On Tuesday, Nov. 11, Robyn Ochs, an award-winning writer, educator, speaker and activist, lectured and conducted a workshop titled “Beyond Bisexuality 101.” The event, sponsored by Trinity Diversity Connection, was designed to appeal to all sexualities on the spectrum, not just straight or gay students.
Ochs conducted several activities with students, including brainstorming a list of all sexualities, talking about negative characteristics attributed to bisexual people and discussing how even small groups of people can have great sexual diversity.
“It just showed how much diversity there is even within a relatively small group of people, and it’s something that is important to visualize. Whether you identify as gay or straight, there is a middle gray area and nothing is black or white,” said senior Leah Press, president of Trinity Diversity Connection. “This is something that was really amplified and it just proves how much we all need to be allies for each other.”
Ochs detailed her own experience as a bisexual, including coming to terms with her sexuality and dealing with negative reactions and stereotypes.
“My thing is not, “˜Oh no, we aren’t like that’; my thing is, “˜Oh no, we don’t own that.’ People in every identity group can be any characteristic. It’s only with bisexual people that promiscuity is seen as a defining characteristic””and that’s wrong,” Ochs said.
The difficulties many people face in terms of sexuality, according to Ochs, can be attributed to a culture in which people have trouble finding a middle ground.
“We in the United States are deeply conflicted about sexuality. On the one hand, everything about us is sexualized all the time; everything in marketing is about sex and sexualizing. Sex is all over the airways and all over the media,” Ochs said. “On the other hand, we are told not to talk about sex. It creates ignorance and mixed messages. I feel this cultural ambivalence sets up this static in our brains that gets in the way of our thinking.”
Trinity Diversity Connection brought Ochs to Trinity as a part of its mission to highlight the diversity of our community.
“We want to bring things to campus and the community that we think are representative, interesting and educational for diversity,” Press said.
Junior Becca Burt expressed her gratitude for having a place to learn about many different sexualities and openly discuss difficulties faced by everyone in society, regardless of sexual orientation.
“As a women’s and gender studies minor, I’m always looking to understand more about different identities that I may not know about, and having this environment to have open discussion about stereotypes and labels is something I really value,” Burt said.