QPenn, the University's annual LGBTQ celebration week, is set to take place this week from March 20 to March 26 — with events such as an interfaith game night, ice skating, and a drag show.
Events are hosted by various LGBTQ student groups on campus. QPenn will be largely in person this year for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be a few hybrid events and one fully virtual event.
“[QPenn] is a week for programming that’s specifically designed to uplift, amplify, [and] celebrate LGBTQ+ voices on campus,” College first year and head of the QPenn planning committee Xandro Xu said.
QPenn 2022 kicked off this Sunday with opening words and a mixer hosted in collaboration with FGLIQ, a club dedicated to queer students and alumni who are or were first-generation or low-income students.
The week will wrap up on Saturday, March 26 with an exercise event at Pottruck Health and Fitness Center and Queer Student Alliance’s Drag Show.
QPenn has changed over the 35 years the event has taken place, according to LGBT Center Director Erin Cross. In 2015, the event staged same-sex weddings in Houston Hall prior to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States.
For Cross, past highlights of QPenn have included Laverne Cox's keynote speech and attending one of QPenn's drag shows with her parents. Other events in past years have included talent shows and "Pride Games" held in collaboration with Penn's athletics department, Cross said.
"QPenn is important to our community because it's a week when you're in the spotlight," Cross said. "But more importantly, it's a place where folks feel like they can belong, which is so key on a college campus."
Both Xu and Cross emphasized that everyone is welcome at QPenn, regardless of whether or not they are part of the LGBTQ community.
“I would like to let the Penn community, our neighbors in West Philadelphia, [and] our neighbors across Philadelphia know that they’re welcome," Cross said. "They always have a place they can belong at the LGBT Center and in the LGBTQ+ community."
Xu also expressed that they hope QPenn can be a way for the entire LGBTQ community at Penn to unite.
“I really want QPenn to be that week for all of us to come together and to really celebrate,” he said. "That community, and the heart of it, is really important for us to experience, to feel like we belong.”