As the "first born,” “the chip off the ol’ block," and the only one to carry on the Madden family name, Scottie Jeanette Madden was born with a lot of expectations on her tiny little shoulders. As she climbed to the top of the adventure/survival reality TV biz, she lived in constant fear of“What Would her Father Say,”if she ever fell short, failed or... knew the truth. The truth was,he said a lot,about everything, and his sayings, aphorisms, platitudes, and pep talks were words that literally ruled her life for 45 years. Imagine her surprise, when she discovered, that the life lessons carried in his pithy sayings and clever cliches’ would ultimately become her salvation. Her candid and spellbinding description of the real horror that is gender dysphoria is at both a sobering experience of the power of words, and even more importantly, the power of love in the form of acceptance.
Scottie Jeanette says, "When I was invited to give a TED Talk I of course was flattered, but more importantly, I was awed by the immense opportunity I had just been given, the question was, what would I say to the TED audience that would resonate for all -- The organizers had read my book, and of course, were interested in sharing my journey, but I didn't just want to repeat what I had already said (with less pressure than that big red dot carpet!). As Marcy and I have had discovered through our speaking/advocacy work, the mystifying elements were How does Gender Dysphoria feel? And how the heck did Marcy do this? So many times in our work, we hear everyone using these terms (both respectfully and not) but not many have been able to describe, let alone give an experience of what it feels like - most are able to talk like war survivors and let the shadows that cross their faces fill in the blanks. I knew the challenge here was to walk the line between trauma and catastrophe without the "victim language" that is commonly assumed by those who hear our trans experiences. My father raised me better than that (as well as my mother! And let's be honest here, my sisters!) and it is his legacy that I was in fear of tarnishing, that ultimately became my salvation. Both in life, and ironically, in giving me a narrative for the TED stage."
There were several amazing people who gave their time and feedback to prepare Scottie Jeanette for this talk - as well as those who traveled from far and wide to cheer her on. Aviva Field (who also did SJ's hair and makeup) Sister Kimm (who kept SJ from running screaming from the greenroom and also clipped the mic pack to her bra when the A2 tharned as the audience waited) Merrie-lynn Ross, Val & Ronny Feuer, Gwen Wunderlich Mueller, Macky, Doug, Morgan & Sophia McVickar, Syliva Anthony-Muley. Audie Joyce, Linara Washington-Jones, Mary Beth Eversole, Cat & Craig Stewart-Warren, Josh Gershick, Alison Taur, Kathy Millisor, Stacy Atchinson & Ellen Holton, Mitch & Dustin Merback and my dear Laura Faye (and Bobby) who inspired SJ to do this and continues to coach her through the process. If SJ has forgotten any of the many people who endured this process through the beginning steps till the final tweeks please forgive her and know that she is still so very grateful!