Morgana Bailey: The danger of hiding who you are

Speaker

Morgana Bailey is a human resources activist who wants to see the diversity of society reflected in the workplace

Summary

Morgana is a lesbian who came out during this TED talk, but doesn’t want to be defined by that. She grew up in Kansas and was not afraid to be seen as odd, but when she realised she was ‘different’ she worked harder to conform. She was paralysed by the fear of not being accepted. However, she is not the only person wanting to conform: 61% of the general population change an aspect of themselves to fit in at work, and 83% of gays do the same. They believe conformity is the path to career advancement.

Morgana changed when she realised that gays in non-accepting communities have 12 yrs less life expectancy compared to more inclusive communities – driven by heart disease, violence and suicide. When Kansas voted on a bill that would allow businesses not to serve gays, she neglected a chance to come out to an old friend who could tell her story to a congressman. This congressman voted in favour of the bill, and she realised that her silence was making the issues worse.

She moved to a company renowned for it’s social inclusion, and promised herself she would come out to such an accepting institution, but still did nothing. “There are more scary things inside than outside” – by confronting her fears, Morgana realised she can change the outside world. By coming out she can influence the data, and also to help others who feel different be more accepted and fulfilled.

My Thoughts

An emotional call to be yourself, or else see yourself being destroyed by others.

There’s something strange about a majority of workers feeling they have to change themselves to conform: the ‘majority’ they are conforming to might have no real members.

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