People of Georgian: Advisor shares experience as bisexual woman

Happy Pride Month!

To help celebrate, four Georgian College employees who are either members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community or allies are sharing their stories throughout the month.

Learn more about what Georgian’s doing to honour Pride Month, along with history, community resources, crisis support, and learning and allyship.  

People of Georgian: Meet Katelyn Ott

It’s important for me to talk about my sexual orientation because of how prevalent bisexual erasure is, and how often people assume I’m straight because my partner’s a man.

It’s complicated.

For example, we live in a world that’s not always the most accepting 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, so sometimes I let people assume I’m straight and don’t correct them for safety reasons. But other times, I do speak up to correct people who have a stereotypical idea of what a queer or gay person looks like or acts like.  

A person takes a selfie while sitting outside and holding a mug reading "The Adventure Begins."
Katelyn is a Student Success Advisor at Georgian’s Orillia Campus.

Exploring life as a queer woman

For a long time, I identified as queer and a lot of my partners were women. I lived in Toronto at the time and had a great queer community around me.

I also volunteered at a 2SLGBTQIA+ youth line, where I got to meet lots of rad queer folks and support a lot of youth who didn’t have the supports that I did. That was really meaningful work.

I also went to a healthcare centre specifically for 2SLGBTQIA+ folks, which was amazing. There was no assumption that I’m straight and needed to be on birth control because I’m a person with a uterus. I felt like I could just be me and be seen.

As time went on, I started to explore my attraction to men.

Two people take a selfie in front of a pool in a tropical location.
Katelyn with her partner, Cory.

I was trying to navigate my own identity, as well as sharing it with my friends and family. They knew me as someone who primarily dated women and then all of a sudden, I started dating men – it threw them for a loop.

Some of my friends were like, “What? Are you straight now? What does this mean?”

There’s a stereotype that if you’re dating a man then you must be straight.

I feel like we live in a colonial, patriarchal, homophobic world that likes to put people in boxes. And if you don’t fit in a particular box, sometimes folks don’t know what to do with you and will try to shove you into a box so it makes sense to them and they feel comfortable interacting with you.

Two people wearing rainbow shirts smile and stand in front of a rainbow-coloured backdrop.
Katelyn and her mom at Orillia Pride festivities.

Finding a queer community at Georgian

Navigating the world as a bisexual person, I felt like I had drifted a bit from my queer community, which is sad, but with a new Proud, Resilient, Inclusive, Diverse, Empowered (PRIDE) Employee Resource Group starting at the college, I was so excited to join and feel that there was space for folks to build that community here.

It’s great that Georgian is working toward having resource groups for folks to connect, especially if they don’t know anyone else in the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

It’s so nice to have a space where we can share our experiences and chat with others who we relate to without having to expend additional energy to explain what it’s like being a queer person navigating the world.

It really speaks to the importance of equity at the college. If we are actively working together as a group, as a community, to continue to make Georgian as inclusive, accessible and welcoming as possible, that’s such a lovely thing.

Katelyn Ott, Student Success Advisor at Georgian’s Orillia Campus.

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