字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 When I tell people that being a lesbian is the best thing that ever happened to me, I'm never really that sure how that's going to go. Sometimes, not a big deal. Others times, it feels like a revolutionary gesture. I have a friend whose name is Tina, and we've known each other since we were little girls. And she is this big mouth, big hair, big hearted, big make-up Texas woman. I absolutely adore her. She's been married to her husband for, probably, over twenty years, I guess. And they have great kids, and they've got a great life. And it's a very different life than mine. But the thing, and the best thing, that we have in common is that we're both really happy. Now, I'm pretty sure she's still holding a grudge over the time in fifth grade, when I cut her Barbie's hair and dressed it in G.I. Joe clothes... (Laughter) And we're kind of unlikely friends, but I adore her. So, last summer, she invited me to go to this seminar. It was one of those Ninja Internet Marketing for World Domination kind of things. And everybody there was going to be like a super high achiever, like the people that just sold their start-up to Google and now they're training for the Olympics. So... (Laughter). Right, that's right. So, we're all in the car, on the way there, and she said, "What are you going to tell people you do, if they ask you?" And I said, "Well, I guess I'm going to tell them the truth, which is that I write and talk to people about how being a lesbian is the best thing that ever happened to me." And she said, "You are not!" And I said, "What?" And she said, "I don't understand why it is that you think you have to keep telling people that. Things are getting so much better for you all. In fact, I'm not even really that sure why you think that you need to tell people you are a lesbian in the first place." I said, "What do you mean?" And she said, "Well, for starters, your hair". (Laughter) "And sweater vest and jeans, and sneakers. And blazers, a lot of blazers." (Laughter) Now, I like to think... (Laughter) ...that I am part of a grand tradition, and that is my tribal guard. (Laughter) But if somebody decides to assume that I'm a lesbian, from a mile away, before they've ever even met me, I am totally great with that, because, for me, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, LGBT is a gift. And I think that's an idea worth spreading. So, that's what I want to talk about today. First, why would anybody think that something that is so widely regarded as a challenge to overcome, or as a reason to feel disenfranchised and angry is a gift? And, second, why do we have to keep talking about it? So, if you were to look back across the continuum of time, through time immemorial, and pick any point on that timeline, you'll find a group, you'll find a race, you'll find an ethnicity, you'll find a religion, you'll find some group that has come to the forefront as the catalyst for change. In my life time, it's been us. Now, of course you can't compare the journeys of all these different groups. Everyone has its own challenge, which's got its own cultural repertoire, very complex stuff. But the thing that is true of all of them is that every time we've had a dialog as a society about these groups and gone through this process, it's elevated the collective consciousness. We learn about tolerance, we learn about acceptance, we learn about interconnectedness and we learn about the ways in which we are more alike than we are different. I am incredibly proud and grateful to have been alive at a time when my people were the chosen. Incredibly proud, incredibly grateful, because we are the current event on what Dr. King called the arc of the moral universe, that bends towards justice. So, not only do I think that it's a gift, I think it's a purpose, it's a part of something much bigger. And the other thing we've learned from history is that, once our society's changed its level of acceptance, it doesn't go backwards. Nobody says, "We should have never given women the vote." Well, maybe. (Laughter) Nobody says, "Bring back separate drinking fountains." Or even, "Hey! Whatever happened to that throwing Christians to the lions thing?" It doesn't happen. Now, if you are an inveterate TED talk watcher, like I am, you've probably seen a few about compassion, or authenticity, or vulnerability. In fact, we've heard about some of those things today. It's part of our contemporary dialog, we are living in this upward-driven search for the "aha" moment. It's everywhere. We trade wise and insightful quotes on social media like baseball cards. I went to the Big Box hardware store to buy a lawn mower, and there were curtains of inspirational sayings, next to the laundry detergent. (Laughter) It's everywhere. And the important thing for me, and the thing that I've begun to know, is that, as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, LGBT people, we deal with these themes early and often. You remember sitting in a Literature class, learning about man's inhumanity to man, or the individual versus society? We deal with this stuff every single day. And so, in a way, it propels us towards a higher consciousness, towards a different way of looking at the world. There's woman sitting here in the audience today, and some of you met her upstairs. Her name is Shery. Shery's parents have not spoken to her in thirty two years, since, as a seventeen-year-old, she came and told them she was a lesbian, and they kicked her out of the house. Imagine that! Here's the striking thing, though. Here's what Shery says. Shery says, "Yeah, it's an incredibly painful experience." But she wouldn't have any other way, because what it's taught her is that she didn't have to modify who she is. She doesn't have to make compromises to make other people happy. The only person whose happiness she's responsible for is her own. She's a walking example of how to take adversity and turn it into a better, higher version of yourself. Now, we are all familiar with the fear of rejection. Everybody knows it. Tina's fourteen-year-old locked herself in her room, sobbing for a couple of days, because some people were mean to her on Facebook, and they unfriended her. We've all felt what that feels like, when somebody says, "Er! There's something about you that is not OK." We know what that's like, But those are the times when we get to decide what is OK, in here. Now, when I first came out, there were plenty of times I would have told you being a lesbian was the worst thing that ever happened to me. Higher consciousness was not really on my radar. I was mostly interested in, "Where I'm going to find some other gay people and girls that will date me?" (Laughter) But, as I began to meet people, as I began to get out into this world, I saw people who made the decision and the choice to lie, to edit and to hide behind this wall of shame that they've created, because that was going to keep them safe, because it's scary. And I was scared too, but I did what a lot of people do when they're scared: I got angry, because that brings you a little jolt of power! I marched, I protested... It never stopped for me. I was incredibly, incredibly angry, because all of those things were true, and some of them still are. But I remember a day when there was a man, and I screamed at him, until it felt like my lungs were bleeding, because he was holding a sign that said, "God hates fags." And then, I went home and I realized that I probably hadn't done a lot to change that man's opinion that day. (Laughter) And that really, what being angry was doing was keeping me from showing up as who I am, which is a person who believes that love should win. Now, all of those thIngs that I was angry about are true and, certainly, protest, dissent are critical in the face of injustice. But so is love. So, the trick is to find the balance. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Wayne Dyre. He says, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." And it's true. Whatever it is that I'm out there looking for it in the world it's the first thing that I am going to see. Except my car keys. (Laughter) But what I choose, the person I want to be, what I choose today is to see that my experiences as a lesbian have taught me to go deeper and bigger than I ever would have, otherwise. Being a part of a marginalized group has given me a sensitivity towards oppression and just towards people in general. It's changed the way I look at all of those things. And what it's taught me is to look for the similarities, before I look for the differences. It's an amazing thing to understand. And the other thing that I've learned from my community is that we're already equal. We are working to change the laws to reflect that. And the other thing is that the only thing I really have to loose is myself. So, that brings us to the second question, which is: why do we have to keep talking about this? Well, all those groups that I was talking about before, the difference between us and them, from LGBT people and them, is that, for the most part, they all have had the support or, at least, a shared common experience with their families. I heard the comedian Wanda Sykes in the perfect statement. She said that, for her, the difference between being black and gay was that she didn't have to tell her parents that she was black. (Laughter) And it's true.