Delta Lambda Phi
Delta Lambda Phi crest
FoundedOctober 15, 1986; 37 years ago (1986-10-15)
Washington, D.C.
ScopeNational (United States)
MottoMaking Our Presence Make a Difference[1]
ColorsGreen, Gold, White
FlowerYellow Rose
PublicationThe Centaur's Yell
PhilanthropyThe Delphi Foundation
Total Charters70
Headquarters2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, No. 355
Washington, D.C. 20006-1811
United States

Delta Lambda Phi (ΔΛΦ; officially the Delta Lambda Phi Social Fraternity; DLP or Lambda) is an international social fraternity for gay, bisexual, transgender and progressive men.[2] The fraternity was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C.[3][4] It offers a social environment and structure similar to other Greek-model college fraternities.[5][6] It was the first, and as of 2013 the only, national fraternity with an emphasis on gay and bisexual men.[7]

Delta Lambda Phi at Capital Pride
Delta Lambda Phi, Social Fraternity at 35th Annual Capital Pride Festival


Delta Lambda Phi was founded in Washington, D.C. on October 15, 1986, by Vernon L. Strickland III.[8][3][5] A fellow student on his university campus had been denied fraternity membership due to the presumption that he was gay. When Strickland became aware of other examples of this, he began organizing a fraternity with a more welcoming model[3] that would not discriminate based on sexual orientation.[9]

Strickland wrote the fraternity's ritual, selected a name and its symbols, and advertised for rush.[5] Eligible members included gay, bisexual, and progressive straight men.[2] According to a fraternity member, a progressive male is "a person willing to accept the virtues, ideals, and truth that gay, bisexual and transgendered people feel. They are essentially straight allied members of the gay community."[10] The fraternity was founded with 29 members and was community-based, rather than being affiliated with a university.[11][12]

The three purposes of the fraternity are:

The Washington, D.C. Area Alpha chapter was formed on April 10, 1987, with the initiation of 24 members.[12] The fraternity was incorporated in Washington D.C. on September 10, 1987.[13] Strickland traveled to college campuses across the United States for eighteen months, working on expanding the fraternity.[5] In April 1988 a group of gay men at UCLA were recognized as the first Delta Lambda Phi chapter to be affiliated with a university.[14][15] This was followed by chapters at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Minnesota.[16] The fraternity continued to add colonies and chapters across the United States, becoming "one of the nation's fastest-growing fraternities".[17][18]

In August 1995, the University of Minnesota chapter opened a residential chapter house in a former Chi Phi house on fraternity row.[19] This was the first chapter house for an openly gay fraternity in the United States.[19] In 2011, the fraternity changed its charter to specifically include transgender men.[2][20] The fraternity went international with the chartering of Beta Omega chapter at McGill University in Montreal in 2012.[21] It established fourteen chapters between 2011 and 2014.[4]

Delta Lambda Phi has been a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) since 2013. The fraternity's highest honor is the Vernon L. Strickland III Founder's Award for extraordinary service to the fraternity's brotherhood.


Delta Lambda Phi's membership is open to all men, whether gay, bisexual, transgender, or straight.[22][12][2] Campus and multi-campus chapters are generally open to male college-aged students who live in the area. Community-based chapters do not require their members to be students.

Members are selected through a typical fraternity rush and selected bid process.[5][6] Pledges are required to memorize the Greek alphabet, know the fraternity's mission, and learn the parliamentary procedure from Robert's Rules of Order.[11][5] Pledges are also required to perform community service and often work with groups that have ties with the gay community.[5]

Delta Lambda Phi strictly prohibits hazing, and it adheres to an extensive, fraternity-wide Risk Management Policy.[23][24][5]

Symbols and traditions

The Greek letters Delta (Δ) to represent the pink triangles that the Nazis made homosexuals wear and Lambda (Λ) because it is a symbol used for gay pride; however, the complete Greek meaning is known only by its members .[5][25] The fraternity's initiation ritual is also secret.[5][6]

