Being Different

In this episode we tell personal stories about being different, and we reflect on how our identities and experiences – in life and in professional spheres – have been shaped by that. Sanjay talks about growing up multiracial and trying to figure out what that meant while the world was trying to define it for him. Simine talks about not conforming to gender expectations and the assumptions and reality about sexual orientation that go with that. Alexa talks about how her understanding of her own romantic and sexual attractions and interests evolved over time and how she started dating women. Along the way we identify some common themes in our experiences: Feeling constrained by the neat little boxes the world gives us, even when it’s an expanded set of boxes. The tension between wanting to assert an important part of your identity and not wanting to claim experiences that the world will assume you had. And the importance of getting to tell your own story.

Plus: This week’s letter is about what to do when reviewers and committee members send you on wild goose chases. And we have a very serious discussion about pooping in the woods.


The Black Goat is hosted by Sanjay Srivastava, Alexa Tullett, and Simine Vazire. Find us on the web at, on Twitter at @blackgoatpod, on Facebook at, and on instagram at @blackgoatpod. You can email us at You can subscribe to us on iTunes.

Our theme music is Peak Beak by Doctor Turtle, available on under a Creative Commons noncommercial attribution license.

This is episode 40. It was recorded August 16, 2018.