7 Inspirational TED Talks to Celebrate LGBT Pride Month

What better way to kick off LGBT Pride Month than by taking inspiration from souls brave enough to ‘out’ themselves on the TED stage, in front of a roomful of strangers?

At 50, I’m comfortably gay. At least, I always thought I was. And then I started watching TED talks by people who are transgender, lesbian, homosexual and everywhere in between. It turns out I’m not quite as comfy in my own skin as I’d like to believe. And that’s okay. Their stories also helped me see how easy my queer life has been.

Rather than divorce me when they learnt of my predilection for the fairer sex, my parents were nonchalant in their acceptance of me. I wasn’t bullied at school or ridiculed in the street. People stared occasionally, that was it.

Sometimes, it takes seeing others’ experiences to recognize how good you’ve got it. Like Andrew Solomon, I too wished I was different. It would have been easier, for sure. But as he so rightly points out, if you banish the dragons, you banish the heroes.

We’re all different, we’re all unique, and as Ash Beckham reminds us, we all have closets. I believe the world would be a better place and our individual lives infinitely easier if we followed Ash’s advice and found the courage to open up and be who we are.

In the wise words of Harvey Milk, “There’s always somebody who wants to confiscate our humanity. And there are always stories that restore it. If we live out loud, we can trounce the hatred, and expand everyone’s lives.”

What is LGBT Pride Month?

LGBT Pride Month is essentially a month-long hat-tip to the community’s heroes. Both the LGBT individuals themselves and the many advocates and allies who stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their ongoing fight for equality.

The reason it’s held in June is to commemorate the Stonewall Inn riots against a police raid in New York City on June 28, 1969. The movement toward equality took flight thanks to these brave folks.

Along with the parades and other events that happen around the world to celebrate LGBT Pride Month, there are also memorials for community members who lost their lives to hate crimes, HIV or AIDS.

The rainbow flag, which flies higher than ever at this time of year, is the brainchild of Gilbert Baker —an American artist, gay rights activist and U.S. army veteran— and has been a symbol for the queer political movement since 1978.

TED Talks for Pride Month

1. Fifty Shades of Gay by iO Tillett Wright

iO Tillett Wright has photographed 2,000 people who consider themselves somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum — and asked many of them: Can you assign a percentage to how gay or straight you are? Their responses pose a real problem when it comes to discrimination: Where do you draw the line?

2. The Danger of Hiding Who You Are by Morgana Bailey

After hiding her true self for 16 years, Morgana Bailey chooses the TEDx stage to out herself. Why speak up after all this time? Morgana says she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences. A brave and thought-provoking talk that reminds us it’s never to late to step into the light and own who you are.

3. We’re All Hiding Something. Let’s Find the Courage to Open up by Ash Beckham

Ash Beckham offers us a fresh approach to empathy and openness. But it starts, she says, with understanding that everyone, at some point in their life, has experienced hardship. We don’t need to go into everything guns blazing, sometimes all it takes is meeting people where they are.

4. Why I Must Come Out by Geena Rocero

Born a boy, fashion model Geena Rocero transitioned at age 19. Even though her parents were completely accepting of who she was, she realized she hadn’t fully accepted her own journey. To do that she first had to ‘out’ herself and own her past as well as her present.

5. A Powerful Poem About What It Feels like to Be Transgender by Lee Mokobe

“I was the mystery of an anatomy, a question asked but not answered,” says poet Lee Mokobe, a TED Fellow, in this gripping and poetic exploration of identity and transition. It’s a thoughtful reflection on bodies, and the meanings poured into them.

6. How the Worst Moments in Our Lives Make Us Who We Are by Andrew Solomon

Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of adversity, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he’s met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.

7.  A Circle of Caring by Jok Church

Did you ever have a teacher who cared for you when no one else did? Jok Church tells a short, moving story of the teacher who sheltered him as a young gay teen and helped him grow — and how, many years later, he and his partner had the privilege of returning the favor.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

88 comments

Sheila Miller
Sheila Miller1 months ago

Everyone should be their true selves. Be Happy! Thanks for sharing.

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Julia S
Julia S1 months ago

Thank you!

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Richard A
Richard A2 months ago

Thank you for this article.

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Elisabeth H
Elisabeth H2 months ago

oki thanks

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Sandra Vito
Sandra Vito2 months ago

Thanks

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris2 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Trish K
Trish K2 months ago

We were all born the way we are supposed to be. Pride

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Peggy B
Peggy B2 months ago

Noted

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silja salonen
silja salonen2 months ago

with gratitude peace and kindness always. Love is Love. happy happy pride

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E Cooley2 months ago

Thank you.

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