LGBT activist speaker

By Carleen Boyer

Contributing Writer

“Professional bisexual” Robyn Ochs visited the University on Tuesday to discuss the topic of bisexuality in our culture today.

Ochs, who has been bisexual for 35 years, focused on many different aspects of sexuality, discussing the research of Alfred Kinsey, Fritz Klein and Michael Storms.

“Someone who may only date women but may find men attractive may label themselves as bisexual. The problem is that certain stigmas are associated with the labels, and in a society where it’s hard to get past stereotypes, it’s important to recognize that these labels don’t have set-in-stone definitions,” Eric Nuber ’13 said.

Kinsey has developed a scale known as the Kinsey scale, which rates homosexual and heterosexual tendencies on a scale ranging from 0 to 6. On the scale, a 0 is considered “exclusively heterosexual”, while a 6 is “exclusively homosexual”.

Ochs referenced this scale throughout her speech and built her own exercise that involved the audience. On the back of a paper, Ochs asked each audience member to rate himself or herself using the scale. The paper contained various questions, such as “Where would you put yourself on this scale, taking into account your romantic/emotional attractions?”

After the audience completed this survey, the surveys were collected and shuffled, then passed back out to each of the members of the audience. Ochs then randomly selected members to come to the front of the room to represent the anonymous paper they had received. Once the members arranged in order on the scale according to the overall sexual orientation number that was on the paper, Ochs asked the people to state which label, such as “gay” or “straight,” was on the paper.

“I think presentations like this, especially in today’s society where sexual issues have come to the forefront of public attention, are extremely important. People need to realize that sexuality is not a cut-and-dry issue, but a more fluid construct. I truly believe that talking about these issues will help people understand different sexual identities,” Nuber said.

After completing this exercise, it was found that the labels varied across the scale, and were not always dependent on location.

At the end of her speech, Ochs asked students to state what they learned from the session. Many students cited the need to be more open-minded, and some even stated that they better understood the meaning of sexuality, including bisexuality.

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