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Gay and Greek: The Identity Paradox of Gay Fraternities

King-to Yeung and Mindy Stombler
Social Problems
Vol. 47, No. 1 (Feb., 2000), pp. 134-152
DOI: 10.2307/3097155
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097155
Page Count: 19
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Gay and Greek: The Identity Paradox of Gay Fraternities
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Abstract

Drawing on concepts from queer theory, this paper examines collective identity construction in the national gay fraternity, Delta Lambda Phi (DLP). Based on a grounded theory analysis of 42 open-ended in-depth interviews, extensive participant observation, and analysis of archival data, this paper explores how DLP members negotiated their identity as both gay and Greek. We contend that DLP's collective identity, paradoxical in nature, was a product of organizational structure, available cultural resources, and member interaction. We discuss how the processes of identity construction were colored by the organization's precarious social location with one foot placed in one of the most traditionally heterosexist cultures in straight society, the college fraternity culture, and the other placed in an oppositional gay culture. We demonstrate how an understanding of identity construction can move beyond dichotomies such as assimilation versus liberation or a completely deconstructed versus a reified notion of gay identity.

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