SRU to host noted activist Robyn Ochs


robin ochs

Oct. 8, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Robyn Ochs, educator, speaker, award-winning activist and editor of the Bi Women Quarterly, will present two programs at Slippery Rock University Oct. 14 as part of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation month.

From 3-5 p.m., in 115 Vincent, Ochs will discuss the "Changing Landscape of Identity: Understanding and Supporting Students of all Gender Identities and Sexual Orientations." She will discuss her work with teens and young adults, and share some of her observations and the lessons she has learned. The workshop is designed for faculty and staff, or those training to be teachers, social workers or medical professionals.

Ochs will present a campuswide talk from 6-8 p.m. in the Smith Student Center Theater. Her presentation will focus on "Loosening the Gender Girdle: How Gender Affects You - What makes a man a man? What makes a woman a woman?" She'll look at the ways in which people are limited by a binary understanding of gender, and explore how the politics of gender tie together the feminist, queer and transgender movements. The presentation is free and open to everyone.

"In fall 2012 Robyn spoke at SRU on the topic of bisexuality and because her talk was so well attended, we are honored to have her back for a workshop and another campuswide talk," said Tim Oldakowski, SRU assistant professor of English and co-chair of the Presidents Commission on Gender, Identity and Sexual Orientation. The commission is sponsoring Ochs visit.

"Robin Ochs is a dynamic speaker and teacher. She is a person with a great message to share. We are honored to have her visit as part of Gender and Sexual Identity month at SRU. I'm sure those that attend her workshop or campuswide talk will be challenged, entertained and changed," said Deborah Schell, assistant director of the Smith Student Center and a co-chair of the GISO commission.

Ochs has taught courses on LGBT history and politics in the United States, the politics of sexual orientation and the experiences of those who transgress the binary categories of gay/straight, masculine/feminine, black/white and/or male /female.

An advocate for the rights of people of all orientations and genders to live safely, openly and with full access and opportunity, Ochs' work focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities, and mobilizing people to be powerful allies to one another within and across identities and social movements.

Ochs serves on the Board of Directors of MassEquality, Massachusetts' statewide equality organization and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. She is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently PFLAG's Brenda Howard Award, the National LGBT Task Force's Susan J. Hyde Activism Award and the Harvard Gender and Sexuality Caucus' Lifetime Achievement Award.

GISO is one of six presidential commissions. Its purpose is to educate and advocate for understanding and acceptance of all people.

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