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GAMIT’s Kingsbury on Gay Issues at MIT

By Aileen Wu

The Tech: Tell me about your background.

Talia Kingsbury: I came from a small town in Arizona with about 1,000 people. I’m in the Class of 2000 and am majoring in mechanical engineering.

The Tech: When did you decide to come out?

Kingsbury: I kind of had an idea when I was in high school that I was bisexual. I didn’t say anything. When I came to Interphase, I had a bad experience with it. I decided not to address it until I met a girl I really liked. Then I thought, well, I don’t care, I’m just going to go out with her. I was pretty obvious, because I wasn’t really hiding it. My best friend found out and got really upset about it. Since she was the first person to find out, I thought that’s how everyone would respond. But then I started telling my other friends and they said, “that’s cool,” “that’s fine,” or “we don’t care.” My best friend at the time set the tone. So, whenever I tell people, I’m still really scared that they’ll act the way she did even though the majority of them don’t.

The Tech: Have you had any vicious confrontations about your sexual preference?

Kingsbury: One of my friends, who is also bisexual, gets comments all the time, but mostly off-campus. I’ve never had someone be really vicious to me.

The Tech: What’s the on-campus attitude towards gays, lesbians and bisexuals like?

Kingsbury: People say that MIT people tend to be apathetic. But it’s really easy to find people who are like you here, no matter what nationality, sexuality, or religion. You can find your niche, enclave, your place to be, and you get more complacent, not so apathetic.

The Tech: How do people treat you off-campus?

Kingsbury: It depends where you go. If you go to Jamaica Plains, it’s gonna be gay friendly. But then if you go to South End, you probably wouldn’t want to hold hands with a person of the same sex.

The Tech: Do have any advice for people who are thinking about coming out?

Kingsbury: Whether to come out or not is not an issue, it’s more like, am I or aren’t I? If you think you are, just come out. It will make life easier. You find people who you really can trust. There is always coming out support groups. There are churches in the area that are gay friendly.

The Tech: Since you’re the general coordinator of GAMIT this year, what does your organization do?

Kingsbury: GAMIT provides support for people of different sexual orientations and is like a family to me. We bring alumni to MIT. It was cool to see people who are out in the regular world and are still living their lives normally.

The Tech: What are you doing for coming out week?

Kingsbury: We’re holding a reception on Friday night for coming out week. Just e-mail us if you have questions. We’re totally open and confidential. There are coming out support groups. We’re going to have counselors and people from the MIT medical center come over for coming out week. Everybody is welcome.