• Amy Laskowski

    Senior Writer Twitter Profile

    Photo of Amy Laskowski. A white woman with long brown hair pulled into a half up, half down style and wearing a burgundy top, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Amy Laskowski is a senior writer at Boston University. She is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU and helps manage and edit the work of BU Today’s interns. She did her undergrad at Syracuse University and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. Profile

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There are 54 comments on How Does BU Date, Anyway?

      1. I feel like BU is making strides to be more inclusive and sensitive to other communities, in spite of all the criticism it gets for trying. Sometimes, for the sake of efficiency, it is more appropriate to make broader generalized categories for people to choose from.

        Not to say that they should just lump everything into “Other”, but maybe if the groups in question could agree upon an appropriate option to represent them, it would be probably be super helpful to the survey people, who don’t want to inundate students with a list of 10+ options.

        I understand the need to feel accepted and the injustice of being alienated for something you can’t help, and I agree that more positive and supportive recognition would be really great and helpful. But at a certain point there are limitations, and there are certain standards that need to be considered. I assume this survey was meant to be fast, simple, general. It’s not without its imperfections, and it’s well and fine to point them out. But crucifying it for its lack of consideration and depth, its lack of complexity and nuance and insensitivity seems to be missing the point.

        Not to mention, there is so much ambiguous terminology out there that not even the people in these communities have quite settled on what their labels mean or they have varying perspectives on them. I think that in order to make any real changes and strides, you need to first decide on something simple that can clearly communicate your ideas to a wider, and ignorant, audience. Yes. People are ignorant. Clear communication will help facilitate understanding, which will help make these kinds of things more inclusive and less alienating.

        Just saying. Lay down the pitchforks and indignance, people. Let’s do something constructive about these issues, and talk about them maturely. Leave the drama behind.

        1. We /are doing something constructive. It IS important that we fix even the smallest mistakes every time they’re made. That way, bigger mistakes /won’t be made.

          You can understand the need to feel accepted all you’d like, unless you accept that these are our terms of engagement, that /this is how we want to be acknowledged, that your understanding means nothing. You’re going to sit there and tell me you understand? And in the next paragraph blame /your confusion and the confusion of the people behind this survey (and so many articles, media coverage, etc. like it) on the fact that we were persecuted for thousands of years and couldn’t /develop a vocabulary? Yes, strides have been made and we’re much more adept to express how we identify now than in the past, and yes, there is some /personal confusion for some, but tell me, which person has each facet of their life figured out in the most simple terms? Now apply that to such an array of individuals— from differing ethnicities, to religions, socio-economic standing, gender, sexual orientation, and then maybe /maybe you’ll start to understand that WE ARE NOT HERE TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EASIER. WE ARE HERE, RIGHT NOW, TO MAKE YOU KNOW THAT WE EXIST. IT’S YOUR JOB TO EDUCATE YOURSELF. You recognize that people might have differing terms? Great! Learn those terms, learn what they mean to different people and if/when that comes up you can simply /ask. But at least you’ll be informed enough to know before stumbling stupidly into a conversation about a community you are so /clearly not a part of.

          The next time you feel so terrible about your existence and then your university decides that, though they want to make steps in the right direction, they forgot their map at home and are going to plunge forward anyway, regardless of how harmful it truly is to the people of that community, then we’ll talk about leaving the drama behind. But until then, you will hear our voice. With all it’s anger and disappointment.

          It’s your job, the job of the university, the job of all people resisting the reality of us, to fix it.

          1. Hopefully, you’re coming off a lot more entitled than you actually are. To be frank, I don’t care if you exist. Good for you. I have nothing against transgenders, cis-males, cis-females, or anybody but I really just don’t care what you identify as. You are more than a vocab word. However, if you want me to care and to be sensitive about your issues or my lack of appropriate jargon, you have to educate me. If you want others to understand and acknowledge your existence, don’t yell and tell me that I’m ignorant for not understanding something I perhaps wasn’t even aware existed. It’s not like the entire population is resisting the reality of your existence so don’t sound so childish as if the world hates you. If I don’t know your trials and problems, YOU educate me. If you have a problem with people not understanding your community, YOU fix it because otherwise, as far as I know, it’s not my problem unless you tell me about it, who it’s affecting, why it’s affecting them and why it matters. Essentially, don’t expect me or anybody else to care anything about what you identify as if you won’t take it upon yourself to patiently and kindly educate me.

