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Home » Embrace Your Raw, Strange Magic: Casey Gerald (Full Transcript)

Embrace Your Raw, Strange Magic: Casey Gerald (Full Transcript)

Casey Gerald

[Warning: This talk contains mature content]

Casey Gerald – TED Talk TRANSCRIPT

My mother called this summer to stage an intervention. She’d come across a few snippets of my memoir, which wasn’t even out yet, and she was concerned.

It wasn’t the sex. It was the language that disturbed her.

For example: “I have been so many things along my curious journey: a poor boy, a nigger, a Yale man, a Harvard man, a faggot, a Christian, a crack baby, alleged, the spawn of Satan, the Second Coming, Casey.” That’s just page six. So you may understand my mother’s worry.

But she wanted only to make one small change. So she called, and she began, “Hey, you are a man. You’re not a faggot, you’re not a punk, and let me tell you the difference. You are prominent. You are intelligent. You dress well. You know how to speak. People like you. You don’t walk around doing your hand like a punk. You’re not a vagabond on the street. You are an upstanding person who just happens to be gay. Don’t put yourself over there when you are over here.”

She thought she’d done me a favor, and in a way, she had. Her call clarified what I am trying to do with my life and in my work as a writer, which is to send one simple message: the way we’re taught to live has got to change. I learned this the hard way.

I was born not on the wrong side of the tracks, but on the wrong side of a whole river, the Trinity, down in Oak Cliff, Texas. I was raised there in part by my grandmother who worked as a domestic, and by my sister, who adopted me a few years after our mother, who struggled with mental illness, disappeared.

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