September 6, 2010

The Gay Mafia

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Out of the closet? Still in? Maybe just one step out the door? The Gay Mafia, an underground Cornell group, is throwing events this year to attract people who both openly identify themselves as gay and for those who are still in the midst of exploring their sexuality.

This past Friday night the Gay Mafia organized its opening event at the Watermargin Cooperative House at 103 McGraw Place. It’s starting off the academic year with a strong display that the gay community is a growing and thriving presence on campus, and definitely here to stay. With drinks flowing off an ice luge, people wildly dancing to techno music and lights flashing in bright colors, the Gay Mafia made it clear that they are a fun, sociable group who knows how to plan a great party. DJ NB had loud music radiating through out the basement attracting large throngs of people to the packed dance floor. Filled with sweaty, drunken college students, the Gay Mafia party was an entertaining place to be no matter what label one gives to his or her sexuality.

As an unofficial organization at Cornell, the Gay Mafia primarily uses facebook to secretly plan events and provide wild extravaganzas designed to give members of the homosexual community a danger free zone: A place without judgment and where people feel safe uncovering their sexuality. While invitations are sent out via Facebook to those who identify themselves as homosexuals, the Gay Mafia also invites others who are still unclear about their sexuality. According to one of the administrators who wished to remain anonymous, “We invite you because we think you’re cool, social, attractive and we want you to meet other people. We’re not pressuring anyone to come out of the closet before they’re ready, but we want to provide a place for people to try it out.” The group’s Facebook page describes the reason it has chosen to remain fairly secret. “Maintaining it [the Gay Mafia] clandestinely will allow for those in the closet to join without being intimidated.”

While the Gay Mafia primarily arranges these events for the benefit of the gay community, others are still welcome to attend. In fact, the party actually attracted a wide range of attendees. Yes, there were certainly more guys making out here than at the typical college party, but at the same time there was also a fair share of heterosexual action going on as well. In fact, Jacob Frank ’11, a friend of one of the Gay Mafia administrators, said that this is the third Gay Mafia event he’s attended. “It’s a good time for anyone. I actually met my girlfriend last year at one of these events,” Frank admitted.

While the organizers advertise the club as an all-inclusive community, not everyone present at the party seemed to share this goal. A few even said they would have preferred the event been exclusively gay.

Alfonso Doucette ’12, explained his dissatisfaction with the number of heterosexuals in attendance. “It seems everyone here is either gross or straight. Where are all the hot guys?” he asked. As for the four shirtless, heterosexual bartenders he admitted that they all looked “good enough to eat,” but that they served as just a tease. “The straight guys here come because they love the attention. I mean even if you’re not gay, I’m sure they enjoy knowing that other guys think they’re hot,” Doucette said.

Nonetheless, another Gay Mafia administrator, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the organization plays an important role in the gay community and at Cornell in general.

“We’re trying to provide mentorship in the gay world, especially for those in the Greek community. I want to show people that you can come out in your Greek house and it will be accepted.” He went on to explain that many current and prior members of the Gay Mafia have also been presidents and/or the social chairs of their respective houses. Basically “I’m here to lend a helping hand,” he said, “I want people to see that being gay is a positive thing.”

The group originally began three years ago when two homosexual men decided they wanted to break away from Haven, the formal LGBTQ resource on campus. One of the current administrators explained that these two men wanted to find other attractive and social homosexuals who were interested in partying and having sexual experiences with one another. In the past three years, the size of the Gay Mafia has grown exponentially and now includes an extensive network for gay people to interact with each other.

While the majority of partygoers were students from Cornell, the Gay Mafia also invited the “Boys of Ithaca College,” a homosexual organization on Ithaca College’s campus consisting of 67 members. Although only about 20 people from IC came, many of them stressed the importance of the gay communities at both Cornell and Ithaca uniting and getting to know each other better.

A friend of one of the Gay Mafia’s members, Eli Neustadter ’11 described his strong support for the growing power of the Gay Mafia and one its leaders. “One of the administrators is an extremely charismatic figure like Obama. He acts as a strong voice for the gay community,” said Neustadter. “He’s trying to make the gay scene more mainstream and I fully support his efforts. I wanted to attend to show that I believe in what he’s doing, otherwise I’d simply be a hypocrite.”

The Gay Mafia plans on having events approximately once a month and to include both small and larger parties. Future events include a wine and cheese get-together and possibly a formal later in the year.

Original Author: Julie Fulop