"Ex-Gays" | California | Discrimination | Fraternities | Los Angeles | News

USC Student Claims Homophobic Religious Intimidation by Frat

A student at the University of Southern California has requested an Interfraternity Council investigation coordinated by the IFC Judicial branch over incidents in which he says he was questioned about his homosexuality and relationship with God by members of the Alpha Gamma Omega fraternity during Spring Rush 2009. The student, Isaac Ahn, describes the incidents as follows:

Ago
"AGO Brother #1 and I were talking about how the bid process works. He asked me about my relationship with God. I told him I learn things every day, among other things. He further questioned me by asking what I learned. He said something about my involvement in the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Assembly and how that wouldn’t work well with being in AGO. I told him I never was in GLBTA. He asked me if I was gay. I said yes. He asked me how that factored into my relationship with God. I explained how it used to be a struggle and how it isn’t anymore. He said that people base their relationship with God on their relationship with other people.

"AGO Brother #2 came into the conversation and took me to his room. He closed the door and proceeded to tell me how he struggled with his sexuality since he was a child. He asked me about my relationship with God. I told him what I told AGO Brother #1. He told me that he entered the fraternity a “broken man” and how the fraternity has helped him to improve. He also said that the fraternity is not affirming of homosexuality, because they are Christians and follow the scripture. He also said that since tomorrow is bid night, they want to know how my relationship with God is. He asked me what my thoughts were. I said that I wanted to leave. He wanted to show me out the back door so no one could see me leave but I said no. I grabbed my umbrella from under the couch in the common room where people were “worshipping” and left."

Ahn has also demanded an apology from the fraternity brothers involved, acknowledgement of the incident, and action from the frat to prevent the situation from happening again.

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Comments

  1. Um... I'm sorry, but what was he expecting from a Christian fraternity? Frats aren't typically (stress "typically") the Mensa types or known for being culturally accepting.

    He basically walked into a cult like atmosphere as was surprised that they would disagree with him on such an issue?

    Spilt milk!

    Posted by: RP | Feb 19, 2009 1:41:20 PM


  2. "... atmosphere and was..." rather

    Posted by: RP | Feb 19, 2009 1:42:17 PM


  3. I have to agree- I don't quite understand why this is news. It's like he wanted to join First Baptist Church of wherever and is surprised to find out they're homophobic. And more to the point, they're a private organization, right?

    Posted by: Acolyte | Feb 19, 2009 1:49:49 PM


  4. Ahn's complaint seems strange if the fraternity had a reputation for being a conservative Christian organization then wouldn't one expect its members to have those beliefs?

    Posted by: noah | Feb 19, 2009 1:51:00 PM


  5. AGO on its website talks about being a 'christ-centered' fraternity. While there are plenty of gays who are Christians, there are plenty more Christians who are not understanding of homosexuality - so why place yourself in that situation knowing that it is highly likely? As a gay man who was also a fratboy at Univ of Texas, I can tell you that there are those chapters who are completely accepting and those who will say things behind your back - just like in the rest of the world. I am confused why Ahn would willingly place himself in that situation?

    Posted by: rory | Feb 19, 2009 1:51:27 PM


  6. This comes directly from the AGO website so it's information readily available to Mr. Ahn.

    Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal savior,
    we as Christian young men of Alpha Gamma Omega Fraternity
    purpose that it shall be the aim of this fraternity to...

    Win others to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; to promote Christian fellowship; to present Christian ideals in word and deed; to search reverently for the truth; to uphold the traditions and ideals of the University; and to deepen the spiritual lives of the members.

    If these frat guys were harassing Mr. Ahn by purposely targeting him then I'd say he has a right to demand USC step up and protect his rights but he was pledging a fraternity who's agenda seems plain quite plain. I confess that I don't know much as to how fraternities work since I never pledged one in school but isn't it the purpose of rushing that the fraternity decides who they'll accept as members and for the pledges to decide if the frat is right for them too?

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 19, 2009 1:59:29 PM


  7. I just hope they have video of him "grabbing his umbrella" and storming off in a huff. LOL. Divas to the dance floor, please.

