‘Straight in a Gay World’



Former Delta Lambda Phi member Erik Marsh speaks at the KIVA on March 2. Marsh was speaking to his former fraternity brothers about his experiences with Delta Lambda Phi. Photo by Brian Smith.

Drew Parker

Kent graduates Erik Marsh, Simon Foxall and Travis Oberlin spoke about their unique experiences in Delta Lambda Phi fraternity Friday.

During the event, titled “Straight in a Gay World,” the three former students addressed the audience about their experiences in a predominantly gay environment.

During his speech, Marsh said he joined the fraternity in order to experience a different culture.

“It seemed like a really uncommon experience. I’ve always tried to do things that most people won’t do,” Marsh said. “As you might imagine being the only straight guy in a room can be an intimidating experience, but it turns out that we have a lot in common as students.”

Oberlin said his experiences with Delta Lambda Phi were similar to the experiences he would have in any other fraternity.

“I don’t see these brothers as my gay brothers, they’re just my brothers,” he said. “I really don’t care that they’re gay and I wish everyone else felt that way.”

During his speech, Oberlin mentioned a business trip he was on in which some of his co-workers made fun of a gay waiter at a restaurant.

“It made me really wish that [sexuality] didn’t matter to everyone else,” Oberlin said. “Personally I hate it. I feel like if everyone had more experiences with homosexuals we’d be a much more understanding culture.”

Foxall said it can be frustrating when people refer to Delta Lambda Phi as “the gay frat.”

“I correct them. I tell them they’re wrong,” Foxall said. “We are a fraternity for gay, bi and progressive men. But I’ve always just said I’m part of a fraternity.”

Foxall said although he’s experienced some discrimination, his involvement was well worth the effort.

“I never knew how much fun I could have with people who are different than me,” Foxall said. “Prejudice will happen as long as there’s an idiot in the village. Ignorant people will say ignorant things, but I ignore them because they’re not worth my time.”

Matt Cola, a junior advertising major and member of Kappa Sigma said the event helped him better understand Delta Lambda Phi.

“It was both what I needed and a complete surprise to me,” Cola said. “It hit close to home because my best friend is gay. I learned my situation wasn’t as unique as I thought it was.”

Contact Drew Parker at [email protected].