The fraternity's heraldic crest consists of a yellow shield surrounded by green elements; it contains eleven symbolic elements.[26] Above the shield, is a helmet that symbolized honor and knighthood.[27] Its open visor indicates that Delta Lambda Phi is a non-secret society.[28] The helmet is surrounded by mantling that suggests the fraternity's use of parliamentary procedure.[27] On either side of the shield, scales symbolize the distribution of justice and the balance of social equity.[28] On the scales to the left, two of the Greek letter Phi (Φ) represent the minority viewpoint; on the right, three of the Greek letter Phi (Φ) represent the majority viewpoint.[27] At the top of the shield to the left, the inverted triangle is a reminder of the Nazi's persecution of gays and ongoing modern challenges.[27] In the upper center of the crest, there are shaking hands which symbolize understanding and friendship.[27] At the top of the shield to the right, a lowercase letter Lambda (λ) stands for the gay liberation movement.[27] Below the three symbols, chevrons symbolically the shield into "an unclosed division with the past.[27] Below the chevrons, three stars symbolize the first three chapters and the three founding purposes of the fraternity, while a burning lamp at the bottom represents ancient justice and enlightenment.[28][27] Below the shield is a scroll with the fraternity's name.

The fraternity's mascot is the Lambda Centaur, which is modeled after Chiron, the only immortal centaur from Greek mythology who was regarded as gentle and wise.[26] The fraternity's version of the centaur is younger and clean-shaven, with short hair—the "essence of masculinity".[11] The fraternity's colors are green, gold, and white.[28] The fraternity flower is the yellow rose.[26][28]

When formed, the fraternity's slogan was, "What others try to hide in shame, we boldly embrace with pride."[29] The formal motto of the fraternity is "Lambda Men are Making Their Presence Known."[28] The fraternity's toasting song, "Delta Phi (There Once Was a Mighty Lambda Man" is as follows:

There once was a mightly Lambda man

Who lived by the sword

Crushed by the rogue hoard

With a whirl of steel he took the fight

And won the prince's heart that night[30][5]

Governance and policies


Delta Lambda Phi is governed by its convention, which is officially the highest authority in the fraternity. The convention is held annually and, as a body, comprises two members from every active chapter, as well as alumni representatives and the fraternity's board of directors. The first convention was held in 1989 in San Francisco. The location of the convention changes from year to year and is selected by the fraternity staff.[31]

Board of directors

The fraternity's board of directors (BOD) governs the fraternity between conventions and consists of eleven elected members, three ex officio members, and Life Members. Members who have served on the board for ten or more years can be appointed Life Member by the action of the annual convention. The executive director and general counsel are appointed by the trustees and confirmed by the board of directors. The executive director oversees the day-to-day affairs of the fraternity.

The fraternity recognizes three broad geographic regions—Eastern, Central, and Western. Each region is overseen by a regional steering committee, and also hosts two regional conferences; one in the spring, and one in the fall. Like the location of the Convention, regional conference locations are generally rotated.[32]

"Hands-Off" policy

The Corporate Brother-Pledge Relations Policy states that brothers and pledges may not engage in "extra-fraternal relations" during the rush and pledge education periods. The policy aims to ensure that bid distribution remains fair, that pledge education is focused on platonic fraternal bonding, and that the risk of sexual harassment is minimized.[33] No corporate policy prohibits two members from engaging in extra-fraternal relations after they become brothers. Because the student-teacher relationship that existed during the pledge education process no longer exists, all brothers are regarded as peers and are simply encouraged to exercise their best judgment.[34][35]

Sexual relationships between brothers and pledges are forbidden. The policy governing these relationships is the Corporate Brother-Pledge Relations Policy, known informally as the "Hands-Off Policy". The policy has existed in various forms since the early years of the fraternity, and it was codified and adopted by the national convention in 1998.


