Former FarmHouse member discusses lack of acceptance by fraternity brothers

Tyler Mootz talks about how he felt discriminated by FarmHouse fraternity members for his sexual orientation.

Ryan Anderson

Coming out as gay can be a difficult time for many. For one Iowa State student, coming out to his FarmHouse fraternity brothers resulted in him leaving his fraternity all together. 

Tyler Mootz, senior in music and an openly gay man, left FarmHouse fraternity because members made him feel unaccepted.

To become deactivated from a fraternity, the member must write a letter to the chapter. It must be read out loud in front of the chapter or another member must be chosen to read it.

Mootz chose to read it in front of the entire chapter and declare his unspoken feelings about how he was treated.

“I was never looking to be treated as the ‘gay guy,’ but rather like another brother. I should never have been afraid to tell any of you guys. You’re my brothers; I should have felt safest telling you,” Mootz said in his speech to deactivate from FarmHouse.

“After greek getaway [in high school], I went to the recruitment events for FarmHouse; I liked the recruitment chairs and really hit it off,” Mootz said.

He joined and moved into the house fall 2009, his freshman year. The second semester of freshman year, Mootz realized that he was gay.

“I didn’t know I was gay, but I knew I was different from a young age,” Mootz said.

Being in a fraternity, he knew coming out to a house full of men was going to be challenging. Due to these challenges, Mootz eventually left the fraternity in spring 2011.

Mootz first came out to Derek Lacina, senior in mechanical engineering, his pledge dad and roommate at the time.

“It didn’t bother me at all,” said Lacina, an alumnus of FarmHouse said.

Lacina said that some members did treat Mootz a little different after he came out. While mean or derogatory things were never said to him, he was more avoided than anything else, Lacina said.

“I didn’t come out to people who would have an issue with it,” Mootz said.

Mootz gives some FarmHouse members credit for breaking him out of his shell and becoming his real self.

One fraternity member said to Mootz, “It doesn’t matter what you do with your life,” after he discovered Mootz was in a homosexual relationship.

This helped Mootz feel more comfortable coming out to others.

“There’s a lot of people who come in who have never seen a gay person before. They would be somewhat mortified and mystified,” said Nate Witzel, a junior in mechanical engineering and president of FarmHouse.

When Mootz returned to school in the fall, he could tell that there was a big change in how he was being treated at the house.

“It got to the point where I just felt a complete disconnect from the house; I didn’t feel welcome there anymore, nobody asked me to do anything,“ Mootz said.

While Mootz decided his course of action, he was in the process of making an amendment to the chapter bylaws because they did not have a nondiscrimination policy against people based on sexual orientation.

“Traditionally and extremely stereo-typically fraternities are going to be more conservative,” Witzel said.

There is still no bylaw prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation for FarmHouse Fraternity.

“Being a private organization, we can discriminate on anything we wanted, simply from a legal standpoint. A lot of the bylaws are written from a legal standpoint,” Witzel said.

Mootz is a current member of Kappa Kappa Psi.