News - December 1995

First gay frat house opens in Minneapolis

The first gay and bisexual fraternity in the country to open a fraternity house on campus now is operating at the University of Minnesota.

Delta Lambda Phi moved into a Tudor-style house in August. So far, 15 people are living there, including eight members or soon-to-be members, two international students, two lesbians, two straight females and one straight male.

"This is a more comfortable environment than the dorms," fraternity President Rusty Robertson told Nancy Livingston of Knight-Ridder Newspapers. "Everyone can be what they want to be, and they don't have to worry about being criticized for this or that."

Robertson, 23, a senior at the university and the former Goldy Gopher mascot, said the fraternity was started in 1988 and was the fourth gay chapter in the nation. Delta Lambda Phi has leased the house for three years.

Robertson previously lived in a dorm, but chose not to have a roommate. Other fraternity members have had roommates in the dorms but did not talk about their sexual orientation.

"It makes for an awkward situation," said Robertson, but now people are free to mix their academic and social lives.

"Whenever you want to take a half-hour study break, you can open your door and go downstairs," said Robertson. "There's always somebody ready to talk, play cards or watch TV. Also, there's the emotional support. It's not like being in an apartment by yourself."

The frat house has a policy that prohibits sex between members and people going through rush, which is the fraternity recruitment process.

[OASIS]General information: Jeff Walsh
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