The Delphi Foundation is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) educational foundation and charitable arm of Delta Lambda Phi.[36][37][38] The foundation offers academic scholarships to collegiate or alumni members.[37] It also supports the Delta Force Leadership Academy, established in 2011.[37]


Main article: List of Delta Lambda Phi chapters

Delta Lambda Phi has three types of chapters: campus-based, multi-campus based, and community-based. Its chapters are assigned a sequential Greek letter designation according to the order in which they were chartered.

Alumni associations

Founded in 2003, the Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association (DLPAA) is governed by an elected board of directors.[39][40] The DLPAA also allows for the creation of local alumni associations (LAAs). LAAs can be either in support of a specific chapter or location-based. Following is a list of Delta Lambda Phi alumni chapters.[41]

Chapter Location
Alpha Alpha Alumni Association Tempe, Arizona
Alpha Centauri Alumni Association Washington, D.C.
Alpha Psi Alumni Association Kent, Ohio
Alpha Rho Alumni Association State College, Pennsylvania
Beta Omega Alumni Association Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Beta Sigma Alumni Association New Brunswick, New Jersey
Beta Xi Alumni Association New York City, New York
Central Florida Alumni Association Orlando, Florida
Chicagoland Alumni Association Chicago, Illinois
Gamma Gamma Alumni Association Iowa City, Iowa
Greater San Diego Alumni Association San Diego, California
Heartland Alumni Association Kansas City, Missouri
Iota Alumni Association Sacramento, California
LAA of the Massachusetts Bay Boston, Massachusetts
Mid-Michigan Alumni Association Lansing, Michigan
Omega Chapter Alumni Association Tucson, Arizona
Raleigh Area Alumni Association Raleigh, North Carolina
St. Louis Alumni Association St. Louis, Missouri
Seattle Alumni Association Seattle, Washington
South Florida Alumni Association Miami, Florida
Twin Cities Alumni Association Minneapolis, Minnesota

