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Redefining masculinity | Shane Horsburgh | TEDxCanberra

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Published on Oct 28, 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. What might the world look like if we redefined masculinity? Shane Horsburgh shares his personal journey from a false identity of hyper masculinity to a new understanding of what it means to be a man.

Spending 17 years as a police officer at state and federal level, Shane Horsburgh thought he had a good grip on the world around him; including the perspectives he held, and the identity he formed as a result.

A highly trained operative in special operations and domestic counter terrorism, Shane experienced firsthand the devastating impact of violence and intolerance in society; especially those involving innocent children. He would often look at children impacted by violence and/or crime and think, ‘gee I hope someone comes along and shows them a different way of looking at life, so they don’t think this is all it has to offer’.

It wasn’t until he had left the police and headed to war-torn Iraq that a fortuitous conversation with an elderly Iraqi Muslim (known as the ‘Professor’) lifted the veil on his own, limited perspective. Little did he know…what he had wished for others was exactly what he needed?

Realising the macho laden, ego driven world he was operating in did not define who he was, he set about making massive changes in order to live a more peaceful existence. Ironically, in the midst a war-zone Shane’s conversation with the ‘Professor’ initiated a re-acquaintance with long-lost perspectives and practices; previously disguised by the masculine façade he thought he needed to make it in today’s world.

With local ACT charity Menslink, Shane is currently delivering a program to schools across the territory entitled Silence is Deadly. This initiative encourages young men to talk about any problems or hassles they may have as a normal part of growing up; aiming to reduce teenage pressures and the disturbing statistics on young male suicide in our community. Shane also talks to the young men about the image of what a ‘real man’ is, with the intention of busting manhood myths to create a more inclusive, accepting society.

His passion for helping others stay on roller-coaster ride of life has resulted in the publication of his autobiography, Fighting Blind, in 2012.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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