Numerous on-campus clubs and organizations represented themselves and showed their support for Slippery Rock University’s LGBTQ+ community on Thursday, joining RockOUT in the quad for Acceptance Day during common hour.
Like each other held this Pride Week, the event was a way to encourage the student and community body to be inclusive of everybody, regardless of one’s sexual orientation.
RockOUT president Frankie Walker, a junior integrated marketing communications major, said it helped serve as a reminder that, for whoever is struggling with their sense of identity, there are resources to help.
Multiple organizations showed up in cooperation with the event, including students with the recreational therapy program, the Green and White Society, the Student Non-Profit Alliance and Healthy Outreach through Peer Education (HOPE).
“It pleasantly surprises me that there are so many other organizations that are not even LGBTQ+- related that do come out to support us,” Walker said.
Enjoying the first week as SRU Pride and Women’s Center Director, Dr. Lyosha Gorshkov stressed the week and month assist in a cause driven by acceptance.
Gorshkov added that, due to the conservative nature of the area, the work for this cause is especially important here.
“We celebrate not only the people who have come out and moved forward with their identities, but we’ve also tried to raise awareness for other people who are not friendly with the LGBTQ+ community to accept,” Gorshkov said.
With Best Buddies, sophomore Sarah Bonner shared a similar sentiment.
“This is a club that promotes inclusion for people with disabilities, so we thought it would be good to attend a pride event,” Bonner, a psychology major, said. “I think events like these are a good start just to gain awareness of people’s differences and just accepting everybody for they are.”
Gorshkov feels that acceptance shouldn’t be limited to set dates and events.
“I wish we could have every single day as a day of acceptance, because we designate particular days to try to ostracize and marginalize ourselves,” Gorshkov said. “It’s very important to celebrate, but, at the same time, we have to [accept] every single day, 365 days a year.”
Gorshkov also commended Slippery Rock University for allowing and promoting events of support on its campus, noting that some nearby post-secondary institutions do not do the same.
“Open your eyes and see that people are different,” Gorshkov said in regard to these universities. “We cannot all be generalized and be the same. You have students, I’m sure, who are different. Universities and colleges should move towards that goal [of acceptance]. If you cannot do that, do not educate.”
Pride Week as a whole, Walker feels, was a success. He also mentioned that the drag show was one of the most popular in recent memory.
“Overall, I just think [this week] was a really good reflection of this campus and the LGBT people on it,” Walker said.