Pride vs. prejudice

YSUnity is an organization aiming to help LGBTQ individuals who face discrimination.

By Elizabeth Coss

Students and organizations around campus found recent protests at Youngstown State University controversial. YSUnity, the only LGBTQ organization on campus, was especially affected. 

Steven Miller, president of YSUnity, said the goal of the organization is to discuss topics and issues LGBTQ individuals face. 

“Our goal is to promote equality among all gender orientations and sexual orientations, and we want to promote awareness of issues that we face, or that the community faces,” Miller said. 

Miller, a sixth-year telecommunications major, said the organization is considering creating a counter-protest to the ones that have recently occurred on campus in order to denounce hate speech, but it doesn’t have any set dates. 

Since last year, the organization has been growing in number and seeks to provide a safe space for LGBTQ students. Members of YSUnity have been supporting and reaching out to each other following the protests. 

“Having a group on campus that supports LGBTQ students on campus is very important because as a minority group, so many things are structured toward the majority on campus,” Amanda Fehlbaum, professor of sociology, said. 

YSUnity is open to everyone on campus and acts as an inclusive, safe space for anyone of any background. Its goal is to build a positive place for students and their identities. 

“[It] means that we acknowledge that LGBTQ students exist, that we are wanting them to come to YSU, and know that whenever you’re here, you’re a Penguin and proud. And it doesn’t matter if your Penguin is of different colors, we still want you involved,” Fehlbaum said.

YSUnity treasurer Em Steeves said starting up the organization has been hard this semester. 

“Right now, we’re just sort of taking it really slow because it is really difficult, one, trying to get something started in the middle of a pandemic, two, finding people who are able to have the time to be officers,” she said.

Steeves said the organization is still working on finding a meeting time, along with a location for the group. 

Students who wish to join YSUnity can go to the Penguin Portal and click on Student Organizations, then search for YSUnity. Membership can also be 100% confidential between students and the officers. For any questions, email [email protected]