Students, faculty, and staff have immersed themselves in LGBTQ culture and history throughout this week in celebration of this year's annual QPenn.
During the annual QPenn, a cultural week organized entirely by Penn students, people attended events such as the Pride Walk, a discussion by Penn Non-Cis, and an overview of health coverage for LGBTQ individuals by the graduate student organization PennSNUGS. On Friday, people will attend a Drag Show organized by QSA.
The theme for the week is "Lineage," in honor of LGBTQ history, according to College sophomore and co-chair of QPenn Gianna Ferrarin. The other co-chair of the event declined to comment because they do not yet publicly identify as LGBTQ.
The celebration kicked off with the Pride Walk on Monday. Attendees gathered in front of the LGBT Center and walked to College Green as the Penn Band played various pop songs. Students and staff gathered on College Green, ordered pizza, and hosted an informal student mixer.
Throughout the week, many different campus organizations affiliated with the LGBTQ community are hosting events. The Lambda Alliance, QPenn, QSA, as well as groups such as J-Bagel and Wharton Alliance are all hosting events.
This week's snowstorm postponed three events for QPenn — two of which originally scheduled for March 21 have now been set for March 28. The other — the keynote speech from Amir Ashour, an openly gay Iraqi activist — was postponed from March 20 due to travel concerns. The date for the keynote speaker event is still undecided, according to members of the QPenn board.
Ferrarin, also a reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian, noted that the QPenn board, which began planning the events during the fall semester, had planned to have Roxane Gay as a keynote speaker but the connection fell through during planning. She mentioned the high price of more popular speakers and the growing interest in bringing in more local speakers.
This year, the QPenn board received funding from on-campus groups as well as nonprofit organizations like the Social Planning and Events Committee, Greenfield Intercultural Center, and Philadelphia Fight Community Health Centers. It also received money from the LGBT Center.
For the first time ever, QPenn posted its annual art supplement online, which is curated by students and for individuals in the LGBTQ community. In previous years, it has been included in issues of the DP. Ferrarin said the board was inspired by other online publications that have gained visibility like the "Disorientation Guide" written by students.
College freshman Brooke Price, who is involved in Queer People of Color, attended a free tour of the LGBTQ exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. She said she appreciated the "breadth of organizations across ethnicities, majors, and schools" that collaborated on the 14 events.
A College sophomore — who helped organize QPenn this year but requested not to include his name since he has not yet publicly identified as a member of the LGBTQ community — said this year was different in that the board placed more emphasis on accessibility, from the events to the online supplement. He noted that the board even plans to record the rescheduled keynote speech for interested people who can not attend.
The student also talked about the importance of discovering QPenn.
"Last year I didn't enter the LGBT Center almost at all," he said. "In the spring semester, when QPenn came around, and those events were advertised all the way on my side of campus it was like – it was really an invitation. After that, I kept going back to the center, even though there weren't events drawing me through the door."