  1. This survey doesn’t work properly on android phones. I can’t speak for iPhones, but if people can’t answer on their phones, most probably won’t bother at all, and you’ll receive either a very limited or a skewed response.

    Just saying.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Chris. We understand people are experiencing problems when trying to complete the survey using mobile devices. This is a problem with SurveyMonkey, the service used to create and host the survey, when the survey is accessed through an embed code (such as in the BU Today article).

      Fortunately, SurveyMonkey supports most mobile devices when the survey is accessed on their website. Anyone wishing to complete the survey using a mobile device can do so here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/27Q35JC

      This link has also been added to the article above to prevent further confusion.

      We’ve received a lot of great responses so far, so thanks everyone for participating, and keep the responses coming!

  2. I was going to make the same comment that Vika did. The categories in the first question are highly problematic. More useful option lists might include:
    1)Male, female, other (since many transgender individuals identify as male or female)
    2)cis-male, cis-female, trans-male, trans-female, gender queer/gender fluid/non-conforming/other
    The first question on the second page is also poorly phrased. It isn’t asking about sexuality, it’s about sexual orientation, and for a more exhaustive list, the options should also include “asexual”.

    1. Thank you! Very well laid out and conclusive. I didn’t know how to use this survey because I’m asexual and didn’t really match any of the options.

  3. I started dating my boyfriend my senior year of high school. We knew each other through school, but he had already graduated by the time we started talking. Since he was living far away, our whole “courtship” thing took place over the phone and Internet. Basically, we spent a lot of time talking and getting to know each other. We were talking every day and became pretty close. Eventually he asked me out over the phone, and we’ve been together since then. He moved back to our hometown for a while to be with me, and now we both live in Boston. We have been together for three years, and he is my best friend.

    Also, I am bisexual and this has never been a problem. We check out girls together. It’s super fun.

    Hopefully that kind of sort of is helpful :v

  4. Yeah, you clearly have no idea what “cisgender” or even “transgender” means. First off, they’re antonyms. Second of all, being “transgender” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a “third gender” or that you identify outside the gender binary. FTMs are men, MTFs are women. Still, that is at least a mistake that a lot of surveys make. The “cisgender” thing, on the other hand, is just embarrassing to whomever created this survey.

  5. As Vika and Elizabeth have pointed out, the first question about gender identity could be worded better. Also the second question asking about sexuality is very limited and should include more options. A poorly written survey like this will make it hard to gauge what dating is like at BU.

  6. Just going along with what’s been said above – there are so many problems with asking for gender orientation here. Transgender is not the same ad gender fluid, and you shouldn’t be asking someone if they identify as transgender – ask for trans-male or trans-female. Cisgender is what most people think of as male or female – where your gender identification and your sex match up. Genderqueer/gender fluid are neither transgender (either gender) or cisgender.

    Also, as Elizabeth said above, an option for asexual is needed as pertaining to sexual orientation (NOT sexuality).

    Does BU need a video to spell it all out to them? Here’s a good one by Hank Green (YouTube educator and vlogger on SciShow, Crash Course Biology, and vlogbrothers): http://youtube.com/#/watch?v=xXAoG8vAyzI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DxXAoG8vAyzI

    I’m pretty used to BU screwing it all up when it comes to any gender or sexual orientation outside of cis-male or -female and straight or gay. But this has me really disappointed in a school I want to be proud of attending.