    Posted by: Stan | Feb 19, 2009 2:19:43 PM


  8. I'm looking for the "intimidation" in the story, but I'm not finding it.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 19, 2009 2:22:29 PM


  9. Hmm, I'd expect more. But, if anything, it will confer some negative publicity on this christianist frat, which is a good thing.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 19, 2009 2:50:25 PM


  10. Maybe he's turned-on by closet cases?

    Posted by: anon | Feb 19, 2009 3:00:35 PM


  11. as an open gay frat guy at sc, i feel that issac was wrong to publicize this affair in the student paper. AGO was within its rights to not give him a bid. they are a christian frat anyways. there are plenty of houses that are accepting of gays. ive brought male dates around the house and don't get any shit for it. the row is changing as i know quite a few gay guys in various houses that are coming out.

    no offense to the guy but he's just trying to start some drama

    Posted by: rob | Feb 19, 2009 3:10:34 PM


  12. I don't get it. It sounds like they were having a series of conversations that tinged on personal matters. I don't see any intimidation here. This exactly the sort of thing we should be doing with everyone.

    Posted by: DaveO | Feb 19, 2009 3:38:48 PM


  13. And how is being gay a problem with their statement of faith, mr. arrogant hetero college dude? So stupid brother #1.

    Posted by: nikko | Feb 19, 2009 3:45:57 PM


  14. NIKKO -- you are right. One has nothing to do with the other in reality. But many Christians don't see it that way.

    I don't understand this guys case, nor do I see how his rights were violated. I'm sure the protections of COLLECTIVE ASSOCIATION apply here to the frat. It's traditional Christian and not progressive Unitarian Christian.

    KKK is protected under COLLECTIVE ASSOCIATION - if those pigs are allowed to - this frat - most surely is as well.

    Posted by: PERSPECTIVE | Feb 19, 2009 4:04:38 PM


  15. I completely agree with Rob #2: plenty of Fraternities that are accepting out there. Just don't join the stupid or homophobic one(s).

    Posted by: RP | Feb 19, 2009 6:13:49 PM


  16. These things get very tricky on a university campus. If the frat is technically under the aegis of university policies, they may not be able to discriminate, even if they are fundamentalist christians who don't believe in gay christians.

    We had a similar case at my college, where a student was removed from the ballot for head of Christian Fellowship because he was gay. But there can be conflicting loyalties if the frat (like CF) is part of a national organization that has anti-gay policies.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 19, 2009 9:17:21 PM


  17. They asked him questions to see if he was a good fit with the fraternity. He wasn't. That's what the pledge process is all about; most fraternities try to find new members who are just like them. He's either feigning shock and outrage or is just stupid.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 19, 2009 10:03:31 PM


  18. Bottom line - this is a discrimination case if I've ever seen one. Whether or not the pledge was out "looking for trouble", the fact is he found it, and the AGO brothers were stupid enough to fall for it. They may claim to be a private organization, but the fact is they are a student organization under the university's affiliation umbrella. Since USC receives federal funding (in the form of financial aid for its students), a situation such as this does have merit as a Title IX case.

    Posted by: MJ | Feb 20, 2009 12:58:59 PM


  19. Stan, that was too funny!

    Posted by: Gabe R | Feb 20, 2009 2:06:57 PM


  20. I am the alumni of a Christian-based fraternity (Alpha Tau Omega) and I came out at a very conservative university campus while I was an active member and I never had any real problems. I think it made it hard on the chapter being accepting of gay members but the rest of the row is starting to catch up as well now from what I hear. A lot of the students at my alma mater (Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR) are very conservative and from small towns across the Mississippi Delta Region of Arkansas. Things are changing slowly even in conservative hell holes like Jonesboro.

    I think this student just needs to find another more accepting frat at his campus or if there are no others he likes then he should start a new chapter of another frat at his campus. Frats are like churches, you should attend the one that fits your beliefs.

    Posted by: Jason Young | Feb 21, 2009 4:15:38 PM


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