My name is Heather Hogan and I’m a TED Talks junkie. I have the TED Talk app on my phone, the TED Talks podcast on my iPod, and I follow TED Talks on every social media platform available. What can I say? I like ideas worth spreading! Over the past couple of years, TED has hosted a variety of queer and queer-adjacent speakers who have joined together to spread messages of hope and humor across the entire internet. (Which is to say: across the entire world.) Here are six of the most inspiring and uplifting queer-themed TED Talks of all time.
Ash Beckham: Coming Out of Your Closet
When a four-year-old girl asked Ash Beckham if she was a boy or a girl, she found herself having one of the best conversations of her life.
iO Tillett Wright: Fifty shades of gay
After photographing over 2,000 people and asking them to assess what percentage gay and straight they are, iO Tillett discovered that very few people identify as 100 percent anything, which means, perhaps, that the majority of people understand their sexuality as something more than black and white.
Shane Koyczan: To This Day … for the bullied and beautiful
With Hannah Epperson accompanying him on violin, Shane Koyczan reprises his triumphant spoken-word poem about overcoming bullying. Grab some tissues; you’re going to cry.
Alice Dreger: Is anatomy destiny?
Alice Dreger works with conjoined twins and intersex children, and over the years she has begun to question why something as inconsequential as anatomy pigeonholes us when we make life’s biggest decisions. What is gender anyway?
LZ Granderson: The myth of the gay agenda
LZ Granderson explains how Ferris Bueller helped him come to terms with his sexuality, and goes on to poke hilarious holes in the idea that there’s a “gay lifestyle” or a “gay agenda.”
Kate Clinton: The Rising
The iconic Kate Clinton talks about being a “fumorist” (a lesbian feminist humorist) for 32 years, and how things have changed for gay women (and feminists) over the past three decades.
This weekend, lesbian author Yang May Ooi will be speaking at Tedx’s Covent Garden Women convention about coming out from behind the labels we hide behind. You can find out more about her talk here.
Do you have a favorite Ted Talk? Share it in the comments!