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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

SJUPride holds panel to educate campus

The panel included, from left to right, Paul Ammons ’20, Liam O’Neill ’20, Missy Leonardi ’20, Maggie Nealon ’20 and Jordon Constantino ’22. PHOTOS: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

Dozens of students gathered in the Forum Theater on Oct. 16 for “Queeries,” an event allowing students to submit their questions to a panel of LGBTQIA+ students. 

The event was part of Unity Month, which takes place throughout October and includes events such as Queeries to educate St. Joe’s faculty, staff and students on LGBT issues and allow students in the LGBT community to have their voices heard.

Maggie Nealon ’20, president of SJUPride and a panelist for the event, said the panel is about helping both allies and those in the LGBT community learn in a safe and anonymous environment.

“Sometimes there’s this culture of, ‘Should I ask that? Should I not ask that? I don’t know if I can ask that,’” Nealon said.  “So we wanted to have a place where people could anonymously and safely ask these questions and get the answers that will help them learn.” 

The panel of five students took anonymous questions from the audience through a facilitated online form which was open for the duration of the panel. Questions ranged from experiences on campus and with family, to intersectionalities of race, gender and religion. 

In all of their answers and follow up discussions, the panelists emphasized the importance of events like Queeries on campus and the need for more education for everyone at St. Joe’s. Some panelists even shared experiences of marginalization and feeling unsafe in classrooms. Nealon said that sharing these occurrences is important to alerting the university about what is happening.

“People may not be aware of some things that people are faced with in class or with the administration that have been damaging to them,” Nealon said. “I think it’s important for people to know that these things do happen on campus.”

Nealon smiles during the panel.

Each panelist discussed their personal journey through discovering their identities, their coming out experiences and how being on a college campus has changed them. Nealon said she is in a very different mindset than she was in her first year at St. Joe’s.

“It’s taken a lot of growth for me to get to where I am today, so I wanted to acknowledge that and speak to that,” Nealon said.

Maggie Mallison ’21, secretary for SJUPride, attended the event and said it is significant that the panel took questions from anyone in the audience.  

“I think it was important for everyone who’s an ally in the audience because you got to ask the questions to a gay person that you’ve never had the courage to ask, but you want to know,” Mallison said.

Missy Leonardi ’20, a panelist for the event, said events like Queeries are about LGBT visibility and acceptance within the St. Joe’s community.

“[It’s about] letting people know that we’re here, we’re valid, we’re present, and we are around whether that’s obvious or not,” Leonardi said. “[It’s about] just letting people know that we’re here and we’re people, too.” 


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