It happens here: Queerphobia at Tulane

Hannah Petillo, Contributing Writer

Will Embree

Thirty-two transgender people were murdered this year. Two hundred and thirty-eight explicitly anti-LGBT laws were introduced into state and federal legislatures in 2022 alone, a 580% increase from 2018. This country is rapidly destabilizing the rights of queer people, with certain states taking the lead in these attacks. 

Louisiana has introduced three of these bills within their last legislative section. Fortunately, two have been defeated due to the amazing action of local legislative action groups who have mobilized again and again to defend queer rights. Yet Tulane, one of the largest employers in the state, which likes to hold itself up as a bastion of liberality and social progress, has repeatedly done nothing to oppose these bills or secure queer rights on campus. 

Tulane’s administration likes to think of our university as above the hate put forward by our state and federal legislatures, but as has been shown once again, our school has as much prejudice as anywhere else.

Tulane’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta — heretofore referred to as Fiji — has demonstrated this truth once again in the history of queerphobia at Tulane. This list is not an isolated incident; queerphobia is not the product of a few bad actors, nor is it only Fiji that has this type of hate embedded in their fraternities. What this list shows is a culture of hate and discrimination among Tulane’s Greek life. Senior members of Fiji, those responsible for the recruitment of new members, have likely gone through their Tulane careers without ever being faced with consequences for their discrimination — that is what this list shows. These discriminatory individuals did not slip through. Tulane fraternity culture welcomed them and their discriminatory beliefs were accepted and unchallenged. These people can perpetuate their hatred onto others.

It must be emphasized that this vitriol is not new. Queer and transgender students at Tulane have long known what frats to avoid for fear of harassment, or worse. We have kept ourselves safe through community care: warning our peers of the homophobic, the racist or the sexist frats that a queer person attends at their own risk. We have also known that the Tulane administration does nothing to protect us against these frats. Reports of harassment go ignored no matter how much proof is provided, victims are blamed for the discrimination against them and the frats continue on with no consequences. Well Tulane, here’s more proof. 

We’ll see if anything comes of it beyond the current temporary suspension. All that can be said is that if nothing is done, soon it may not be just a list of names and hateful messages. Hateful speech contributes to a culture of intolerance that results in violence towards queer people. We must actively work to address the roots of these issues before they spiral out of control — it can happen here.

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