Survey aims to help bisexual U students

by Kori Koch

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Programs Office has developed an online survey to help the University meet the needs of bisexual students.

The 20-question assessment is accessible to all University students until April 21.

The survey includes questions about what the University can do for bisexual students and asks the students whether they’ve experienced physical or verbal harassment because of their sexuality.

“Bisexuality is the most invisible group of the GLBT acronym,” said B David Galt, the programs office director. “We’ve never directly focused on bisexual-student services until now.”

Somewhat similar assessments distributed in 2002 and 2003 by the GLBT programs office indicated bisexual students felt their specific needs were not being met by the University, Galt said.

Sarah Trowbridge, a University sophomore, helped design the survey.

“The ‘B’ and ‘T’ (in the GLBT acronym) are so often left out. There’s little programming available about our sexuality,” Trowbridge said.

Galt said he restructured survey questions to attract participation from bisexual students and those who engage in bisexual behavior but do not identify as bisexual.

He said he is hoping to collect valuable demographic information about bisexual students and suggestions for future programming.

“We want to know much more about their experiences,” he said. “Are they out? And if so, are they harassed?”

The majority of harassment reports the programs office receives are from gay, lesbian and transgender students, Galt said.

He said he feels harassment of bisexual students and other sexual minorities has increased recently.

“Students feel less safe on campus because of issues happening in larger society,” Galt said.

A general lack of understanding about bisexuality also comes from gay and lesbian students, Galt said.

“A common myth exists that bisexuals just can’t make up their minds,” Galt said.

University sophomore Aaron Quick said the University provides a slightly better environment for members of the gay community than bisexuals.

Educational health programs offered through Boynton Health Service are one of few services directed specifically toward bisexual students.

The Queer Student Cultural Center also provides support to bisexual students through Biversity, one of seven member groups under the organization. The group meets weekly to discuss issues pertinent to those who attend, Quick said.

A link to the survey is available on the GLBT programs office home page.