Thank You, Brothers

by Matt Mattson

This blog normally focuses on fraternity/sorority recruitment. Marriage equality really has nothing to do with fraternity/sorority recruitment, so far as I can tell. But to my personal story, fraternity recruitment has a lot to do with me becoming an ally to the LGBTQ movement. And today seems like a good day to honor that.

So, I’d like to publicly thank my gay and bisexual chapter brothers for changing my life.

I’m sure our chapter wasn’t always the easiest place to be yourself — though I’m proud of the extent to which we tried to be inclusive. Despite our stupid jokes and constant immaturity, you influenced, inspired, and taught me (and I’m sure many others) about friendship, dignity, and struggle. I learned about “being a man” from the courage of our openly gay brothers and from the acceptance shown by most of our straight brothers. I learned about brotherhood when the man who recruited me to our chapter came out 1/2 way through my freshman year — to this small-town-straight-kid, that act was both shocking and beautiful.  That experience and the countless late night conversations and moments of brotherly love shared with my gay fraternity brothers, changed who I am. I was exposed to my first PRIDE festival, I was recruited to volunteer for the LGBTQ student organization on campus, and I had stories (and friends) to share with my own family to help them understand homosexuality on a new level. I’m so thankful.

I hope this doesn’t come across as a trite “I have a gay friend” post. I’ve just been trying to find a way to express the joy I felt yesterday after the landmark Supreme Court ruling, and a rainbow profile pic (while cool) just wasn’t doing it for me.

Fraternity was such a transformative experience for me. That’s why I’ve dedicated my life to it. Fraternity is not always the thing most people associate with LGBTQ rights. But for me, LGBTQ rights became something I cared deeply about ONLY because of fraternity. Thank you brothers. And may your marriages be forever full of joy.