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Woman Surprises Co-Workers, Comes Out In Emotional TED Talk: VIDEO

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Morgana Bailey, a Human Resources professional, recently came out at TED@State Street London's talk, surprising her colleagues at the event who did not know she was a lesbian. Bailey even hid the truth from the TED organizers about why she wanted to speak and what her talk would be about. But hiding was something that had become all too routine for Bailey. "Hiding is a progressive habit," she says. For 16 years, Bailey hid her sexual orientation. The ripple effect of living a life dictated by hiding and secrecy was profound. A girl who was once unconventional and vivacious instead sought to conform to avoid being found out. 

However, emboldened by what she saw as a larger moral and social imperative, Bailey finally decided to come out. Said Bailey:

I am a lesbian. I’ve struggled to say those words because I didn’t want to be defined by them. Every time I would think about coming out in the past I would think to myself, but I just want to be known as Morgana, uniquely Morgana but not my lesbian friend Morgana or my gay co-worker Morgana. Just Morgana. For those of you from large metropolitan areas this may not seem like a big deal to you. It may seem strange that I have supressed the truth and hidden this for so long. But I was paralyzed by my fear of not being accepted. And I’m not alone of of course.

Bailey cites statistics that show that 83% of LGBT employees admitted changing some aspect of themselves at work so they would not appear too gay. "Employees struggled to be themselves at work because they believe conformity is critical to their long-term career advancement," Bailey said. 

Bailey was also alarmed by an article she read in The Advocate that found that LGBT people living in anti-gay communities have a life expectancy 12 years lower than their heterosexual peers. This statistic combined with the others underscored for Bailey the danger in not being who you are:

“The article made me realize that my silence had personal, professional and economic consequences. I’m not saying that everyone has to be an activist. But if we let our true selves be known at every opportunity for education and awareness, we will help enrich our own lives and help advance our rights within society.”

Watch Bailey's inspiring TED Talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Panti Bliss Gets Standing Ovation for Fierce TED Talk on Homophobia: VIDEO

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Panti Bliss, (aka Rory O'Neill) who made international headlines last February after an impassioned speech against homophobia on stage in Dublin went viral, was invited to do a TED talk on September 12 and the speech, which showcases Panti's wit and speaking talents spectacularly, was posted to YouTube yesterday.

The speech, titled "All The Little Things", concerns the homophobia in society which chips away at a gay person's self worth and well-being:

Bliss"Everyday I am jealous of straight people because that tiny intimate expression of affection has never once been mine...I am jealous of that because gay people do not get to hold hands in public without first considering the risk...We look around to see where are we, who’s around, what kind of place is it…are there bunches of lads outside a pub? ... I’m 45 years old and I have never once casually, comfortably, carelessly held hands with a partner in public... I’m 45 and I’m fed up of putting up so I’m not anymore. I’m 45 years old and I’m not putting up anymore because I don’t have the energy anymore. Putting up is exhausting. I’m 45 years old and I’m not putting up anymore because I don’t have the patience anymore. I was born 6 months before the Stonewall riots and you have had 45 years to work out that despite appearances, I am just as ordinary, just as unremarkable, and just as human as you are. I’m 45 years old and I’m not asking anymore. I am just being…human being."

Watch Panti take it away, AFTER THE JUMP...

Panti

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The Art of Lying (and The Clues You Can Use to Spot It) - VIDEO

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A new TED-Ed video on the tell-tale clues that can help you spot some of the 10 to 200 lies we hear each day. 

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Glenn Greenwald on Why You Should Care About Privacy, Even If You Think You Have Nothing to Hide: VIDEO

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Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the NSA Edward Snowden story last year, explains in a new TED talk video why we should all be concerned about privacy - even if you're "not doing anything you need to hide." 

"A society in which people can be monitored at all times is a society that breeds conformity and obedience and submission, which is why every tyrant - the most overt to the most subtle - craves that system. Conversely even more importantly, it is a realm of privacy, the ability to go somewhere where we can think and reason and interact and speak without the judgemental eyes of others being cast upon us in which creativity and exploration and dissent exclusively reside. And that is why when we allow a society to exist in which we are subject to constant monitoring, we allow the essence of human freedom to be severely crippled."

Watch the talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

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George Takei Gives TED Talk On Why He Loves The Country That Betrayed Him: VIDEO

TAKEI

George Takei recently gave a TEDx talk in Kyoto Japan about being sent to an internment camp for Japanese-Americans as a child during World War II and how that experience shaped his perception of democracy and led him to be the outspoken activist and patriot he is today. Takei said his father was his greatest teacher when it came to understanding the contradictions inherent in the American democracy:

He told me that our democracy is a people’s democracy and it can be as great as a a people can be but is also as fallible as people are. He told me that American democracy is vitally dependent on good people who cherish the ideals of our system and actively engage in the process of making our democracy work. 

For Takei, it was his father along with the decorated Japanese-American servicemen who risked their lives for their country in World War II that left him with a specific legacy and a responsibility: 

I am dedicated to making my country an even better America, to making our government an even truer democracy and because of the heroes that I have and the struggles that we've gone through I can stand before you as a gay Japanese American but even more than that I am a proud American. 

Watch Takei's talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Author Andrew Solomon's Inspirational TED Talk On How To Endure Oppression - VIDEO

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In a TED talk entitled, “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are,” Andrew Solomon — the openly gay author, philanthropist and activist best known for his 2002 Pulitzer-prize nominated book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression — discusses how adversity and injustice can shape and potentially strengthen individuals.

Solomon acknowledges that he has never experienced harm like that which befalls political prisoners and makes sure not to glorify trauma as always having a purpose or reason behind it. Nevertheless, Solomon’s childhood experiences being taunted by bullies on the bus and going through “sexual surrogacy” therapy during his adolescence — along with his personal torments of having a mother who committed suicide and struggling with depression himself — have undoubtedly shaped his character.

In his talk, he says:

I was at war with myself, and I dug terrible wounds into my own psyche. We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bare a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe it is purposeful. Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle. We could have been ourselves without the delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning…

Forging meaning is about changing yourself. Building identity is about changing the world. All of us with stigmatized identities face this question daily: How much to accommodate society by constraining ourselves and how much to break the limits of what constitutes a valid life. Forging meaning and building identity doesn’t make what was wrong right — it only makes what was wrong precious.

The entire talk is worth listening to. As are the other TED talks we’ve shared on Towleroad including the one from the founder of AIDS Ride, the talk on inequality that almost never came out and the one during which an international fashion model came out as trans.

See Solomon’s talk AFTER THE JUMP

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