LGBTQ+ Students Share Their Experiences in Greek Life

April 6, 2022 by Hope Lockwood

Art by Autumn Hardwick

When junior Ryan Bresingham came to Pepperdine, the thought of pledging a fraternity was not something he was interested in. Bresingham, like many out LGBTQ+ college students, thought a fraternity wasn’t for him.

Three years later, Bresingham now serves as the Pepperdine Interfraternity Council President and Vice President of Communications for Pepperdine’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Bresingham is a former copy editor for the Graphic.

Bresingham said some LGBTQ+ students already feel nervous when they arrive at Pepperdine due to Pepperdine’s religious affiliation and the statement on sex. He said he strives to make a more welcoming environment for Pepperdine’s Sigma Phi Epsilon and other fraternity chapters.

“However, when you add in the homophobic layer of Fraternity and Sorority Life,” Bresinham said. “I think it’s really important to make people feel comfortable and show that, despite Pepperdine’s statements and the nationwide image of Greek life, it can be different here and that there are a lot of members, like myself, who are a testament to that.”

Bresingham went to the Fraternity and Sorority Life orientation in fall 2019, his first year with a group of friends. While he had some apprehensions at first, he said he found himself having fun, which led to a more serious interest in joining recruitment. However, the potential reactions to his sexual orientation caused him anxiety.

“Upon going to the first Sig Ep recruitment event, I just told them [about my sexuality] because I needed the reassurance for myself that things would be fine,” Bresingham said. “None of the members cared that I was gay, which was when I really started becoming comfortable and being myself, rather than pretending to be someone I’m not in order to fit in.”