Monday, April 10, 2006

Queer Confusion at Tufts Conference

A "Safe Colleges" conference was recently held at Tufts. Why are these people's ideas taken seriously? Just read this sampling of seminars from that event, and you'll see their confusion. They don't know what to call themselves; whether or not their "sexual orientation" is inborn ("Does bisexuality even exist?" they ask); what role trauma plays in their development; what the difference is between sexuality and sexual identity; etc. But we must give them everything they want, even when they can't define who they are or what they want.

Bisexuality 101: Myths and Realities. What is bisexuality? Is there no such thing as bisexuality or is everyone really bisexual? Or is it more complicated than that? In this workshop we will examine these questions as well as biphobia in lesbian, gay and heterosexual communities with the goal of better understanding bisexuality and bisexual identities -- and identities in general. People of all sexual orientations are welcome to attend.
Robyn Ochs is a long-time activist, and the editor of the Bisexual Resource Guide and the new anthology Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World. She has taught courses in Tufts' Experimental College on topics including GLBT history & politics in the United States, the politics of sexual orientation, and the experiences of those of us who transgress the binary categories of gay/straight, masculine/feminine, black/white and/or male/female. Her writings have been published in numerous bisexual, women's studies, multicultural, and GLBT anthologies. She lives in Massachusetts, and on May 17th, 2004—on the first day it was legal—she married Peg Preble, her long-time partner. She is a professional speaker and workshop leader.

Choosing to Label: What's in a Name. Bi, lesbian, gay, straight, queer, questioning, choose-not-to-label. How do you decide what words to use to describe yourself? What are the advantages of choosing a label? What are the disadvantages? Why do other people care so much what you call yourself? This will be a participatory workshop, and all are welcome.
Robyn Ochs

Tools for Building Trans-inclusive College Communities. All too often, the “T” in LGBT is merely an afterthought. However, a growing number of college students are embracing transgender labels. Join us for a discussion of the many ways to make schools more welcoming for transgender and genderqueer students, faculty and staff....Led by members of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition ...

Queer Theory, Queer Sex, Queer Politics. In this workshop, students will have the opportunity to investigate some of the concepts and arguments fundamental to current developments in queer theory. We will explore, in particular, a recent debate in queer studies about the idea of "queer love" as a political practice. What is the relationship between sex and politics? Theory and sex? Politics and theory? Is a politics of love viable for queers? What if "Love Won Out," after all?

A graduate student in the Tufts University English Department, Ashley Shelden specializes in queer theory, film, and 20th Century British Literature.

Sexual Identity and Trauma: Navigating Both, Understanding Each. This workshop will explore sexual identity in the context of growing up in a less-than-perfect home environment. We will discuss how trauma and abuse can shape our sexuality and not our identities and, why there is limited research in this area compared to our heterosexual counterparts. The emphasis here is not on sharing details or memories but rather on discussing/understanding how the multiple identities of being queer and a survivor, in addition to our race and class identities, affect us in the present.
Kathy Girod is the Coordinator of the Rainbow Lounge at MIT where she runs groups on coming-out and healthy/un-healthy relationships. She also facilitates a coming-out group for LBT women at the Women's Center in Cambridge and, sits on the board of The Network/La Red, an organization that works to end abuse in the Queer Community. She is a Master's candidate at Simmons College of Social Work and graduates in May.