  7. Please edit the options for the questions! Several people have pointed out the problems with including transgender/genderqueer/non-conforming/varient/cis-gender together as one option. These identities cannot be included under the same category, and cis-gender DEFINITELY should not be there, as it means that ones sex and gender are in alignment (aka biologically male and identifying as male) and is therefore covered by the options “Male” and “Female”.

    If you want to have a more accurate and descriptive representation of dating at BU, this survey must be edited.

  8. Katie is mostly right, but some gender-fluid/ genderqueer people do consider themselves to be under the transgender umbrella. However, it’s problematic for “Transgender” to be separate from “Male” and “Female” as some transgender people are binary-identified. A better way to do it would be how Elizabeth described it. And an “asexual” and “other” option should be added under sexual orientation.

  9. What a freaking heterosexist survey! You pretend to care about orientation and identity but then you ask crap questions like “who pays for the date?” and only have three options for sexual orientation that don’t actually accept the various gender identities. “Bisexual” is not an all encompassing term. And your gender identity question shows you have no knowledge and didn’t care enough to even google it. JUST ANOTHER WAY THAT BU SUCKS AT LGBTQ ISSUES. I don’t know why I’m surprised and, yet, I am. Over and over BU shocks me with how pathetic it is with students who don’t fit into their model of straight, white, sorority or fraternity kid. Thanks for ignoring the rest of us, BU!

    1. Good Grief, and what would have been an acceptable option for that question? The transgender pays? Ultimately, this is a survey about BU dating habits, not a survey about every single uncommon sexual orientation and identity. It’s naive to have expected this survey to be an all encompassing, exhaustive list of every dating ritual. This doesn’t mean that “BU SUCKS AT LGBTQ ISSUES”, it means that people whose identities fall within very small minority categories need to adjust their expectation of what the majority of people are interested in reading about.

  10. No, but seriously. Can we stop trying to pretend we’re trans-friendly without actually doing the work?
    transgender/cisgender are antonyms. don’t put the word cisgender into your survey just because it’s a big word you’ve heard them queers using.

  11. As a transgender student at BU this just feels like yet another “we pretend to accept trans people but we are unwilling to do even a little research.”

    But even outside the giant issues with gender identity and sexual orientation in this survey there are so many other issues.

    Question 12 seems to propose that a partner should never speak to another person of the “opposite gender” if you’re in a relationship. A) that supposed heterosexuality and B) what an unhealthy thing to promote in a relationship.

    Question 15 about “booty calls.” It isn’t about time of day or night, it’s about intent and consent like any sexual interaction.

    Get it together, BU.

    1. When they say “talking to”, it doesn’t mean literally conversing with but basically meaning getting to know someone for the purpose of dating or interacting in a physical manner. So basically would you be offended to know you aren’t the person’s only romantic interest… Alas “talking to” is a colloquialism thus not effective or clear for a survey sent to the masses.

      15 you’re dead on lol 12pm? 12am? whatevs depending on the relationship you have with the person.

      lastly, what type of research do you suggest on the transgender subject? you as well as a good amt of other folks bring up a good point. Is there a lot of literature on the matter? forums etc.? I’m asking out of pure ignorance.

  12. Some of these survey questions are poorly constructed. Many of my criticisms have been mentioned by other commenters. What if I’m not sure about marriage? I’m open to either/or without getting myself stuck in a definitely or no way. Also I have tried online dating, and I have mixed thoughts, yet I would certainly tell people about my experiences if the subject wad brought up. So these questions were frustrating for me overall and I ended up not submiting it. Disappointed in you BU! You can do better than that.

    1. “21. Is there anything else you would like to add?” This is where you would write down extra information about marriage/online dating/ etc.

      Far too much whining taking place.

      1. Uh… The stuff entered in those written fields is not quantifiable. “Researchers” add those in an effort to make people feel heard but the info put there is almost never really considered.

      1. Yeah. Hard to please those people who want to not be insulted by the school they’re paying thousands of dollars to for an education that repeatedly ignores who they are.

