Robyn’s programs are interactive and incorporate current research and ideas from the fields of psychology, sociology, queer theory, and women’s and gender studies in a manner that is accessible to a general audience. Her programs are not “one size fits all”; rather, Robyn will tailor her programs to meet your needs.
In addition to 90-minute programs, Robyn offers half- and full-day workshops, intensives, seminar and webinars, and mini-conferences. People of all genders and sexual orientations are welcome to all of the programs. Unless otherwise specified, all programs are appropriate for a general audience.
Email Robyn to discuss possible programs.
Beyond Binaries: Identity and Sexuality – How do we assign labels to our complicated experiences of sexuality? In this interactive program, we will explore the landscape of sexuality, conduct a thought-provoking anonymous survey of those present, and look together at the data. Where do we fall on various sexuality continua? How do we label? How old were we when we came to our identities and to our sexualities? How asexual/sexual are we? How well do our friends/family members understand us? This program will expand your perspective and change the way you think about labels.
Beyond Bisexuality 101. The Williams Institute estimates that approximately half of the adult LGB population identifies as bisexual, and a new CDC study found that among 9th-12-graders in the U.S., 8% identify as bisexual (as compared with 2.4% as lesbian or gay). And yet bi+ individuals remain invisible and marginalized, and many deny that we even exist. In this interactive program, we will explore the experience of people who embrace non-binary sexualities, look at some of the challenges to recognizing and understanding the middle sexualities– an often-overlooked segment of the LGBTQ+ community, and brainstorm strategies for supporting bi+ people on our campuses. No matter how you identify, come to this engaging and interactive program if you could use some tools for challenging ignorance, biphobia and bi erasure.
Loosening the Gender Girdle: How Gender Affects You – Gender rules are often not spelled out. More often, they surround us, but are hidden, like the electric fences used to keep dogs within a designated boundary. Some social rules and expectations become clear only–or especially–when they are broken, and we witness how the transgressor is treated. Where are the boundaries? What is being threatened? What is being maintained? What can we do? We will look at the ways in which we are limited by a rigid and limited binary understanding of gender, and explore how the politics of gender tie together the feminist, LGBTQ+, and transgender movements. Please join us, and bring your gender with you.
The Changing Landscape of Identity: Understanding and Supporting Students of All Gender Identities & Sexual Orientations – Our teens and twenties are times of exploration, discovery, and growth. For non-heterosexual students, this is a time when presumptive labels and sexuality are called into question. How are young people using and experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity in 2018? What challenges and opportunities do they encounter?
Target audience: Versions of this program are available for students, for faculty and staff, for those training to be teachers, social workers, medical professionals, etc.
Deciphering the Alphabet Soup of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities – LGBT. LGBTQ. LGBTQQIA. QUILTBAGS. Every day, it seems that there are more letters. What are some of the new labels? How are people using and experiencing sexual orientation and gender in 2018? And what do you need to know to be culturally competent in this area? Bring your questions and an open mind.
Choosing to Label: What’s in a Name? – Bi, lesbian, gay, straight, queer, questioning, choose-not-to-label, etc. How do you decide which label to use? What do labels do? What don’t they do? Is it possible to avoid labels? What is the difference between ascribed labels and labels we choose? How can we manage our identities in order to get the maximum benefit with the minimum cost? Let’s think creatively and proactively about identity. This is a participatory program, and all are welcome.
Getting Bi: Unpacking Biphobia and Bi Erasure and Creating a Culture of Inclusion – The Williams Institute estimates that half of the LGB population self-identifies as bisexual. And recent research points to high levels of minority stress in this population. Yet there is little direct attention given to this population on campuses or by LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations. We will explore various definitions of bisexuality and other labels claimed by people who occupy the space between the binaries, look at some of the challenges to recognizing and understanding this often-overlooked segment of the LGBTQ+ community and brainstorm strategies for supporting bisexual people on our campus.
Bisexuality: A Transnational Perspective – How does context affect our experience? Which are shared experiences of bisexuality, and which are culturally specific? Through reading and discussing excerpts from Robyn’s 42-country anthology, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World, we examine bisexuality through a transnational and intersectional frame.
[This is an interactive presentation, excellent for classrooms. Readings will be selected to fit the specific needs and interests of participants.]
