Bi.org’s Editor in Chief On Growing Up and Coming Out
Happy BiWeek and Bisexuality Day!
We spoke with Talia Squires, bi.org’s editor in chief on how bi.org a bit about her background and her journey to coming out as bi.
EL: Where did you grow up? What was it like?
TS: I’m an army brat, so I grew up moving around a lot. Most of my childhood was actually spent in Southern Germany. My father left the army when I was starting high school and we moved to small town in Southern Oregon. That’s where I went to High School and it’s still the place I consider home. Moving around throughout my childhood was a blessing and curse (I think everyone’s childhood is). Being an only child, there weren’t a lot of people in my life who I knew for more than a few years at a time. It was hard to always loose friends, but it gave me the opportunity to reinvent myself every few years. I loved being able to try out different versions of myself. It also provided me with a rich inner life that I think made me largely immune to the opinions of others. My head was so far up in the clouds that I wasn’t even aware of the fact that people occasionally thought I was ridiculous.
EL: Did you always have an interest in writing and journalism? If so, what did that look like for you growing up?
TS: I’ve always loved writing and have always been a voracious reader. When I was much younger I imagined myself being a fiction writer. As I got older I still loved writing, but thought of it less and less as a career opportunity. I might be the only person I know who actually got joy out of writing papers in college, I loved doing deep textual analysis of film and literature. I ended up majoring in German Literature with a minor in film and went on to get my MA in Critical Studies and School of Cinematic Arts at USC. Then I took a crazy turn and spent a number of years working in the wine industry.
EL: What was a great learning experience that you had?
TS: I was lucky enough to go to a very small nurturing college. I had signed up for a midlevel German language class because I wanted to brush up on the German that I hadn’t really spoken since elementary school. The professor was an incredibly nice German man and he told me that I was too advanced for his class and that I should go to a literature class he’s teaching instead. He told me the time, place, and room number. This is my first week of college and I show up on Wednesday afternoon. It turns out that the class is six students and our professor. We all sit down at a big table and he hands out the syllabus while saying, “Welcome to Sex, Crimes, and Madness”. It turns out the literature class was about sex, crimes, and madness in German literature. I was shocked, but decided to stay because it fit in my schedule.
It turned out to be an amazing class with an amazing professor. Beyond the fascinating reading list it really made me rethink the importance of the role of art in culture. I’d always loved reading, but it made me think more about what I’m reading is saying about myself and the world at large. It made me into a much more critical viewer of not just literature, but of all cultural production. I think if it hadn’t been for that class my entire life would be different.
EL: Do you have a coming out story you’d like to share?
TS: Coming out for me was a little weird and definitely happened in stages. I spent a lot of my life saying I’m straight, except for Angelina Jolie. Then it was I’m straight except for Angeline Jolie and a growing list of other women. Then it was I’m straight except for a bunch of famous people and maybe that barista. At some point I realized that I’m not straight. It was such a slow process that it wasn’t really a huge moment for me. In a way working for bi.org is what made me come out to my family, but at that point it wasn’t a big deal. My parents are awesome and my husband is bi and I have a huge bi community, so I am lucky that it was such an easy process.
Thank you for sharing Talia, and thank you bi.org for supporting #WeNeedAButton