  13. This awful survey will not accomplish anything in the ways of quantifying what it tries to. Many questions are poorly constructed and do not have nearly enough options. On most of the questions I felt like the response I chose was just a “Hey well this one is close enough I guess, but I wish it said _________ instead.” It looks like someone just threw together this survey very last minute and didn’t even get a second opinion

  14. Honestly, if I may add, I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. I feel as there is a community of people that constantly feel the need to be in a relationship, especially this day in our generation. I hate the people are putting off the pursuit of intellect and the keys to success to be with a significant other. The most powerful people are always the ones that are never really married. A need for a relationship is just unhealthy. The divorce rate in this country is a staggering 50%. So don’t date unless you’re mature to be in a relationship at all. Or maybe its just that I’m personally not fond of wanting to get into a relationship. Its not for me. The most important person I need to please is myself. I’m here to get ready to make the world mine and acquire the highest level of intellect and financial power. But anyways, if this is the survey targeted specifically towards the lesbian, gay or transgender community, make the survey more specific. And also I find it difficult to see that you aren’t defining the problem very thoroughly when it comes to this group of people. Is this a complaint that there aren’t as many people of their sexual orientation on campus, or is it that there aren’t services being provided to make them feel comfortable for being in the LGBT sexual orientation. The approach to the issue should be tuned a bit. But its good to recognize this community, since they tend to be shunned by the rest of society.

  15. For students interested in learning more about issues related to gender, sexuality, identity, and human experience discussed here, consider checking out courses offered by the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program this fall or the lectures and other programs they offer … http://www.bu.edu/wgs/ . If you’re interested in learning about survey methodology (a useful professional skill), consider a course in social science methodology in Sociology or Political Science.

  16. “Male” and “Female” are not gender identities. Those are biological sex terms. “Man” and “Woman” are the gendered terms you’re looking for.

  17. Can we please all stop being so dramatic? Yes, the terms were used in a poor fashion, I am not denying that. But for those of you who are targeting BU and saying that you are ashamed of the school are making this situation so much bigger than it needs to be. Complaining in a post here is not going help. For those of you who are offended by the use of certain terms in the survey, take a good look at what comes out of your mouth. Your words offend people, too.

    1. “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that,’ as if that gives them certain rights. It’s no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I’m offended by that.’ Well, so [bleep]ing what?” —Stephen Fry

      1. I’m offended that they don’t know what cis means. It’s just that it’s completely meaningless to include both possible answers to an either-or question in the same checkbox. Makes the representative they consulted look rather foolish.

    2. Go look at how mad all the undergrads got about the increased party patrols… and then tell us we’re being over dramatic.

      Deny your right to illegally drink? FASCISM!!!

      Deny our identities? OMG you’re so oversensitive!

      1. I had the same response to those freshmen and sophomores who were complaining about increased patrols as did to the complainers here. You’re preaching to the wrong person.

  18. The problem with the language used is that you imply it all means the same thing. cis-gendered means that you identify your gender with your physical body. So cis-gender means the exact same thing as male or female. if your going to put 13 slashes between words, put cis-gendered next to male and female. also all the words you used mean such different things its ridiculous to have it all be one choice.

    also i love how mugar and the club were in the same choice. someone please please please tell me this is a joke survey right? april fools coming early?

  19. Here’s a website that might help you with the definitions of the words you want to include in your ‘how do you identify’ question: http://transstudent.org/

    It’s REALLY important that you get this right, because otherwise you’ll be perpetuating a culture of trans-phobia and -misogyny and erasure of the spectrum of sexualities and gender identities that our campus (and the world at large) has to offer. It’s hard getting everything right, I get that, but actually accomplishing something? That’s far more rewarding.

    Here are more links to brush up on:


    To present an accurate, informed depiction of our campus, as you say you’d like to, you yourself need to be informed on what your population may identify as. Just because you don’t /think/ someone on campus would identify as something doesn’t mean that that person doesn’t exist. By not allowing people the place to voice who they are, you’re actively participating in their erasure. Yes, maybe people will be confused when they see cis-male, cis-female, trans-male, trans-female, etc., but that within itself will open up the conversation of information, of acceptance.

