Students find acceptance, family with LGBTQ fraternity
For some students, their fraternity isn’t just an organization that will look good on a résumé or serve as a place to make friends: It’s a family they’ve never had before.
Delta Lambda Phi is a social fraternity dedicated to providing LGBTQ men and their allies the opportunity to become brothers in an inclusive, accepting community.
“I like to say that the fraternity was created by gay men for all men,” said Michael Nunes, a senior psychology and criminal justice major and DLP’s vice president.
DLP is a national social fraternity that was formed in 1986, with an Orlando-based chapter, Beta Psi, that started in 2008.
By 2010, the fraternity had migrated to the UCF campus.
At UCF, the fraternity is a member of the Interfraternity Council, which represents more than 1,300 students and 18 different fraternities.
What sets DLP apart from these other organizations, however, is its commitment to inclusiveness, regardless of sexual orientation.
“Every fraternity is different in the values that they try to instill in others,” Nunes said. “And ours are just more about inclusivity and about accepting everyone and pushing forth social change.”
Its founding members, called alphas, played pivotal roles in promoting LGBTQ rights on campus, including helping to start the Pride Coalition.
Today, the fraternity is still heavily involved with supporting acceptance and diversity at UCF and nationwide.
The DLP brothers volunteer with the Zebra Coalition, an organization that helps homeless LGBTQ youth.
They are also involved with the Trevor Project, a national organization focused on suicide prevention efforts for LGBTQ youth.
On campus, one of its main goals is to bring awareness of LGBTQ issues to other Greek organizations.
“A lot of fraternity men may not meet other queer people up until this point in their life,” Nunes said. “So, if we’re there to be able to educate them and help them learn that … we’re different, but we’re still people, it works.”
Compared to some of the other fraternities on campus, DLP is small, with only 10 active members.
Currently, there are six pledges rushing to join the group, but even with the potential initiation of those members, the fraternity still pales in comparison to many of the other brotherhoods.
Because of its smaller size, the fraternity’s Greek liaison JR Szurka said the DLP brothers build closer relationships.
“Our fraternity is very different in the fact that we’re smaller, so we can see each [other] almost every single day,” the science education major said. “I live with my brothers, I see them every day … so I’m able to build a stronger connection to them.”
Nunes agreed, citing that the close-knit group allows them to be more hands-on with members.
“It’s more one-on-one,” he said. “It’s not just overshadowed by a sea of many.”
This concept of building a true brotherhood, a family, Szurka said is even more powerful because some of DLP’s members have never had that kind of experience.
“A couple of the brothers don’t really have a family back home,” he said. “So coming here and being a part of Delta Lambda Phi just gives them a place to find a home. And I always say that DLP is the home that I always wanted, but never thought I could have and never thought I deserved.”
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer and Watchdog Reporter for the Central Florida Future.