Peyton Goddard gave the keynote address at the 2013 TASH Conference in Chicago on December 11th, 2013.
You can watch, hear and read a transcript of her speech ‘here‘. Peyton does not speak, but instead types to communicate. I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at the TASH Conference and hear her speech.
“Understated and devalued, I was segregated and secluded, walled-in for controlling decades, and repeatedly traumatized by bullying abusers.”
Peyton describes her existence prior to learning how to communicate through typing.
“I’m less. I’m freak. I’m throwaway trash. Daily, for decades, I try but cannot be the person you want me to be.”
“Your answer was to fix me, to change me to be what you feared not. To cure me of being ME. I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”
Read that again – “I reply that YOU were less than I needed.”
“Segregation is the beast whose bite cheats us all. The isolation of people different renders you and me strangers. Reality is that you are me and I am you.”
At the crux of any prejudice is the idea that “I” am different, separate and, ultimately “superior”. To live with this delusion, we must keep ourselves apart from those we believe “inferior”. If we live together, in a world that embraces all humans, we lose our superior/inferior status. This is the world I strive and hope for. This is the world I want my children to inhabit.