    It’s hard, I know. But it’s also worthwhile.

  20. “In the interest of expediency, we chose to create one box for students who were either cisgender, transgender…”

    Definition of Cisgender (courtesy of wikipedia):
    In gender studies, cisgender and cissexual are two words used to describe related types of gender identity where an individual’s self-perception of their gender matches their sex.

    Definition of Transgender (courtesy of wikipedia):
    Transgender is the state of one’s gender identity (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one’s assigned sex (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex).

    So, in interest of expediency, you literally placed two words with opposite meanings in the same box, and in doing so, created a category that contains everyone who could take the survey.

    Having made the mistake in the first place is entirely forgivable, refusing to admit fault, and giving a smokescreen of (dubious) excuses when you were called out on it is not.

  21. In the defense of the people who made this survey, I have been educated on LGBTQ and had first-hand experience being part of what I learned. In most cases it’s a touchy subject and it’s easy to offend people because there are so many proper/improper terms and ways in which people like to be identified in society. It still confuses me to this day and I don’t think the survey’s intent is to make someone who identifies as male or female or has a different sexual orientation to feel offended because of a mistaken term. They can be interpreted many different ways and I don’t believe that it’s conclusive to say that BU doesn’t care about being proper regarding LGBTQ or dating or just doesn’t understand, because in justification it IS really hard to understand. This is a sincere effort and I am proud to go to BU where the community is so open and affirming and advancing its efforts to educate people on these topics.

    1. Jennifer, you have a huge heart, but I’m having trouble seeing things from your perspective. This isn’t *just* some sort of ambiguous-terminology problem. Part of it is the inclusion of two ANTONYMS, each in possession of its own Wikipedia page, in a single checkbox on the survey. This makes it meaningless.

      But even the inclusion itself isn’t the problem. The problem is that, four days later, with several comments spelling this out for them and some background email correspondence, they haven’t fixed it.

      Even when they do fix that one thing, the survey will remain deeply problematic. However, their silent refusal to make the glaring and simple fix doesn’t fill me with goodwill, and certainly doesn’t look like a “sincere effort.”

      They don’t get a gold star “for trying.” They get a shame-on-you, because they’re an official publication of a higher ed institution. At a minimum, they should use the dictionary. This is embarrassing.

      1. Good God, so what if the author made a mistake? I mean, we had a huge storm. Maybe he/she hasn’t had time to fix it? Just forget it and let go of it. The author is a human, not a robot.

  22. Seriously people, you really need to calm down with all you serious remarks about this survey. It is just a simple fun survey. If you guys find it offending or worded wrongly then don’t complete it. There is no need to go in long arguments about how horrible the survey is and all the mistakes it has.
    It is not being sent to the senate to be evaluated.
    Just enjoy it and dont take things so seriously. No one was trying to offend anyone’s identity.
    Relax my friends

  23. “In the interest of expediency, we chose to create one box for students who were either cisgender, transgender, genderqueer, nonconforming, or variant. We appreciate the feedback, which will inform our reporting in the future.”

    That is not in the interest of expediency. You chose two words THAT MEAN OPPOSITE THINGS. The word “cisgender” means somebody whose gender identity MATCHES their biological sex. Cisgender is the EXACT SAME as your man and woman category. It would be like me saying this:

    Are you:
    A) Heterosexual
    B) Bisexual
    C) Homosexual/Straight

    “Heterosexual” and “straight” mean the same thing. They shouldn’t be in different categories.

    So your survey could have read:

    A) Cisgender female
    B) Cisgender male
    C) Transgender, Transexual, Genderqueer

    It’s not that we just think you needed to be more expansive in your choices, it’s that you used the word “cisgender” in a category it didn’t belong in.

    I PROMISE you that the center for gender and sexuality didn’t approve of that. Because it’s just factually incorrect.

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