WRC Distinguished Student Award Recipient 2015
Tiffany Sostar started her academic career later than most. In her late 20s, after coming out as bisexual, she ended her marriage. Returning to a passion for English literature and discovering for the first time a deep love of all things theory, she took her first university course and fell in love. Now, almost through a double-major in English (hon.) and Women’s Studies (hon.), Tiffany focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in her research and brings enthusiasm and a commitment to social justice activism to each of her classes and research projects.
Tiffany is genderqueer, bisexual, neuro-divergent and invisibly disabled. Having struggled with an anxiety disorder and multiple major depressions since her early teens, she has developed excellent coping and self-care skills. At 30, Tiffany was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and has developed her self-care skills and her work in disability justice. She is resilient and strong, and her experiences with suicidal ideation, self-harm, debilitating anxiety, panic and chronic pain have made her empathetic and compassionate to many members of her communities who face stigma and shame associated with these perceived signs of weakness.
Although she does not believe in fate or the idea that “everything happens for a reason,” Tiffany has chosen to use her challenges as tools and motivation for her activism. When there was no bisexual community in Calgary, she started one. When friends struggle with anxiety or depression, she shares resources and self-care strategies. She is a community organizer and has been involved in organizing or founding bisexual, pansexual, asexual, trans, polyamorous, kink and mental health communities. She works extensively with various marginalized communities through her writing workshops, which focus on issues of trauma, desire, history, fantasy and identity.