take away their human rights.
    Absolutely agree with you, here. But "what" human rights are currently being taken away from those who self-identify as "homosexual?"

    The only thing I don't understand is how someone heterosexual can be so anti-gay people...I mean if two men or two women want to have sex, it does not affect me (a straight person) so their love or physical attraction or w/e you want to call it is perfectly fine with me. I just don't understand how someone can sit around and think to themselves "damn gays! going all around having sex with each other...someone needs to stop this!"
    I would suggest that this is a dangerous cocktail of the natural tendency of humans to attack things that are aberrent, as a group biological self-defense mechanism, combined with attacking others for perceived moral failings, at least partly to make themselves feel better for their own perceived moral failings.

    What actively "anti-gay" people tend to overlook, is that morality is morality. Christian moral code, in particular, does not distinguish between homosexual activity or heterosexual adultery.

    The rabidly anti-social foaming at the mouth brand of anti-gay activity is just as reprehensible to me as the "endorse my aberrent 'lifestyle choice' or lose your job" activities of the radical homosexual lobby, which I refer to as the "gay-stapo." Both viewpoints need to be condemned in the marketplace of ideas, imo.


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