Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion

2015

Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess

Abstract

Homosexual males want to be a part of a social fraternity for the same reasons heterosexual males want to join a social fraternity, however, homosexual males going through recruitment could soon be welcomed into an environment that is not supportive of homosexual males. Studies have proven that unwelcoming and unsupportive environments can hinder identity development of males who are either homosexual, questioning their sexual identity, or bisexual (Long, 2011). This study was designed to focus on the support fraternities have for homosexual members joining fraternities and the level of support as a fraternity community. Using a qualitative approach, the researcher interviewed four men who varied in sexual orientation, experiences within a social fraternity, and analyzed the data for common themes and trends. The participants represented two homosexual males and two heterosexual males who are members of a social fraternity and held leadership roles within their social fraternity and the wider campus community. Results varied in the support for homosexual males in a social fraternity at a mid-sized, Mid-Western university. Participants expressed that homophobic terminology is frequently used within the social fraternity setting, expressed their concerns concerning chapter reputation and being labeled the "gay fraternity," and a social adjustment function (Aber, 2010; Hall & France, 2007) impacted a majority of social fraternity members and their support of homosexual members. However, three of the four participants expressed that their social fraternity would be open to homosexual diversity programming.

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