Morgana Bailey has been hiding her true self for 16 years. In a brave talk, she utters four words that might not seem like a big deal to some, but to her have been paralyzing.
“In London, 16 years ago, I realized something about myself that actually was somewhat unique, and that changed everything. Hiding is a progressive habit, and once you start hiding, it becomes harder and harder to step forward and speak out. In fact, even now, when I was talking to people about what this talk was about, I made up a cover story and I even hid the truth about my TED Talk.
So it is fitting and scary that I have returned to this city 16 years later and I have chosen this stage to finally stop hiding. What have I been hiding for 16 years? I am a lesbian.”
Why speak up? Because she’s realized that her silence has personal, professional and societal consequences. In front of an audience of her co-workers, she reflects on what it means to fear the judgement of others, and how it makes us judge ourselves.
“In February, the Kansas House of Representatives brought up a bill for vote that would have essentially allowed businesses to use religious freedom as a reason to deny gays services.
A former co-worker and friend of mine has a father who serves in the Kansas House of Representatives. He voted in favor of the bill, in favour of a law that would allow businesses to not serve me.
How does my friend feel about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people? How does her father feel?
I don’t know, because I was never honest with them about who I am. And that shakes me to the core. What if I had told her my story years ago? Could she have told her father my experience? Could I have ultimately helped change his vote? I will never know, and that made me realize I had done nothing to try to make a difference.”
Morgana Bailey: The danger of hiding who you are