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Coming Out Of Your Closet by Ash Beckham (Full Transcript)

Ash Beckham at TEDxBoulder

Transcript of Coming Out Of Your Closet by Ash Beckham at TEDxBoulder conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: MP3 – Coming out of your closet by Ash Beckham at TEDxBoulder


I am going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet. And not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets. Your closet may be telling someone you love her for the first time. Or telling someone that you’re pregnant. Or telling someone you have cancer. Or any of the other hard conversations we have throughout our lives. All the closet is, is a hard conversation.

And although our topics may vary tremendously, the experience of being in and coming out of the closet is universal. It is scary, and we hate it, and it needs to be done.

Several years ago, I was working at the Southside Walnut Café, a local diner in town, and during my time there, I would go through phases of militant, lesbian, intensity. Not shaving my armpits, quoting Ani DiFranco lyrics as gospel, and depending on the bagginess of my cargo shorts, and how recently I’d shaved my head, the question would often be sprung on me, usually by a little kid: “Mmmm, are you a boy, or are you a girl?” And there would be an awkward silence at the table, I’d clench my jaw a little tighter, hold my coffee pot with a little more vengeance, the Dad would awkwardly shuffle his newspaper, and the Mom would shoot a chilling stare at her kid. But I would say nothing, and I would seethe inside.

And it got to the point that every time I walked up to a table that had a kid anywhere between 3 and 10 years old, I was ready to fight. And that is a terrible feeling. So I promised myself the next time, I would say something. I would have that hard conversation.

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