ECCE workshop challenges students to see ‘Beyond Binaries’

Interactive event explores complex sexual identities


Photograph courtesy of Michael Agbabiaka

Crowd listens to the speaker at last friday’s ECCE event

In a workshop held on campus, students learned about the complexity and diversity of sexual identities. This workshop, hosted by Robyn Ochs, encouraged students to shed any preconceived notions about a person’s identity and to look beyond their label.

Ochs is a speaker, author, editor, and activist who has worked internationally in the LGBT community. Ochs’s work focuses on generating increased awareness of complex sexual identities.

“I am starting from the assumption that human beings are extremely complicated creatures,”

Ochs said during her workshop. Ochs based this knowledge on the idea of intersectionality, or the idea that people are made up of many intersecting identities that each play a role in shaping their identity.

“Every one of our identities influences how we experience all of our other identities,” Ochs continued.

According to Ochs, these identities include our age, race, sexual orientation, nationality, socioeconomic status, and more.

During the event, Ochs had students complete an anonymous survey about their sexual identity. Next, these surveys were dispersed randomly and students were asked to stand in a group based on the answers on their random sheet.

This exercise demonstrated the diversity of sexual identities present in the room. The activity is based on a scale that Ochs developed to map sexual identities, the Beyond Binaries scale.

The event was held on the Day of Silence, a day where students nationwide take a temporary vow of silence to honor students whose voices are silence by anti-LGBT bullying. The event was also part of the ECCE Speaker Series, a Springfest bonus event, and a Safe Zone: Bi and Pan advanced session.

The event was sponsored by the ECCE Speaker Series, the Office of Disability Services, the LGBTQA Resource Office, and Safe Zone. For more information on Ochs and her work, visit her website at