Gay, Greek and allied
Junior Taylor Ballew said he always wanted to be in a fraternity when he came to Towson, but never felt like he fit in.
Ballew and his friend Tyler Willey started a search for a gay, bisexual, transgender and ally-supportive fraternity, posting an interest group on Facebook, which they said gained attention quickly.
Ballew said he aspires to bring the gay and allied national fraternity Sigma Phi Beta to Towson’s campus, which he said matches his interests. Ballew was involved briefly with the Queer Student Union but wanted to create more of a family-like atmosphere.
“As much as I want to be inclusive, I mean I want to have everyone involved, but it’s kind of nice to have that brotherhood,” Ballew said. “It’s kind of weird also that lesbian and gay [people] are so closely grouped together. We’re all very marginalized as LGBT. But we have different stories and I feel like the boys would be able to relate to each other.”
Graduate student Brandon Thomas was a brother in Sigma Phi Beta on Middle Tennessee State University’s campus.
Thomas said at an interest meeting for Sigma Phi Beta that he doesn’t think that they’ll have to deal with much backlash from the campus or community because there is such a strong LGBT supportive presence available.
“[When choosing Towson] I texted the national president and I was like ‘I saw some of the LGBT resources and this might be a place to start a chapter’,” Thomas said.
Students are not able to start a fraternity or sorority on Towson’s campus unless it is affiliated with a national or international organization, according to the Expansion Policy for Greek-letter Organizations.
Ballew needs to apply to the fraternity for their interest group to be a colony and then, after he develops a partnership between the University and national organization they can become an official fraternity.
Through word-of-mouth and Facebook, Ballew said he hopes to find a committed group of students that are willing to go through the process of colonization with the fraternity. Sigma Phi Beta is already affiliated with Indiana University, Middle Tennessee State University, Ohio State University, and was founded at Arizona State University in 2001, according to their website. They were founded eight years ago.