Select Page


Community Director, TED, Film & LGBTQ+ Producer/Activist

Tom Rielly is a serial entrepreneur and NGO founder who created the acclaimed international TED Fellows program in 2009. There are currently 532 TED Fellows in all disciplines and from over 100 countries, whose global impact reaches 500,000+ people each year. Fellows have been awarded MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, Pulitzer Prizes, Oscars, Emmys, and Tony nominations, among many other achievements.

Tom has been part of the TED community for 33 years, attending over 45 TED events all over the world. He has entertained numerous crowds with his TED conference satire from 1995 to 2008.

Along with TED Fellow William Kamkwamba, best-selling author of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Tom founded Moving Windmills Project, a 15-year-old NGO that works on innovation and community economic development in Malawi.

Tom’s early career reflects his passion for tech and the Web, whose power he was quick to recognize. After working at Mac-related companies SuperMac, Farallon, and Voyager, Tom founded and was CEO of PlanetOut, the largest digital home for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from 1995–2002. With Karen Wickre, he also co-founded the influential nonprofit Digital Queers (1993–2000).

Tom was educated at The Sorbonne, Georgetown, and Yale, where he dropped out to enter the nascent tech industry.

He enjoys his family, including grandchild Lorraine, film, tech, instant comedy, LGBT+ activism, all things African community economic development, and comprehensive mentoring. He resides in the Palm Springs area.


  • Reissman, speaking part My Bodyguard, 1980
  • Donated editing equipment, The Celluloid Closet, 1996
  • Executive Producer, Sundance Short The Joy of Life by Jenni Olson, 2015
  • Special Thanks for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Netflix
  • Donor on many films, 1990 on

LGBT Accomplishments

  • Board Member, Frameline, the San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, 1988–89
  • LGBT Workplace discrimination/Domestic Partnerships Advocate, 1988–2001
  • Editor, Newsletter Queer Nation, San Francisco, 1990
  • Co-Founder, Digital Queers, influential NGO rebuilding U.S. LGBT org’s tech infrastructure and training leaders about tech, 1992–1995
  • Founder and CEO of PlanetOut, first gay anything with over 1M people, first V.C. funded, first to go public, 1995–2002
  • Co-founder, PopcornQ, the first website devoted to queer-themed films, featuring online clips 10 years before YouTube
  • Subject of chapter in Signorile’s book Queer in America
  • Guest columnist, The Advocate, 1995
  • Advisory Board GLAAD Social Media Safety Index, 2022