UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Robyn Ochs Speaks at the Queer Student Union

Robyn Ochs Addresses Students

On Wednesday November 7th, speaker Robyn Ochs and the Queer Student Union held a gender identity workshop in the second floor of the Campus Center. All students were invited to attend, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Ochs is an award-winning activist, speaker and educator whose published writings have covered several topics, including LGBT rights, women’s rights, sexuality, gender and identity. She is editor of the new book “Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around The World” which has been praised by critics nationwide for its advocacy on gay rights and equality.

The interactive workshop revolved around the idea of self-identity and how labels, which are placed upon individuals by society, have a great impact on how we are perceived by others.

The coordinator of the Queer Center, Stephanie Bonvissutto, spoke about the importance of having Ochs on campus: “Identity speaks to all of us,” she said, “It’s important to ask ourselves who we are, and who we are not, and what does it mean in our daily lives.”

Students were told to pair up with another student and to share with each other what labels were placed upon them by others and how it affected them as individuals. Marla Tim, a biology major, told her partner how being labelled a lesbian has affected other students’ perceptions of her. “Many ask why I don’t look like a man.”

Ochs hopes students leave with a better understanding of how labels impact themselves and those around them.

“The arc of history is long,” she said, “but it always bends to justice.”