Pride Month: iO Tillett Wright

Like I said before, throughout Pride Month I am going to be sharing some awesome content written by some very talented people. But along with that, I’m going to introduce you all to some very powerful people that inspire me by just being themselves. Hopefully some of you already know some of these people, but if not, you will now!! This month is just going to be filled with a bunch of peeps that inspire me. Without further ado, here’s the first of many……

iO Tillett Wright – American author, artist, and activist. I’ve been following iO on social media for quite a while now, and I have learned quite a bit about their journey with gender. iO currently identifies as he/him, but didn’t always.

The video below is iO’s Ted Talk speech in 2012. I find this speech to be especially powerful because it discusses the idea of the boxes we put each other in, the ways we bond, and the environments we grow up in that impact our views on the world. Although you may not be able to directly identify with iO’s experiences with gender, you can, without a doubt, still identify with so many aspects of this Ted Talk. My summary clearly cannot do it justice, so I highlllllly suggest watching the whole talk. If nothing else, it will leave you questioning ideas you’ve probably never questioned before.

Along with that, iO’s Ted Talk touches on the Self Evident Truths project (link to the website here). A big reason why I wanted iO to be my first Pride Month post is because of this project. The basic idea behind it is that there is an infinite amount of people in the world that identify as “not 100% straight”. All of these people are just as equal, just as beautiful, and just as valid as any “100% straight” person is. iO puts it best in the Ted Talk by saying, “Visibility really is key. Familiarity really is the gateway drug to empathy. Once an issue pops up in your own back yard, or amongst your own family, you’re far more likely to explore sympathy for it or a new perspective on it.”

Check out the most recent Self Evident Truths “We Are You Campaign” video below. It is beyond powerful. To call this campaign inspiring is putting it lightly.

Along with this, iO is a published author. His memoir, Darling Days, can be best summarized here:

“Born into the beautiful bedlam of downtown New York in the eighties, iO Tillett Wright came of age at the intersection of punk, poverty, heroin, and art. This was a world of self-invented characters, glamorous superstars, and strung-out sufferers, ground zero of drag and performance art. Still, no personality was more vibrant and formidable than iO’s mother’s. Rhonna, a showgirl and young widow, was a mercurial, erratic glamazon. She was iO’s fiercest defender and only authority in a world with few boundaries and even fewer indicators of normal life. At the center of Darling Days is the remarkable relationship between a fiery kid and a domineering ma—a bond defined by freedom and control, excess and sacrifice; by heartbreaking deprivation, agonizing rupture, and, ultimately, forgiveness.”

Here is iO speaking about writing Darling Days:

Check out Darling Days on Amazon and check out more of iO’s work on his website.

Andddd if I haven’t promoted iO enough, you should also follow his Instagram!! Trust me, I follow it and it is v cool (he posts a lot of great instastories, ok).

Like I said, I’m not sure how well my summary of iO’s work, life, and current projects can really do iO justice. For the most part, you just have to let these videos speak for themselves. iO can teach and influence just by being, and for that, it is no surprise that he is the first of many inspirational people I wanted to share for Pride Month.