Watch: Woman comes out as a lesbian during powerful TED talk

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A woman has come out as a lesbian after 16 years in the closet – while giving a TED talk.

Kansas native Morgana Bailey made the revelation while giving a talk as part of TED@StateStreet London – while a number of her co-workers were in the audience.

During the speech, she says: “In London, 16 years ago, I realized something about myself that actually was somewhat unique, and that changed everything.

“Hiding is a progressive habit, and once you start hiding, it becomes harder and harder to step forward and speak out.

“In fact, even now, when I was talking to people about what this talk was about, I made up a cover story and I even hid the truth about my TED Talk.

“So it is fitting and scary that I have returned to this city 16 years later and I have chosen this stage to finally stop hiding.

“What have I been hiding for 16 years? I am a lesbian.”

She continued: “In February, the Kansas House of Representatives brought up a bill for vote that would have essentially allowed businesses to use religious freedom as a reason to deny gays services.

“A former co-worker and friend of mine has a father who serves in the Kansas House of Representatives. He voted in favor of the bill, in favour of a law that would allow businesses to not serve me.

“How does my friend feel about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people? How does her father feel?

“I don’t know, because I was never honest with them about who I am. And that shakes me to the core. What if I had told her my story years ago?

“Could she have told her father my experience? Could I have ultimately helped change his vote? I will never know, and that made me realize I had done nothing to try to make a difference.”

The clip was filmed in November – but was only released online this week.