The Phoenix presents activities related to gender and sexual identity awareness

BEMIDJI, Minn. (April 10, 2012) — The Phoenix gay-straight alliance and the women’s studies/gender studies program at Bemidji State University are sponsoring a series of events this week related to understanding and awareness of issues related to gender and sexual identity.

• Robyn Ochs presentation
On Wednesday, April 11, BSU will host Robyn Ochs for a presentation entitled “Beyond Binaries: Identity and Sexuality.”

Ochs’ presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Beaux Arts Ballroom in Bemidji State’s upper Hobson Memorial Union. There is no charge, and the event is open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Ochs is an educator, speaker, workshop leader and award-winning activist. She is the editor of the anthology, “Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World,” which features contributions from authors in 42 nations. Her own writing has been published in numerous outlets, and she has taught  courses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and politics in the United States, on the politics of sexual orientation, and the experiences of persons who do not fit into binary categories such as male/female, gay/straight, masculine/feminine or black/white.

Ochs describes herself as an advocate for the rights of people of all orientations and genders to live safely and openly and with full legal equality. Her work focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities, and on mobilizing people to be powerful allies to one another.

• 515 – The Tour!
On Sunday, April 15, BSU will host the 515 Players for “515 – The Tour!” in the main theatre of the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. Admission is free.

“515” is a theatrical representation of the real-life discrimination faced by same-sex couples in Minnesota. Minnesota law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and the “515” indicates the group’s view of the number of state laws designed to exclude same-sex couples from rights and benefits that it feels should be open to everyone. “515” presents a vision of a world of equality where all families are valued equally and respected under the law in their homes, neighborhoods, communities and workplaces.

“515” is written by Matthew A. Everett and is directed and produced by Bryan Garber. The 515 Players include Jessica Dougherty, Bryan Gerber, Shannon Troy Jones, Claire Lloyd, Adam Moore and Kelsey Strong. The actors will be available following the performance for a question and answer session.

The performance is sponsored by The Phoenix, Bemidji State’s Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee, the Respect Awareness Project of Servant Hearts, the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and by Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project North.

For more information about the events, contact Dr. Angela Fournier, assistant professor of psychology, at (218) 755-2530.

• Robyn Ochs: Official Website; Twitter