Ash Beckham: Closets Are Hard Conversations (A TED Talk)

The last time I posted about Ash Beckham she’d done a talk on the harm done when people use the word “gay” inappropriately. (See “‘That’s So Gay’ Not Okay,” which includes the video.)

More recently she’s talking about the stress involved in coming out of the closet—coming out about anything difficult, not just being gay. Beckham admits that her own experiences enabled her to develop empathy not just for the closeted but also for any and all prospective recipients of her and others’ truth. The secret-holder in the coming out exchange, in other words, isn’t the only one needing compassion.

Adam Mordecai, Upworthy, states that Beckham’s TED Talk is about dualism: “the idea that people are complicated and often hold contradicting identities.”

More about this concept: “Dualism is the state of having two parts in simultaneous existence, of seeing more complexity than ‘with us’ or ‘against us.’ It’s a refreshing perspective for our increasingly polarized world. Humans are multifaceted beings, full of contradictions and complications. But society is constantly telling us that we have to pick a side.”

Among other insights offered in Beckham’s dynamic presentation are three things to bear in mind when doing your own coming out.

Watch the talk by Ash Beckham below:

To recap:

  • Everyone has a closet. (Or more than one.)
  • Everyone finds it hard to come out of the closet. Comparing the degree of difficulty is neither possible nor useful.
  • Three tips regarding coming out of the closet: 1. Be authentic, 2. Be direct, and 3. Be unapologetic.
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