LGBTQIA+ Walk a great success


Bella Lee, Staff writer

Mercyhurst does a lot of work in order to make sure a variety of groups can feel represented. A new event occurred recently— the LGBTQIA+ Walk, on Monday, April 17.
The event was organized thanks to the efforts of Catherine Segada, junior Environmental Science and Anthropology double major and Mik Sciortino, junior Social Work major.
With the battles that are ongoing nationally for and against the LGBTQIA+ community, the duo was inspired to form this event.
“In 2023, 461 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills have been introduced in the United States,” said Sciortino. “Considering the fact that we are only 3.5 months into the year, that number is staggering. Mercyhurst students and faculty needed to take a stance against these bills, and we decided to do it.
“We wanted to be able to communicate to the Mercyhurst LGBTQIA+ community that they are accepted, loved, and that students are willing to fight for their human rights.
“Additionally, we wanted students who may not hear LGBTQIA+ voices on the regular to be able to hear from a diverse array of speakers that could touch upon their own experiences.”
The walk proved to be a great success, with attendees being given resources to use in the future.
“We provided all of the attendees with a QR code with many resources on how to reach out to their local representatives, register to vote, and so much more,” said Sciortino. “We hoped that they would understand that these bills affect their fellow students, faculty and staff, and millions of other people. We wanted people to feel empowered, not disheartened.”
The walk was important to Segada and Sciortino because as the number of LGBTQIA+ students in universities continues to increase, the representation that is necessary becomes even more important. “This event was important to us because as two members of the LGBTQIA+ community, we are scared about what our country is quickly moving to,” said Sciortino. “It is so important to advocate for this community and everyone in it.”
It is crucial that there is adequate LGBTQIA+ representation everywhere, especially in the school setting.
According to the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, 82% of LGBTQIA+ students had issues in the previous school year with bullying about their sexual orientation, 64% felt unsafe at school due to their sexual orientation, 61% never reported being attacked as a result of their orientation, and out of those that did, 31% said their school made no effort to respond.
Additionally, in 2019, The Trevor Project reported that 71% of LGBTQIA+ youth experienced some form of discrimination and 67% faced attempts to be convinced to change.
It is known without a doubt that the students at Mercyhurst are capable of amazing things, as was shown with all the hard work students put into the LGBTQIA+ Walk in order to make it as successful as possible. We hope to see another event like this next year!