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Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This is a qualitative study conducted at a small, private Midwestern university to gain an understanding of the social climate of Greek sorority and fraternity houses as it relates to the acceptance of sexual diversity. In-depth interviews with 11 LGBTQ students were conducted to gain an understanding of the perceptions and experiences of gay students with the Greek system. A number of themes emerged, including general decisions to join a Greek fraternity or sorority; the impact of sexual orientation; aspects of the sorority and fraternity lifestyle; gender norms and perceptions of sexuality: males versus females; Greek-Affiliated LGBTQ students: in-house experiences; and perceived reality versus overt discrimination. Conclusions established from these themes were based on the overall aggregate perceptions found in each interview and—through examination of each topic—found that LGBTQ students, though citing many positive experiences with Greek culture, possess a generally negative and apprehensive perception of sororities and fraternities as a whole. These perceptions relate heavily to larger societal norms and roles of gender and sexuality and the fact that such norms are exacerbated in the condensed environment that characterizes the college Greek institution.

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