Bi History – Most histories of the “LGBTQ+ community” are mostly about the G, with some attention to the L and, more recently, to the T. But bisexual people – and the bisexual movement – have largely been written out of history. Robyn Ochs – an LGBTQ+ and, specifically, bi activist and educator since the early 1980s who has co-founded bi organizations, spoken on bisexuality at more than 500 campuses, in 15 countries, and at the White House – can help can help set the historical record
Embracing An All-And Identity in an Either/Or World – While any sexual orientation or gender identity comes with its own challenges, there are particular issues faced by people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, genderqueer, or who use other labels that defy an either/or interpretation of the world. Together we will examine these issues and devise strategies to create spaces that affirm complex and non-binary identities.
Choosing to Label: What’s in a Name? – Bi, lesbian, gay, straight, queer, questioning, choose-not-to-label, etc. How do you decide which label to use? What do labels do? What don’t they do? Is it possible to avoid labels? What is the difference between ascribed labels and labels we choose? How can we manage our identities in order to get the maximum benefit with the minimum cost? Let’s think creatively and proactively about identity.
Expanding Our Circles – On our college campuses, many of us are in the process of re-imagining gender and sexual orientation. We’re creating social spaces with very different understandings than that of the world around us. But we can’t spend our entire lives inside these bubbles. We have to interact with the world around us. How do we share what we have learned with others? How do we expand our circles of safety?
Target audience: (This is an advanced-level discussion for LGBTQ+ leaders, and/or active members of campus LGBTQ+ groups)
How to Save the World AND Have a Good Time: Self-Care For Activists – Have you ever felt overwhelmed, unsupported, exhausted by your activism? Let’s come together to brainstorm strategies for sustainability and self-care as we work for change.
Understanding Bisexuality: Challenging Stigma and Reducing Disparities Among College Students – Bisexual people face various health-related disparities, including higher rates of suicidality and intimate partner violence than even their lesbian and gay counterparts. In this program, we will look at the concept of minority stress as it relates to LGBTQ+ people and highlight disparities faced by bisexual people. We will challenge negative messages and stigma that surround the bisexual community, explore what it means to identify as bisexual, and discuss strategies for supporting bisexual students. Join us for this engaging and thought-provoking session! (Target audience: faculty, staff, student affairs professionals or students)
Meeting the Health Needs of Bisexual Patients – Bisexual people face a number of health-care related disparities, including lower access to health insurance, higher rates of certain types of cancer, and higher prevalence of intimate partner violence. This program explores what it means to be bisexual, and will help providers prepare to meet the needs of their bisexual patients, highlighting disparities faced by bisexual people, challenging negative messages and stigma that surround the bisexual community, and suggesting best practices for care.
Target audience: health providers or students in the health fields
Working With Bisexual Clients – What are the unique mental health needs of young people who identify as bisexual? What does this label mean? How can mental health professionals and others who work with students best prepare themselves to meet these needs of those coming out as bisexual or embracing other labels of sexual fluidity.
Target audience: Mental health professionals and advanced students of counseling and/or psychology.
NOTE: Robyn also offers programs for the workplace.
Robyn is a dynamic keynote speaker. Please consider inviting her to speak at your conference or event. Below are a few examples of potential keynotes:
Note: All talks are followed by a facilitated discussion.
Beyond Binaries: Identity and Sexuality – A modified version of this program (described above) makes a dynamic – and entirely non-traditional – keynote.
What Do We Do After “I Do?” – The United States Supreme Court ruled on June 26, 2015 that the Constitution guarantees all people the freedom to marry. So what’s next? Are we done? (Spoiler alert: NO! Of course not.)
Bisexuality, Feminism, Men & Me – How are the dynamics of same-sex relationships different from those of mixed-sex relationships? This provocative talk explores some of the intersections between the personal and the political, covering topics from body image to social sex role conditioning to heterosexual privilege.
Transgressing Binaries: Activism & Academia – What are barriers that impede communication between the streets and the ivory tower? What value can campus and community activists bring to each other? How can we build effective bridges/coalitions?
My Family Values: Lessons from a Generation of LGBTQ+ Rights Activism – Robyn Ochs draws upon three decades of experience as an LGBTQ+ rights activist, candidly discussing some of the mistakes as well as successes of the LGBTQ+ movement. Where are we now? Where should we be heading?
Imagining Our Lives – We are living in a time of tremendous advances in LGBTQ+ lives. But this process of change is every uneven: in some places, LGBTQ+ people have more civil rights than ever before; in others, our progress is being rolled back. Both popular support and resistance/backlash are on the upswing. Words of encouragement for these challenging times.
Contact Robyn for more information.