10 LGBT TED Talks that will fill you with Pride

10 LGBT TED Talks that will fill you with Pride

It’s Mardi Gras season in Australia and, as we prepare to hit the streets of Sydney with Saturday’s parade, it’s a perfect time to break out some of the best LGBT+ TED talks from all around the world. 

Mardi Gras is more than just one big party though. It’s a whole festival of events that celebrates LGBTQI culture in Australia, a time to reflect on our history and, with many countries around the world still lacking in equality, safety and basic rights, a time to change the world as we finally recently did through the Marriage Equality debacle debate, and be loud and thankful for those who can’t.

I’m sparkling and so ready to march with my R U OK Day Ambassador boots ( and speedo) on, loudly and proudly bringing the story of why we need to look after mates, and ourselves to the party with 80 other passionate, wonderful people, including Casey Donovan and Steven Oliver. There are literally millions of other inspiring stories from LGBT communities around the world though and these 10 TED talks celebrate the brave, the curious, the adventurous, the change makers, the everyday lives and the stories of LGBT people all over the globe.

  1. Starlady:The Real Queen of the Desert I TEDxSydney



Remote Aboriginal communities are the last place you might think a transgender superheroine would find true acceptance. Trans woman Starlady is a youth worker and LBGTI advocate, travelling and working in some of Australia’s most remote and challenging places.

In her fascinating and funny TEDxSydney talk Starlady shares her story of surprise, adventure and finding new family in the desert.

2. Derrick Gordon — Be True I TEDxUMassAmherst


Derrick Gordon talks about April 9, 2014—the historical day when he became known as the first openly gay D1 Men’s Basketball player, making Division 1 NCAA history and global news instantly—and his own story of his sexual orientation.

3. Joanna Ferrari: Your Secret Self I TEDxMelbourne


JoAnna Ferrari is a vocal advocate for the transgender community. From high power executive living the life to her coming out and crashing with 79 cents in the bank at 53, JoAnna tells of a journey that almost destroyed her, but ultimately freed her to be who she always was.

4. Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols : LGBT Life Around the World I TEDWomen


As a gay couple in San Francisco, Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols had a relatively easy time living the way they wanted. But outside the bubble of the Bay Area they knew not everyone had it so easy. They set off on a world tour, visiting 15 countries across Africa, Asia and South America in search of “Supergays,” LGBT people doing extraordinary things, some in countries where basic rights are still lacking.

5. Sujatha Rao A call to Legalise homosexuality in India ! (Amending Section 377) I TEDxWalledCity


Dating British-era rule, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes sex work and homosexual acts, punishable by 10 years to life in prison. In her talk at TEDxWalledCity, global health advisor Sujatha Rao takes a stand against the value systems and preconceived notions that prevent marginalized groups from living freely, and calls for an anti-discrimination law to make any act of prejudice a punishable offense.

6. LZ Granderson: The Myth of the Gay Agenda I TEDxGrandRapids


In a funny talk with an urgent message, LZ Granderson points out the absurdity in the idea that there’s a “gay lifestyle,” much less a “gay agenda.” What’s actually on his agenda?

7. Bisi Alimi: There should never be another Ibrahim I TEDxBerlin


Nigerian gay rights activist and HIV advocate, Bisi Alimi, tells the story of his best friend, Ibrahim, who died of AIDS while at university. Since Ibrahim’s death, Alimi has made it his mission to spread messages of equality, openness and accessibility for the gay community in Nigeria. In his talk from TEDxBerlin, Alimi urges us to challenge conservative organizations and speak up for vulnerable groups around the world.

8. Andrew Solomon: How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are. I TED


In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, writer Andrew Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.
9. James O’Keefe: Homosexuality: It’s about survival. I TEDxTallaght


This passionate talk from Dr. James O’Keefe MD shares the story of his son Jimmy telling him he was gay, and gives us a deeply personal and fascinating insight into why homosexuality is indeed a necessary and extraordinarily useful cog in nature’s wheel of perfection.


10. I am HIV-positive. So what? | Avin Tan | TEDxNTU


Living with HIV as a Singaporean gay person, Avin Tan has undoubtedly seen his share of obstacles. Since his diagnosis in 2009, Tan has chosen to live a life of purpose, sharing his message of self-acceptance and powerful life lessons with the world.

Craig Mack
R U OK Day Ambassador, Social Media Manager TEDxSydney, Aussie LGBT+ Blogger, 
Head of Social Media @ Colloquial, Social Media and Content Strategy;  Influencer, Model, 
Speaks and talks Social Media, R U OK Day & Mental Health, LGBT Life & Advocacy
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If you are experiencing feelings of depression or suicide there are plenty of support services available. For help, talk to a friend or get in touch with organisations like Suicide Prevention AustraliaBeyond Blue, the Black Dog Instituteor Lifeline .

If you know of someone who needs help but don’t know how to have the conversation, R U OK is here to support you so visit them here.

Photo: JJ Halans | TEDxSydney


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