After 16 years in hiding, a Kansas native came out as a lesbian during her TED@State Street London talk.
“Hiding is a progressive habit, and once you start hiding, it becomes harder and harder to step forward and speak out,” Morgana Bailey said.
Bailey explained that 16 years ago while studying abroad in London, she “realized something about myself that was actually somewhat unique, and that changed everything.”
“I am a lesbian,” she said. “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.”
Bailey said that 83 percent of LGBT employees have changed themselves in some way to seem less gay at work. She also said that the Advocate found LGBT people living in anti-gay communities have a life expectancy of 12 years lower than heterosexual peers.
“The article made me realize that my silence had personal, professional and economic consequences,” Bailey said. “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.”