QPenn 2013 will run March 17-24 on campus and throughout the city. The closing ceremony will, for the first time, be celebrated in conjunction with the Latino Coalition, which will host its own Festival Latino the following week.
QPenn communications chair and freshman Roderick Cook said that while the closing-ceremony partnership is a first, the Coalition has previously supported efforts of LGBT groups on campus.
“It is important because there is so much intersection of these issues between the LGBT and Latino communities and there is so much to discuss,” Cook said. “It is always relevant and we have people who belong to both in communities who wanted to see these collaborations. They have been very welcoming.”
QPenn is organized by Lambda Alliance, the umbrella group for campus LGBT groups, which enlists all of the organizations in staging the week’s events.
“We always reach out to LGBTQ groups and we tell them we are having a week of queer events and if they would like to host an event, we will help get the word out,” Cook said.
The celebration, which has been held annually for more than 10 years, includes performances, workshops and outings, nearly all of which are new this year.
The week will kick off with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. March 17, which will include a tribute to Dr. Lance Wahlert, co-director of Penn’s Project on Bioethics, Sexuality and Gender Identity, followed by an address from keynote speaker Janet Mock, a transgender activist, writer and editor of People.com.
“Having Mock as the keynote speaker is really relevant, especially since gender identity and transgender activism is on the rise,” Cook said.
Both events will take place at International House, 3701 Chestnut St. You can purchase tickets to Mock’s discussion, which are $5, at janet_mock_qpenn_2013.eventbrite.com/#.
Discussions throughout the week will include such topics as being out in the workplace, trans history and body image.
Penn will welcome queer performance artist Dan Fishback for a rendition of his “thirtynothing,” 7 p.m. March 19 at the Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St., and Fishback will also lead a workshop on queer performance art, 1-3 p.m. March 23 at the LGBT Center, 3907 Spruce St.
Penn Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia will stage its annual Pride Games, designed to bring together athletic groups and LGBT communities, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 24, which will be followed by the closing ceremony from 5-10:30 p.m. at Cohen Hall Terrace Room, 249 S. 36th St.
Cook said he first encountered QPenn when he was a high-school junior on a visit to Penn’s campus.
“I happened to come here during QPenn Week and there were people selling T-shirts and handing out fliers and talking about queer pride — and this was all before I came out to my family,” he said. “I saw that Penn was a safe place, which embraced the LGBTQ community and that they were interested in activism, which is what I was interested in.”
In addition to reaching individual students, Cook said he hopes this year’s QPenn demonstrates to the wider community Penn’s commitment to LGBT acceptance.
“I think that everyone knows that Penn is a safe space, but I want them to know how active we are as a community,” Cook said.
For more information about QPenn, email Cook at email@example.com.