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Bi in the Life: Wendy Bostwick
by Ross Forman
2013-05-07

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Wendy Bostwick has meshed her personal and professional lives on the DeKalb campus of Northern Illinois University, while living in suburban St. Charles.

She has been researching the health of bisexual women, among others, for 15 years. "Given that this is my area of expertise, and I have LGBT all over my resume, I presume that those with whom I professionally interact make some sort of assumption about who I am/how I identify," she said. "However, my work in the field of LGBT health should stand on its own merits, not because of how I identify, but because it is done well, makes a contribution to our knowledge of BTLG health disparities, and hopefully spurs action toward change."

Bostwick said the best part of her job is the "tremendous amount of freedom" she enjoys, both in terms of how and where she spends her time, and the areas she gets to study, learn about and explore. "I am in many ways my own boss," she added.

However, Bostwick said the worst part of her job is "the current environment that treats education as a consumer good, students as customers, and a degree as something your tuition guarantees you, regardless of ability or effort."

She said the most challenging aspect of teaching is trying to balance all aspects of the job (research, teaching, service), and do all well while also having a personal life. "Sometimes I feel like I can do one or other, but not both," Bostwick said.

So why bi?

Then again, as she points out, why not bi?

"I think it's in large measure about honesty," Bostwick said. "I am someone who is attracted to people of various genders and who has relationships with women and men. To re-label myself as 'straight' or 'gay' based on the sex of my partner feels not only disingenuous, but revisionist, and disrespectful to previous partners, who may potentially become invisible by a shift to a monosexual label. It is also about visibility and the desire to disallow easy assumptions about who I am."

THE STATS

Age

42

Relationship status

In a committed relationship

Job title

Assistant professor at Northern Illinois University

Hobby

Brewing beer

Favorite local restaurant

Ras Dashen

Favorite TV show

30 Rock

Little-known fact

"When I was 13, I was pretty sure that I was going to marry David Bowie when I grew up."


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