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Bex MacFife interviewed by Ree Robson
November 21, 2019
Bex MacFife is a 2011 Whitman graduate from San Jose, California who majored in Rhetoric and Film Studies. She was involved in rugby and the LGBTQ+ student group, GLBTQ, as a student at Whitman. MacFife was hired as an intern for GLBTQ and worked with fellow interns in order to develop programs and events and lead meetings for the group. Her experiences at Whitman made her interested in gender expression and sexuality, leading her to a career that has been focused on issues and questions of sexuality, including jobs in sexual education programs. Beginning in 2019, MacFife was working on a PhD program in sociology, with a focus on sexuality issues.
In this interview, Bex MacFife ‘11 begins the interview by discussing growing up in a religious household and feeling like she was not ‘not like the other girls.’ As a student at Whitman, MacFife played rugby, ran juggling club, went to GLBTQ and made a senior film project that was a documentary about armpit hair. She explains the inspiration and motivation behind that senior project early in the interview. MacFife ended up becoming an intern for GLBTQ, which was her first real job, and talks about her role in the group and some of the events, like panels, that she was involved in. Both her job as a GLBTQ intern and a panel that she was on that had people share their stories of when they first learned about sex inspired her interest in focusing on issues of sex and sexuality as a career. Besides discussing the general environment for LGBTQ+ students during her time at Whitman, MacFife noted that later in her time there, and while working at a local homeless shelter after graduating, that she realized how conformist and privileged Whitman was and how that impacted student life. MacFife also shares her experiences as a queer student on study abroad in Beijing and with coming out as bisexual to her family. MacFife talks about how she decided to have a career centered on sex, sexuality and sex education, her path through various jobs and her decision to go to grad school. Close to the end of the interview, she discusses how she presents as gender non-conforming in daily life, and how people respond to her genderqueer presentation.
1 digital audio recording: 01:18:29
Whitman College and Northwest Archives, Whitman College LGBTQ+ Oral History Project Recordings and Transcripts, WCA159
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