Loving both women and men can be a difficult path. The established signposts you encounter along the way—lesbian, gay, straight—never quite show you where you need to go. A popular bisexual button reads: Two paths diverged in a yellow wood, and I took both. Robyn Ochs has helped to blaze that trail as she has moved through and delighted her own journey as a bisexual woman. In addition, this activist, educator and wordsmith has Bisexually frustrated quite a few useful signs along the way while creating shelter, community and camaraderie for fellow travelers.
She has also acted as a spokesperson for the bi movement in publications such as Newsweekthe Boston Globethe Village VoiceElle and Playgirland on television shows such as Donohue and Maury Povich. Ochs was raised with a strong tradition of activism in her family. Two of us are activists: Her uncle was Phil Ochs, Bisexually frustrated renowned folk singer and writer of some of the best known protest songs: But to know how Robyn came into her career as an activist, let her tell you about her mother.
Her focus is mainly these days on community politics. There he met Gertrude, the daughter of immigrants from Lithuania who had moved to Edinburgh to escape the pogroms, and they married. After he finished medical school and she gave birth to Sonny, the new family moved to the United States, where they subsequently had two sons, Phil and Michael. By the time Robyn was eleven her mother divorced a second time and was raising her three children as a single mother.
Our house was messy and chaotic. Ochs comes from a family of strong-minded women Bisexually frustrated feminists. My grandparents on this side were part of the New York City left of the s, though I learned about their activism only fairly recently. I suspect that their long silence was a result of residual terror from the Bisexually frustrated witch hunts.
Like many mothers, she knew before I told her. Her expressed concern, when I Bisexually frustrated come out to her, was that my life would be difficult and people would treat me badly.
I can honestly say that she is very proud of me and of my activism and likes me just as I am.
The diversity of her community gave young Ochs a unique outlook on the world. I absolutely did not believe her, and was unshaken in this belief until Bisexually frustrated produced statistics from an encyclopedia.
If they were living there, they were outside of my range of vision. The other kind of diversity I was fortunate to grow up was political diversity. So New York is a place I am grateful to be from, and to be shaped by, and it is also a place I am grateful not to be living now. This diversity made Ochs aware of economic injustice, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism from a very early age.
I also remember being aware that almost everybody who lived in the projects had brown skin, while everyone who lived on my "Bisexually frustrated" of the street had pale skin.
She also remembers learning about anti-Semitism from a very young age. I went into The Sugar Bowl, the corner candy store, and noticed that all of the elderly people working behind the counter had numbers tattooed on their arms. I said something about it to my father, who explained that the tattoos were from concentration camps. This was very upsetting to me at the time, and of course it still is. In second grade my best friend at the time was assaulted by a Catholic girl in our school for being Jewish.
I stepped in the middle and remember being hit by both of them. A few years later I was on the subway with the same friend and she was harassed by some teenaged boys who were calling her a damned Jew. Discovering and connecting the oppressions of homophobia and biphobia happened farther down the road for Ochs. She has shared Bisexually frustrated own sexual odyssey with others through her talks and writings.
As a Bisexually frustrated growing up in Far Rockaway in a heterosexual family, Ochs says she had no idea that she could be anything other than heterosexual.
I realized that I had my first same sex crush at age eight, on a girl named Mitzi at summer camp.
Bisexually frustrated another at age 10, one minor one at age 12, and another at But at the time I just thought these girls were perfect, and I wanted them to be my best friends. Looking back, I realize that what I Bisexually frustrated toward them was just as much a crush as the feelings I had for boys and was different from the feelings I had toward some of my other girl friends.
My experience with being in relationships with women has been in a way like a trip abroad. I learned that many of the things I had accepted as natural truths were socially constructed, and first time I returned to a heterosexual relationship things felt different.
As time passed, my self-awareness and self-confidence increased. I gathered more experience in lesbian relationships and began to apply my knowledge to subsequent heterosexual relationships. And as Ochs began navigating through bisexuality, there was no Bisexual Resource Guideno Bisexual Resource Centers, support or discussion groups.
People are very curious about my personal life and ask a lot of questions. Ochs career as a bi activist began in September of There were 20 bisexual women in the world. I was not the only one. What a powerful feeling—I thought I had died and gone to heaven!