Carly O’Neill was introduced into the LGBTQ+ community in middle school, an age where most of her peers were still trying to understand who they were.
O’Neill can still recall the moment when her dad, Michael, said he was seeing another person. Instead of asking “who” that person was, she asked who “she” was, O’Neill said.
“And he was like, ‘Well that’s the thing, it’s a guy,’” she said. “I immediately said, ‘That’s so awesome’ because I could tell how happy he was. His face lit up.”
O’Neill, now a junior at Millersville University (MU), has become even more entrenched in the LGBTQ+ community. She was selected as one of 15 college students to participate in this year’s Writing Wrongs program.
Writing Wrongs is a community journalism project dedicated to generating awareness and promoting understanding of critical social issues. Past topics included confronting the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, immigration, addiction and homelessness. This year’s topic focused on the LGBTQ+ community.
O’Neill joined 14 other college students from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York colleges for a 72-hour workshop in Berks County. While there, O’Neill interviewed members of the LGBTQ+ community about their journey and struggles.
Following her interviews, O’Neill started writing. The junior completed three articles in a three-day window. The program will publish a book, available for purchase in October, with all of the stories created by the students.
“I can’t wait to see all of our hard work come together,” she said.
The Writing Wrongs program touted a staff of social media managers, photographers, videographers and print designers to go along with writers. O’Neill, currently the features editor at MU’s student newspaper, The Snapper, was there as a writer.
“I just hope to gain substantial writing experience,” said O’Neill, a communications major with a focus in media broadcasting. “I hope to come out of this a better writer and to have better insight into the LGBTQ+ community. It’s close to home but after this program it’ll mean something more to me.”
You can learn more about the Writing Wrongs project at www.SeekReportTruth.com and follow on Twitter at @SeekReportTruth. You can follow Carly O’Neill on Twitter at @carly_oneill and read her work in The Snapper.