Skakel McCooey

As the Yale community continues to consider the future of all-male spaces on campus, members of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. hosted a Nov. 21 open discussion focused on redefining masculinity.

Around 20 people gathered in the Office of LGBTQ Resources to talk about the topic, which is “not often discussed in the Latinx community,” according to discussion leader Dennis Portillo ’22. The discussion — which was organized by Portillo and Nathan Nuñez ’20 — centered around contemporary definitions of masculinity and how they come to shape societal norms. The discussion’s organizers collaborated with Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Andrew Dowe ’08.

LUL has previously held similar conversations on campus, including one last spring, which dealt with “decolonizing masculinity.” Portillo characterized this year’s discussions as more “intentional” in including the community, adding that he hopes to “establish this as a new tradition for the organization.”

“I feel like as Latino men, we don’t really talk about these kinds of things out in the open or ever feel comfortable to do so,” Portillo told the News. “This event allows for a space where we can really question a lot of the normative behavior we embrace, really understand how it affects us as people, how it takes up space, [and] how we can better be aware of how we are treating other people.”

The discussion began with several community members sharing their personal conceptions of masculinity and their associations with the idea. Dowe then led a more seminar-style discussion regarding definitions of masculinity.

The conversation was influenced by Dowe’s class, Men, Manhood and Masculinity, which explores cultural and historical constructions of masculinity. In the seminar, students examine the demands and benefits of masculinity and how it informs contemporary society, according to Dowe.

“In the class, we are thinking about how to create better climates socially, at work and academically,” Dowe told the News after the discussion.

The conversation then turned towards how masculinity shapes personal relationships. Some community members pointed out how masculinity tends to restrain communication. They spoke about a perceived societal expectation for men to be unemotional.

The talk ended on the topic of imagining possible futures of masculinity. Portillo and Nuñez asked the group what they thought they could do to achieve a better definition of the concept.

“I think it was really powerful that people were talking about their own experiences,” Nuñez told the News after the talk. “It really calls out and brings [out] what’s in mind about masculinity. We think so many things about masculinity but we hardly ever talk about it.”

According to Dowe, the effects of discussions such as these “reverberate” throughout Yale, encouraging more explicit conversations about gender and gender roles.

LUL plans to continue holding community discussions, with future iterations in collaboration with different organizations and professors.

La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity Inc. was formed in 1982.

Serena Lin |

Correction, Dec. 3: A previous version of this article stated that LUL was formed in 1981. In fact, it was founded at Cornell in 1982.

  • Hieronymus Machine

    Wait, whaaaa’? Again, I just can’t keep up.I thought frats=bad. Are KAPsi and LULa exempt from YDN investigative reporting?

    The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court in Connecticut on Feb. 12, alleges that Yale fraternities discriminate based on gender and foster sexually hostile environments in their houses.

    LEO President Grant Mueller ’17 said the decision to disaffiliate predated allegations of sexism and racism against Yale’s SAE chapter

    Yale College Dean Marvin Chun… clarified that Yale has disciplined fraternities in the past, but these punishments did little to curb their activities

    The problems … include the sexually hostile environments at fraternities and lack of accountability both brothers and partygoers face for sexual harassment and assault; the systematic exclusion of women and nonbinary people from the ranks of fraternities, which subsequently denies them the vast social benefits and economic opportunities brothers may accrue solely by virtue of their maleness.

    During the past year, … fraternities have taken fire for underage drinking and often dangerous hazing of new pledges,

    Fraternity means “frats,” disorganized parties that exist primarily for men who are members to hook up with women.

    The majority of [the more than 30 women] interviewed said the problem is an institutional culture that tolerates sexual misconduct. Still, some students interviewed cautioned that DKE is not alone

    And LULa and KAPsi are not exempt: Ex Yale:

    [LUL] is pleased to announce we have received approval for colonization at Emory University


    [LUL], an all-male Latin American interest fraternity, was not permitted to establish a chapter in Emory Greek Life due to hazing allegations,

    A D.C. man is suing Kappa Alpha Psi for more than $2 million, claiming he was hazed… beaten, smacked with a cane and told to perform tasks in his underwear…

    The Lambda Delta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi (KAPsi) has been placed on a minimum three-year suspension after being found guilty of violating sections of both the Fraternity Conduct Code and the Interfraternity Council (IFC) Hazing Policy. Sections regarding hitting or physical threats, creation of fatigue or forced participation in calisthenics.

    The university recently suspended two multicultural fraternities — Kappa Alpha Psi and Sigma Beta Rho — for allegedly hazing their members

    Student [] said he was subjected to “beating, striking or paddling” as a Kappa Alpha Psi pledge

    FSU’s Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity is being investigated after an allegation of hazing [that] surfaced when a concerned parent sent photos and video to a local TV station. The video depicts fraternity members hitting pledges with a cane.

    Online comment:

    Well, while this article may be a vast generalization and I am not in complete agreement with it, your fraternity isn’t really one to talk on the issue, since your [LUL] chapter at [] is currently under investigation for the [alleged] rape of a student by two Lambda brothers at a Lambda off campus party.
    I really do hope that the [] chapter is different, but as an organization as a whole, I see a problem. And if you wish to challenge me on this, I will gladly meet with you, since the Lambda Upsilon Lambda Chapter up here is blatantly disregarding this issue, and making a joke out of the crimes committed by members of their “brotherhood.”

    Sorry to be such a Debbx Downer

  • Awal

    If it’s a fraternity, isn’t it just “Latino?”

  • Betterwould

    For those of us who aren’t personally aligned with the main characters, and/or who haven’t grown up in or experienced the culture, it would be useful if examples of the traits,(“…normative behavior we embrace…”).