I keep trying to write something for “Autism Awareness Day”, or what my fellow autistics are trying to change into “Autism Acceptance Day”. I’m trying to write something articulate, something profound, something that will challenge people and make them think. I have so many words circling around in my head, but trying to get them to my keyboard is hard.
I feel like the things I say are controversial, and they shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be controversial to say don’t abuse us, and yet it is. In the past week, I’ve read grizzly stories about abuse toward autistic children (I am not sharing the details. They’re unnecessary. But suffice it to say they’re horrific). I’m tired of defending children’s right to exist.
I’m tired. I am so tired, and I am so worn out. Advocacy is my passion, activism is what gets me pumped. I’m tired of having to fight for my right to exist. I’m tired of telling people that their awareness campaigns are acutely harmful. I won’t stop – it’s impossible to shut me up, but dammit, I’m completely worn out.
And so. This year I’m asking for compassion. For understanding when my words jumble. For supporting when I burn out .
All I’m asking is for you to listen to our voices. All I’m asking is for you to amplify our voices. We’re telling you what we need. We need acceptance, not awareness. We need you to help us fight against rampant ableism, because we’ve been doing it for years and we’re ALL TIRED. Because we’re autistic, we’re silenced. And that’s not okay.