(Inside: Autistics hate autism month, the one month a year we should feel safe, accepted, understood, and listened to. I argued with FIVE different people today about my right to exist… Autism Month is hard for autistics, here’s why…)
It’s officially autism acceptance month, the month where autistic people should feel understood, accepted, embraced, and more than anything, safe.
In reality? Every autistic person I know is hunkering down, prioritizing self-care, and holding space for each other.
It’s a harsh reality, but most autistics hate autism month.
And with good reason…
We spend the month being silenced and ignored.
We spend the month defending our opinions and our right to hold those opinions.
We spend the month fighting for our very right to exist.
Why Autistics Hate Autism Month
I know I sound a bit over the top here, especially if you’re somewhat new to the autistic community.
It’s just that… This month should be our safe space. This month should be when people listen to us.
Instead, this month is when we’re ignored most.
And we need to change that.
I Argued With Five People Today About My Right to Exist
This is the biggest issue that most autistics have with autism month.
I argued with FIVE different people today about my right to exist.
Some of these people were parents of autistic children who felt autism “stole their child” and desperately want a cure for autism, or a prenatal test so that autistic children can be killed before we’re even born.
Some of these people had no real tie to the autism community, but they support autism speaks and the goal to “end autism, whatever the cost”.
Regardless, there is a large amount of people who believe that autism (and autistic people) shouldn’t exist.
Can you imagine that for a moment?
It’s the month to celebrate, accept, and understand who you are (think: Woman, Black, LGBT+, Asian, Christian, Hispanic, Muslim, etc.)
And instead of that, people are posting all over social media, hosting events, and getting media attention to call for donations to organizations that want you not to exist.
That’s what autistics are facing all month long.
Autism Speaks is Everywhere
Absolutely freaking everywhere.
The ridiculous blue puzzle piece creeps into everywhere you go.
It’s all over twitter.
It’s all over Facebook.
It’s at the grocery store.
We avoid Autism Speaks as much as we possibly can, but it’s literally unavoidable the entire month of April.
They host baseball games. They are on the news. They host walks in most major cities. They host school events.
Autism Speaks is EVERYWHERE all month long.
An abusive hate group is everywhere all month long, and autistics have to just deal with it.
“Advocates” Fight With Us Constantly
When autistic advocates speak out during Autism Acceptance Month, we are quickly fought by “advocates” who aren’t autistic.
Parents, Therapists, Other Professionals.
They believe we don’t know “real autism”.
They believe we can’t speak for their child or their clients.
They believe that we should keep our mouths shut because we challenge their ideals.
So on Twitter, Facebook, in groups, and in person, non-autistic “advocates” will continually interrupt us and argue with us about our own diagnoses and life experiences.
Ableist Opinions Are Amplified
This month, autistic voices should be amplified.
This should be the one month a year where our voices are heard loud and clear by society at large.
Instead, the overwhelming majority of articles, media appearances, and events amplify ableist opinions.
They discuss cures and “autism prevention”.
They discuss finding a cause and new therapies that try to make us more neurotypical.
They dehumanize us and make us out to be something to be feared.
April is a month where autistic voices are triggered everywhere we turn.
So what can you do?
Be a true autism ally and amplify autistic voices.
Reject Autism Speaks and Don’t Light it Up Blue.
Don’t go to events that support Autism Speaks. Support Red Instead. Support the ASAN or AWN.
And beyond all of that, hold some space for the autistics in your life who are having an incredibly rough time this April.
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