Ostracized Insiders: Exploring the Experiences of Black Gay Men in Historically Black Greek Letter Fraternities
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Black Greek letter fraternities were created for the social and academic support of Black male undergraduates. Numerous studies have proposed the many benefits associated with membership in these fraternal organizations; however, these benefits are undermined regarding Black Greek letter fraternities’ treatment of Black gay students, even those who are members of said fraternities. Through an epistemological lens of both critical race theory and queer theory, this case study seeks to explore the experiences of Black Greek gay men (BGGM) in their fraternities. Specifically, the inquiry seeks to explore BGGM’s experiences in their fraternity and how they make meaning of their sexual and racial identities based on their interactions within the fraternal context. The purpose of this case study is to progress these organizations to a culture of empathy and acceptance for non-heterosexual students. Through snowball sampling five Black Greek gay men were recruited and case study methodology encompassed semi-structured interviews in order to create critical discourse. Findings indicated that BGGM encounter heterosexism and homophobia within their fraternity. However, there is more of an emphasis on masculinity than sexuality and closeted, masculine gay men are less ostracized than their less masculine and/or more out counterparts. The results also indicated that BGGM are more likely to be accepted if they fulfill some need of the chapter and that there is an underground gay culture that provides a solace for BGGM. Despite the anti-gay culture of the fraternity, the participants developed more pride regarding their racial identity.
Black Greek Letter Organizations
Black gay men
Alpha Phi Alpha
Kappa Alpha Psi
Omega Psi Phi
Phi Beta Sigma
Iota Phi Theta
Williams, J'Qualin MarQuis (2017). Ostracized Insiders: Exploring the Experiences of Black Gay Men in Historically Black Greek Letter Fraternities. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from
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