Buried beneath the weight of allistic peoples expectations, autistic people are persistently fighting for self- and societal acceptance.
The journey to autism acceptance is one with many road stops. First comes autism awareness. Awareness requires more than a general understanding of the Autism Spectrum definition. It also includes a basic knowledge of non-stereotyped traits across all genders.
In order to achieve autism acceptance, people with autism also deserve rights. These rights must actually meet the needs of a person with autism, as asked for by the autistic people themselves. Our rights must be written into legislation and effectively enforced.
There can be no autism acceptance without autistic justice. Justice involves embracing intersectionality. Autistic people are multi-faceted human beings with numerous identities. There are autistic people of color, queer autistic people, trans* and non-binary autistic people, old and young, AFAB and AMAB, spiritual and not, physically and intellectually disabled. Our fight for acceptance intersects with every piece of ourselves.
So why do we fight for autism acceptance?
1) Autistic people should not have to spend a lifetime being coerced and forced to be someone we are not.
2) Autistic people should not have to pay hundreds of dollars or wait years for a diagnosis.
3) Autistic people should not have to withhold disclosing their diagnosis for fear of losing jobs and/or people’s respect.
4) Autistic people should not be abused in “therapeutic” practices and rewarded for suppressing stims.
5) Autistic people should not be both mocked and taken advantage of for their traits.
I hope these reminders are grounding and motivating.