Notable members

See also


  1. ^ "Omega Chapter Receives UA Awards". Delta Lambda Phi. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Goldberg, Abbie E.; Beemyn, Genny (2021-02-26). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies. SAGE Publications. p. 796. ISBN 978-1-5443-9382-7 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b c Mok, Frank (13 August 2007). "A brotherhood for Us". Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b Vilensky, Mike (2014-05-13). "Gay Fraternities: Small, but Gaining Steam in New York and Elsewhere". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Leff, Lisa (November 28, 1993). "The Boys of Delta Lambda Phi". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c Cohen, Elizabeth (1993-09-30). "Chris Hunt and Delta Lambda Phi: A House with No Closets". Rolling Stone. p. 2. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  7. ^ "Member Fraternities". NIC Fraternity. 21 January 2019.
  8. ^ Storrs, Toshav (1995-10-25). "Letters Address a Gay Frat". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca, New York. p. 8. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via
  9. ^ Eisasser, Glen (1998-12-04). "In a Rush: Gay Fraternities Spreading Across the Nation's College Campuses and Beyond (part 2)". Chicago Tribune. p. 73. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via
  10. ^ a b Sansenbach, Kaitlin (May 1, 2013). "Times They Are A-Chanin': Fraternity Makes Greek Life Accessible for Males with Alternative Lifestyles". The State Hornet. Vol. 66, no. 27. pp. A1 and A3. Retrieved July 15, 2023 – via JSTOR.
  11. ^ a b c James, Susan Donaldson (March 29, 2007). "Gay Brotherhood: Antithesis of the 'Animal House' Drunken Excesses". ABC News. Retrieved 2023-07-14.
  12. ^ a b c "The History of DLP". Delta Lambda Phi. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  13. ^ "Delta Lambda Phi Social Fraternity - Initial File Number: 873594[permanent dead link]". Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. Government of the District of Columbia. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  14. ^ Gordon, Larry (1 April 1988). "Gay Fraternity Wins Recognition From UCLA". Los Angeles Times.
  15. ^ "U.C.L.A. Gets Gay Fraternity". The New York Times. 1988-04-02. p. 1.1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  16. ^ "Minneapolist/FIrst Gay Fraternity at 'U' Holds Inauguration Ceremony to Begin School Year". Star Tribune. Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1988-09-29. p. 33. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via
  17. ^ Baez, John; Howd, Jennifer; Pepper, Rachel (2011-11-23). The Gay and Lesbian Guide to College Life. New York: The Princetown Review / Random House Children's Books. ISBN 978-0-307-94501-3 – via Google Books.
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  19. ^ a b Livingston, Nancy (1995-11-05). "On-Campus House for Gay-Bisexual Fraternity is a First". The Daily Herald. Provo, Utah. p. 51. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via
  20. ^ Syckle, Katie Van (2016-09-25). "Pledging change: the transgender college students integrating Greek life". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  21. ^ "The Greek Life: McGill's Delta Lambda Phi is Canada's first official gay fraternity". Montreal Gazette. February 4, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2023.
  22. ^ Lopez, Danielle. "Delta Lambda Phi offers community for LGBT students, allies". The Daily Texan. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  23. ^ "Delta Manual: Your Guide For the Road Brotherhood". issuu. Delta Lambda Phi. 2015.
  24. ^ "Risk Management". Delta Lambda Phi. Retrieved July 15, 2023.
  25. ^ Cohen, Elizabeth (1993-09-30). "Chris Hunt and Delta Lambda Phi: A House with No Closets". Rolling Stone. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  26. ^ a b c "Information. Delta Lambda Phi - Kent State Chapter. Archived from the original on 22 January 2003".
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h "The Crest | OU Delta Lambda Phi". Archived from the original on 2002-12-27. Retrieved 2023-07-17.
  28. ^ a b c d e f "About | Alpha Delta Chapter Delta Lambda Phi in San Diego, CA". Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  29. ^ "Fraternity Finds Success Regardless of Sexual Orientations of Members". The Daily Utah Chronicle. Salt Lake City, Utah. 2000-02-24. p. 2. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via
  30. ^ Matthews, Anne (1998-09-15). Bright College Years: Inside the American College Today. University of Chicago Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-226-51092-7 – via Google Books.
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  32. ^ "Organizational Structure". Delta Lambda Phi National Social Fraternity. Archived from the original on 13 April 2009.
  33. ^ O'Callaghan, Erin (20 January 2011). "Fraternity for gay students to recruit new members". McGill Daily. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  34. ^ "Constitution". Delta Lambda Phi Colony, University of Texas. Archived from the original Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine on 4 December 2013.
  35. ^ "Constitution Archived 2010-01-06 at the Wayback Machine". 'Delta Lambda Phi Colony, Iowa State University. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  36. ^ "The Delphi Foundation Of Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity". Tax Exempt Organization Search. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  37. ^ a b c "The Delphi Foundation". Delta Lambda Phi. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  38. ^ "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Delta Lambda Phi Social Fraternity Inc. Internal Revenue Service. August 31, 2018.
  39. ^ "Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Archived 2006-03-19 at the Wayback Machine". Delta Lambda Phi. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  40. ^ "About Us | Alumni Association". Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. 2022-01-18. Archived from the original on 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2023-07-15 – via Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ "Local Alumni Associations | Alumni Association". Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association. 2022-01-18. Archived from the original on 2022-01-18. Retrieved 2023-07-15 – via Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ Tumin, Remy (2022-12-23). "Kentucky Lawmaker Speaks Out About Transgender Son's Suicide". The New York Times. p. A19. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  43. ^ Woodward, Alex (2023-06-30). "She lost her transgender son to suicide. She isn't giving up fighting for him". The Independent. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  44. ^ "Alpha Alpha Brother Becomes First Openly Gay Major College Football Player | Delta Lambda Phi". August 14, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-20. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  45. ^ Gibson, Steve (1995-10-21). "Capital AIDS activists Peter Schwehn, 32". The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento, California. p. 33. Retrieved 2023-07-14 – via