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  • Five years ago, I stood on the TED stage, and I spoke about my work.

  • But one year later, I had a terrible accident as I left a pub one dark night with friends, in Scotland.

  • As we followed the path through a forest, I suddenly felt a massive thud, then a second thud, and I fell to the ground.

  • I had no idea what had hit me.

  • I later found out that when the gate was opened on a garden, a wild stag stampeded along the path and ran straight into me.

  • Its antler penetrated my trachea and my esophagus and stopped at my spinal cord and fractured my neck.

  • My best friend found me lying on the floor, gurgling for help through a hole in my neck.

  • And we locked eyes, and although I couldn't speak, she could understand what I was thinking.

  • And she told me, "Just breathe."

  • And so, whilst focusing on my breath, I had a strong sense of calmness, but I was certain that I was going to die.

  • Somehow, I was content with this, because I've always tried to do my best in life whenever I can.

  • So I just continued to enjoy each breath as one more moment -- one breath in and one breath out.

  • An ambulance came, I was still fully conscious, and I analyzed everything on the journey, because I'm a scientist:

  • the sound of the tires on the road, the frequency of the street lights and eventually, the city street lights.

  • And I thought, "Maybe I will survive." And then I passed out.

  • I was stabilized at a local hospital and then airlifted to Glasgow, where they reconstructed my throat and put me in a coma.

  • And while I was in the coma, I had many alternate realities. It was like a crazy mix of "Westworld" and "Black Mirror."

  • But that's a whole other story.

  • My local TV station reported live from outside the hospital of a Cambridge scientist who was in a coma, and they didn't know if she would live or die or walk or talk.

  • And a week later, I woke up from that coma.

  • And that was the first gift.

  • And then I had the gift to think, the gift to move, the gift to breathe and the gift to eat and to drink.

  • And that took three and a half months.

  • But there was one thing that I never got back, though, and that was my privacy.

  • The tabloid press made the story about gender.

  • Look -- I'm transgender, it's not that big a deal.

  • Like, my hair color or my shoe size is way more interesting.

  • When I last spoke here --

  • When I last spoke here --

  • at TED, I didn't talk about it, because it's boring.

  • And one Scottish newspaper ran with the headline: "Sex Swap Scientist Gored by Stag."

  • And five others did similar things.

  • And for a minute, I was angry, but then I found my calm place.

  • And what ran through my head was, "They've crossed the wrong woman, and they're not going to know what's hit them."

  • I'm a kindness ninja.

  • I don't really know what a ninja does, but to me, they slip through the shadows, crawl through the sewers, skip across the rooftops, and before you know it, they're behind you.

  • They don't turn up with an army or complain, and they're laser-focused on a plan.

  • So when I lay in my hospital bed, I thought of my plan to help reduce the chances of them doing this to somebody else, by using the system as is, and paying the price of sacrificing my privacy.

  • What they told one million people, I will tell ten million people.

  • Because when you're angry, people defend themselves.

  • So I didn't attack them, and they were defenseless.

  • And I wrote kind and calm letters to these newspapers.

  • And The Sun newspaper, the kind of "Fox News" of the UK, thanked me for my "reasoned approach."

  • And I asked for no apology, no retraction, no money, just an acknowledgment that they broke their own rules, and what they did was just wrong.

  • And on this journey, I started to learn who they are, and they began to learn who I am, and we actually became friends.

  • I've even had a few glasses of wine with Philippa from The Sun since then.

  • And after three months, they all agreed, and the statements were published on a Friday, and that was the end of that.

  • Or so they thought.

  • On the Saturday, I went on the evening news, and with the headline "Six National Newspapers Admit They Were Wrong."

  • And the anchor said to me, "But don't you think it's our job as journalists to sensationalize a story?"

  • And I said, "I was laying on a forest floor, gored by a stag. Is that not sensational enough?"

  • And I was now writing the headlines.

  • My favorite one was, "The stag trampled on my throat, and the press trampled on my privacy."

  • And it was the most read piece of BBC News online that day.

  • And I was kind of having fun.

  • And by the end of my week of media, I started to use my newfound voice and platform to spread a message of love and kindness.

  • And when I had the minute of anger and hatred towards those press and journalists, I had to identify my inner bigotry towards them.

  • And I had to meet and speak with these people without judgment.

  • And I had to let myself understand them, and in return, they began to understand me.

  • Well, six months later, they asked me to join the committee that regulates the press.

  • And a few times a year, I sip tea and dip biscuits with the likes of Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre, who says to me,

  • "So, Kate, how have your last few months been?"

  • And I respect them.

  • And I'm now one of three members of the public who has a seat at the table -- not because I'm different, but because my voice counts, just like anybody else.

  • And the irony is, every now and again, I'm asked to visit those printing presses of this declining industry,

  • because some people think that the technology I spoke about here, last time at TED, my interactive print, might actually help save them.

  • So beware of your inner bigot, and make friends from your enemies.

  • Thank you.

Five years ago, I stood on the TED stage, and I spoke about my work.

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