I get asked to defend the stance of my community on a lot of issues. I’m sure a lot of us do and it’s a difficult place to be. On one hand, I’m tired of it. On the other, the person asking may double-down on their views if I’m not forthcoming with some easily-digestible facts. I’ve seen it happen. So, I’m going to put this here for posterity. This is the last time I say it. (Okay, at least until April is over)
First up, I’m autistic. Overwhelmingly, the autistic community prefers identity-first language and we’ve said so. A lot. Autism is a part of my identity, my personality, my life. There is not a neurotypical person in here, lurking beneath the autism.
Some people do prefer person-first language in reference to themselves and the choice is always theirs and should be respected. Just respect the voices of our community and above all else, do not tell autistic people what they should and should not say. It’s condescending.
Second, here’s some receipts for Autism $peaks. (rhyming! fun!)
- There’s no autistic people in their leadership.
- They are anti-vaccine. (Bonus! Anti-vax is bullshit)
- Only FOUR PERCENT of the money donated to A$ goes to autistic people (most of their $$$$ goes toward eliminating autistic people).
- They perpetuate dangerous views of autistic people.
- They think we are burdens and tragedies.
- They sympathize with our murderers.
There’s so much information out there. There are bloggers and vloggers and activists and movements and organizations. We are speaking loudly in the face of this roaring lion trying to drown us out. And it’s working. But you have to challenge your views and assumptions. You have to question what you’ve already learned because things are changing, and they’re changing for the better in this community because we’re making it change. You have to go out there and educate yourself.
Please do not put the burden of proof on autistic people. We spend a lot of time patiently explaining why our lives have value and it is exhausting. And at no other time is it as tiring and invasive as in April. Give us a break. Google it.
p.s. The link preview picture is of my cat, Spencer. He always looks as done as I feel. ♥