Pride Month: Ryan O’Connell

Today is all about the writer, Ryan O’Connell. First and foremost, you can find some of his work on Vice and ThoughtCatalog. He also released a “part-memoir, part-manifesto” in 2015 titled I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Now that I just gave him some serious promo, I realize that I haven’t even touched on why he is today’s Pride Month ~inspiring person~. (Side note: I really need to think of a better tag line for these featured peeps that has a better ring to it…..hopefully more progress on that later).

I was first introduced to Ryan O’Connell when I watched his StyleLikeU interview from 2015. To put it lightly, I was immediately obsessed. Before I go on ranting and raving about why I appreciate Ryan, just please watch his interview. I promise you will be captivated too:

Needless to say, he’s fucking hilarious. On top of that, I love the way he talks about the stereotypes surrounding gay men, and the struggles associated with being both gay and disabled. Ryan just has this ability to articulate his experiences in a way that connects with everyone who watches. I personally cannot directly relate to many of the things he discusses, yet somehow I still find myself nodding along and laughing to every word as if I have been in his shoes.

I think what makes him most inspiring, is the way he vocalizes the paradox within all of us. We’re all living in this limbo of simultaneous insecurity and confidence, right? Ryan puts words to those contradictory feelings in a way that I have never been able to.

Next up are three more videos. They touch on his coming out story, an experience at a gay bar, and some advice for 20-somethings. I know I keep saying it, but you just have to let these videos speak for themselves. My words wont do them justice. Ryan is the kind of person that, when he tells a story, you never want it to end. You’re just whole-heartedly invested from start to finish.

When I considered this project for Pride Month, Ryan was one of the first people I knew that I wanted to feature. I think that, by just being himself, he teaches so many people about love, acceptance, and confidence. In my opinion, we can all learn a little something from him, while being thoroughly entertained in the process.