Local LGBT activist and 2011 University graduate Tucker Barry has been chosen to speak about the power of amateurs and their ability to create change at Saturday’s TEDxLSU event at the Reilly Theatre in the Music and Dramatic Arts Building.
Barry plans to use personal experiences to talk about nonprofessionals who may not have years of experience but are still able to make a difference in their respective fields.
Barry is familiar with local organizing as an amateur, particularly as a former president of Spectrum, the University’s LGBT organization, and co-founder of statewide nonprofit LGBT organizations Equality Louisiana and Louisiana Trans Advocates.
Equality Louisiana is a statewide coalition of about 25 LGBT organizations, Barry said. The organization’s mission is to achieve equality for all LGBT people in Louisiana through the support of these organizations, according to the Equality Louisiana website.
Barry said many people do not realize how many LGBT groups are active in the state, but Equality Louisiana helps to bring awareness to this number.
“We count college groups as equal to a statewide group because they are, and they should be,” Barry said.
Louisiana Trans Advocates has chapters in cities across the state and connects transgender people and helps them share experiences. LTA also helps to educate healthcare professionals on the medical treatment of transgender people, Barry said.
Barry is the current political director of Capital City Alliance, an organization that aims to improve the lives of Baton Rouge citizens of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
Spectrum President and biological engineering senior Kameron Kilchrist has known Barry since 2010. Kilchrist said it has been interesting to watch Barry’s growth from a student organization leader to a leader in the statewide movement for equality. He said Barry is one of the most dedicated people he knows within the local LGBT activist community.
“It’s just really impressive to see someone so young doing so much,” Kilchrist said.
Barry said people in the LGBT community outside of the University notice Spectrum and have created opportunities for college students to become active.
“I can’t overestimate college kids and how important they have been to the statewide movement,” Barry said.
Barry was at first hesitant to participate in TEDxLSU and wanted to look into finding other LGBT activists who might do a better job, but said TEDxLSU curator Joey Watson was insistent.
“Eventually, he was kinda just like, ‘This is an opportunity of a lifetime, you’re not supposed to say no,’” Barry said.
TED is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984 devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” according to its website. The TED Conference takes place each spring in Long Beach, Calif., and the global conference is held every summer in Edinburgh, Scotland. TEDx is the localized, self-organized version of TED, although it is guided by the TED Conference.
“I knew about TED, but I knew less about TEDx events and the local, independently organized ones,” Barry said. “I actually really like that concept of local organizing.”