The Pride Center hosted a discussion on Tuesday featuring a variety of speakers sharing their stories of queer life both inside and outside of the United States.
Lyosha Gorshkov, assistant director for the Pride Center and Women’s Center, shared their story of seeking asylum from Russian persecution in 2014. The general goal of the event, Gorshkov said, was to give the student body at Slippery Rock a broader perspective.
“The idea was to bring different people who identify as queers from different countries together to share their experiences, an overview of the legislation and the community in the country,” Gorshkov said. “It was to show how queer people can live, not only in the United States, but abroad and why it’s important to share their experiences.”
Gorshkov stressed the importance of highlighting queer experiences around the globe and combating the common narrative of American exceptionalism. By comparing the experiences found in other countries with those found in the United States, Gorshov says that there are plenty of similarities to learn from.
“With the political climate of this country right now, it’s very important to keep in mind that some other countries have already gone through this same process,” Gorshkov said. “You have to learn from them and not repeat those mistakes, you have to do everything possible to protect your human rights.”
The event originated from a member of the Pride center’s staff who was a student abroad. Gorshkov explained that said staff member had known queer people living in Malaysia who had originally been from America, and suggested having a conversation about people’s experiences with being queer around the globe.
“We thought it would be great just to show students, faculty and staff that behind the wall there are others, and it’s important to be mindful of that, because if something happens there that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t happen here,” Gorshkov said.
Queers Beyond Borders was just one of a series of events being held by the Pride Center in celebration of SRU’s Pride Month. Events will continue until throughout October, with the final event, “COVID Canoodling: Sex, Intimacy and Sexual Health,” taking place on the Oct. 26.