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Penn Non-Cis Internal Chair and College junior Kerry Schellenberger hosted the fifth annual GenderTalk to confront the recent election results and continue gender identity discussions.

Credit: John Ortega

In a time of incredible turbulence at Penn and across the country, the fifth annual GenderTalk may not have come at a better time.

GenderTalk, an open mic night hosted by Penn Non-Cis, will be held on Thursday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Goodhand Room of the LGBT Center.

Those who identify as trans or gender nonconforming are welcome to share any poetry, monologue or song, while cisgender people are encouraged to perform pieces pertaining to gender identity or expression. The event is free and open to the public. The LGBT Center, the Penn Women’s Center and the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies department are among the event’s sponsors.

Penn Non-Cis members created GenderTalk in an effort to amplify trans and gender nonconforming voices, as well as facilitate dialogue surrounding gender and gendered experiences. The group hopes that those in attendance will be prompted to think critically about gender stereotypes and how gender operates as a social construct in American society. The group will also ask for optional donations to Divine Light, an LGBTQ wellness center in Philadelphia, during the event.

In the past GenderTalk has drawn a large turnout not just from Penn, but from the wider Philadelphia community, according to Penn Non-Cis Internal Chair and College junior Kerry Schellenberger, who uses ze/zir pronouns.

“It’s always been a very vibrant event with a lot of different types of performances,” ze said.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Penn Non-Cis members agreed that the importance of GenderTalk has been amplified. Schellenberger said Penn Non-Cis has been reaching out to cisgender women who are hurting due to the results of the election and encouraging them to share their experiences at the event. Another member, who asked not to be named, added that the event will “provide a place for people to speak freely and voice their frustrations, and to stand in solidarity as a community affected by the hateful acts prompted by the election results.”

“At a time when so much about the future is uncertain, it’s important for us to come together,” this member said.