Was I discriminated against? Sending the wrong message…
In October of 2013 I filed a complaint against the Morgan State University Alpha Iota [chapter] of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., after being the victim of sexual discrimination while trying to become a member of the Alpha Iota chapter at my university. In one investigation conducted by the judicial affairs department, found that the chapter violated university policies. The chapter was placed on “disciplinary probation” until fall 2015 for having “violated certain university regulations, procedures and policies” released in a statement by university officials on December 3, 2013. In another investigation conducted by the Director of Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office to determine “whether or not I was discriminated against,” has yet to be released and the person who worked on my case is no longer at the university. It is has been eight months since the investigation started, and two persons have filled the role of the Director of Diversity and EEO at Morgan State University since the person working on my case left earlier this year. We do not have a campus environment that is free from discrimination, and students who attend the University are not shy from sharing this. Are we moving in the right direction? Perhaps, but likely because the University has been under the public spotlight due to my complaint.
I question my president’s sincerity when he said that the University did the right thing and “saw an educational moment” when it placed the Alpha Iota [chapter] of Kappa Alpha Psi on probation until 2015 and barred it from participating in University events or hosting its own, at the 2014 HBCU Student Success Summit sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU). I find that statement false considering that on May 2, 2014, the Alpha Iota chapter hosted an event in the University Ballroom called “Kolor Blind – Understanding One Another.” I find it hypocritical considering on February 8, 2014 the Alpha Iota chapter, in collaboration with another campus fraternity held their annual “Pretty Nasty” party; which aided in the moratorium for future events imposed by Vice President of Student Affairs, Kevin Banks as well as raising eyebrows in the Mayor’s Office. It is evident that the University has sent the wrong message. I don’t have an issue with whether or not the chapter is allowed or is not allowed to have events, but when the University is projecting one thing and the campus environment is projecting another there is a problem. When the University states that the chapter is on probation barred from participating in University events or hosting its own; yet the presence of the chapter on campus remains the same; members of the chapter allowed to wear their letters attending university sponsored events, the chapter hosting events [with or without stipulations], and collaborating with other organizations on campus sends the wrong message. The fact that university administrators and the campus climate are unclear of the Diversity and EEO officer’s findings regarding whether or not I was discriminated against, sends the wrong message. The fact that I have been on a wild goose hunt to obtain the findings from the Diversity and EEO Office, sends the wrong message. The fact that I am told from students and personnel at the university that it appeared as though I dropped my complaint on the university’s part, perhaps because I studied abroad this past semester, sends the wrong message. I do not believe Morgan State University did the right thing; you have sent the wrong message.
My Worst Achievement Became My Greatest Success
The time is now for me to say, thank you for that experience. Last month, at an awards dinner I saw my former colleague, peer, past Mr. Morgan State University—the member in the Alpha Iota [chapter] of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., who referred to me as an “intelligent ass faggot nigga” and advised other members of the fraternity to “give me the perception of a fair and equal opportunity” in a series of messages exchanged between him and other members of the fraternity regarding my application. I had seen him before but this time was different. I had forgiven him. I walked up to him, I greeted him, I shook his hand, and I wished him well.
Eight months ago, a reporter from Fox45 News, asked me a question, “Tell me what’s going on with Brian, with everything that’s happening how are you feeling?” Afraid, confused, and overwhelmed with everything going on at the moment, I refused to answer that question on camera. The truth is—I was more fearful that the reporter might have taken my words and tried to send a different message surrounding my story. I simply wanted to raise awareness about my experience trying to become a member of the Alpha Iota [chapter] of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., with the hopes that other people wouldn't experience the same form of discrimination I faced. I realize now, how significant this story had become and how important it is to answer that question.
A little about me: My job description says I am a World Leader in Meditation, Intuition and Higher Consciousness Learning. What does all of that mean? Well, I teach people how to meditate in a way that is healthiest for them and to use their imagination in a loving way to improve their body and their life. The Higher Consciousness stuff? Those are some fancy words that mean that I have a real respect for my Mind, Body and Spirit and that throughout my rather interesting life, I have learned to Love and Trust Myself almost all of the time. But it wasn’t always this way. During my coming out years, there was a lot of heartache, confusion and pain before I was able to see my way out of the darkness and into my own version of the light. Every ounce of my esteem and self worth has been earned through diligent work and a healthy passion for life despite the many challenges and obstacles I have faced. Believe me, I have been through some dark times that have tested the very fabric of my identity but I firmly believe that part of my life’s purpose here was to go through that dark stuff so I can share with you exactly how I survived it all. Today I get to share with you the things that I have learned that have helped me to transform confusion into compassion and fear into empowerment. Read on. I will share with you some of the things I use everyday that have helped me to transform seeming defeat into victory and create the awesome opportunities that I have today.Read more
If you watched this trailer and did not shake, if you watched this trailer and did not tremble, if you watched this trailer and did not feel confliction, admiration or love, then I suggest you watch it again. I am not sure if my mind has even finished digesting the power that was in this short clip. Black people talking about black people. No, black people talking about black gays. Wait, an all black cast in the south making a movie about a black gay boy learning about his sexuality.Read more
The Pride Network is proud to partner with Rocco Distefano who will be providing a Spirituality and Health column. Rocco is a World Leader in the instruction of Higher Consciousness Learning, Meditation and Self love and the founder of the online community, YourLifeIsAwesome.comRead more