The president of the new Delta Lambda Phi (DLP) chapter at McGill University says he has absolutely no idea what’s in store for him and his brothers this weekend when the fraternity’s US national directors and the New York City chapter’s mentors jet into Montreal for the charter and initiation ceremonies.
“They have kept it all hush-hush,” says colony president Michael D’Alimonte. “They just told us to keep the whole day open.”
D’Alimonte laughs when this reporter asks if the initiation rituals will resemble a gay porn flick.
“There are all these sexual stereotypes of gay men, not to mention gay fraternities,” he says. “We have a hands-off frat. We discourage brothers from hooking up and demand there be no extra-fraternal relations, except with pledges.”
DLP is a US college fraternity with a membership of gay, straight and bisexual men. Otherwise it’s similar to other Greek college frats. It was founded in 1986 by Vernon L Strickland III in Washington, DC. DLP is fast-growing in the US, where there are 28 gay fraternities on various college campuses. McGill is the first DLP chapter to be chartered outside the US.
“Our charter petition was approved after we met all the requirements,” D’Alimonte explains, pointing out they had to meet three core prerequisites: philanthropy (the colony supports the Montreal LGBT youth organization AlterHeros), at least two recruitment drives, and a charter petition including the colony’s bylaws, member bios and history.
“Our executive meetings and general meetings are held on alternate weeks, and I’m also a VP of McGill’s Inter Greek Letter Council (IGLC), which is made up of the fraternities and sororities at the university,” D’Alimonte adds.
The McGill DLP frat was founded in 2009 and officially became a colony the following year. It has 16 active members who will be initiated by “30 to 40” frat brothers from across Canada and the US. The new chapter’s charter ceremony will be held on Feb 4, and there will be a brunch the next day, “so we can show the Americans who we are and what we do. I have yet to meet most of them,” D’Alimonte says.
In the coming days D’Alimonte will also meet with representatives of Queer McGill, which has criticized DLP for being open only to “males and those who identify as male.” Queer McGill members told the Toronto Star they believe the language separating “males” and “those who identify as male” implies that transgender individuals are somehow not real men. D’Alimonte says it’s a misunderstanding that DLP wants to resolve promptly.
As for the mainstream media attention, D’Alimonte says the pressure is nothing compared to the day he came out to his parents.
“I was out at McGill but not at home,” says D’Alimonte, who grew up in Richmond Hill, Ontario. “So it was a double-whammy. ‘I’m not just gay, I’m in a gay fraternity as well.’ But I have to say my folks were happy with it all. They see that my frat brothers are also my friends. DLP is a good example that gay culture is not just the meat-market stereotype that straight people have of us.”