You’re Not As Important As You Think: on “Being Divisive”

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

Remember folks: If you don’t hold your oppressor’s hand while softly explaining to them things they could just as easily google and maybe make them some cocoa to help them feel comfortable learning about your lived struggles, you’re just a big ol’ meany who doesn’t deserve to be treated like a person.

“Like a fire
Don’t need water
Like a riot
Don’t need order

We don’t need them”

Red Flag, Billy Talent

If you’ve followed me since the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that the most common topic is allies I don’t want. I’ve said I don’t want allies who can say they care about Trump, allies who can be turned away by us not being nice, conditional allies, or performative allies.

A common accusation that people get is that people who have my particular tone including many of my friends are “being divisive”.

In the radical leftist side of Facebook (known as “Leftbook” by those of us involved in it), a popular accusation when minority activists speak out is “you’re dividing the Left”.

I find this accusation humorous because not only do I know I’m being divisive, it’s deliberate and a core of my activist practice.

As I touched on in By Our Side or Out of Our Way, I used to be nice in the old blog I was part of before Trump was elected.

I sought to reach out and change minds.

Nowadays, I have come to realize that in this burning world if what’s happening isn’t enough to make you steadfast against oppression, you’re not going to ever really change.  This regime is getting more and more oppressive and decent people will stand against it and by our side believing we deserve to live without investment of labor. I don’t have spoons to invest labor in presenting myself a certain way and nurture people, if the fact that people want to hurt people like myself just because of aspects of our humanity won’t move you to action I can’t trust that you will help me when I need it the most.

My goal now isn’t to reach out to people but to push people away. I need to know who I can trust, and that means seeing who can be moved from caring about my life.

There are a lot of people who tell us that we should be nicer if we want more allies…but my question is why would we want people who would require us to police our language around them, censor and watch our words when we’re in hell?

There are so many people who claim the title of ally and expect it to matter (to the point where we have created the term accomplice instead of ally to be more specific in what we want) to us that anyone who says they are one honestly makes me skeptical.

I need to know who is willing to help and stand by me and mine and who will ditch us when they don’t feel fulfilled. The only way to do that for me is to be hard and challenging in my words and actions so that people need to confront themselves and realize that they are doing wrong and this system is something that they need to be fighting or that I am the problem and they need to stop helping me.

I’m not creating division but exposing divisions of values and commitments. If these people can be turned from thinking I’m a human who deserves help, they never truly believed that. Believing that we deserve rights should be a matter of morality not comfort. My goal is to shake things up, expose who people truly are, and that ends up polarizing and angering people because they don’t like being called out on harmful behaviors or can’t handle me saying that their feelings aren’t actually the most important thing in the world. I’m not the one who is breaking people apart in their ideals, I’m exposing divisions that are already there.

I don’t need everyone and nobody is extremely important to have when the net result of them being here is going to be a drain on my sanity trying to make myself presentable enough to keep them around. People I know and love are suffering and I refuse to prioritize anybody else’s feelings over them. I’m not going to be nice all the time to people who have the luxury of being able to just ignore the reality of what is going on with the world because I frankly don’t trust anyone who is willing to look away from the horror that is happening and say that if they’re going to stand by my side against it I need to be nice to make them feel like there’s a reason to fight, who requires more than the fact that people are suffering and dying to do anything.

When people are suffering from oppression it’s a moral imperative to stand strong and say that is wrong. When the government is doing things that are going to kill innocents, you fight back. You tell yourself this is wrong, you do what you can, which if you’re one of the people who are suffering might just be existing and living, which is huge if a system wants you gone. But if you aren’t you should be doing what you can to help because you know in your heart that it is immoral that the system that makes it so you don’t have to worry about what is happening is making others suffer. We are fighting, rioting because it’s the only language that has ever been heard, rising on wings of fire and broken glass to burn this corrupt order to the ground, and if the way we are fighting, the way we have to fight, is too much for you, we don’t need you. Turn your nose and roll your eyes, complain about our tone and get offended by how we aren’t making sure to exclude you from our venting or following the rules of what you think is acceptable rebellion, I frankly care not, you aren’t important compared to the threats against us and my fellow strugglers. But if you know in your heart that this is wrong and will stand by our side unconditionally, use your voice to carry our own, I’m glad to have you by my side.

The choice is yours, the division between action and inaction not created by me but by your own morality.

Make the right one.

Whose freedom?: Ruminations on “Independence Day”

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.
-Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

“State of the Union address
Reads war torn country still a mess
The words power death and distorted truth
Are read between the lines of the red white and blue”

State of the Union, Rise Against

I used to have a tradition of sharing a song with the bridge “I’m proud and ashamed every fourth of July, you’ve got to know the truth before you say that you’ve got pride.”

Today, I’m feeling like actually understanding the truth of the situation we’re in now and being proud are mutually exclusive.

I was reading ‘What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?’ by Frederick Douglass, and while obviously the current situation in the US for myself isn’t close to that horror, I can’t help but identify with this feeling that considering this as a day of great freedom is mockery.

I’m currently listening to people light fireworks for “Independence Day”, but I live in California which has the highest amount of prisoners in a country which has the most people in prison around the globe. They aren’t free.

I have friends who are broke and are worrying about homelessness because the system is set up to make it so people like them can’t get ahead no matter how hard they try. They aren’t free.

I know many people who can’t come out as who they really are for fear of being ostracized by their families and communities, possibly having their lives at risk. They aren’t free.

There are people who came from Mexico seeking a better life because US interference screwed with their country, who aren’t doing anything harmful to anyone just trying to survive, being likened to rapists and murderers and under threat of being sent home by ICE. They aren’t free.

There are trans people in multiple states which can’t go into bathrooms matching their gender, something which has actual harm. They aren’t free.

Black people know that the cops who are supposedly there to serve and protect us are quite likely to kill or unfairly target them based simply on skin color. They aren’t free.

There are many people including myself who see this recent failure of the AHCA simply a stay in execution because the last time it failed it came back even worse and we know that when it does pass many of us are going to die. That’s not freedom.

Who’s truly free? Well, I do feel that the Founding Fathers did succeed in gaining independence for their people…meaning fellow rich white men, because they are still in full control.

So…how the hell can we celebrate independence when so many of us are in chains from systemic threats to our lives simply because of our existence?

How is it right to be upset with people who don’t respond to your saying “Happy 4th of July” with similar joy when their lives or the lives of their loved ones are in some way controlled?

The reality is that many of us never have been and are sure as hell not right now free. We are trapped in situations beyond our control not because of our actions but for how we dared to be born.

I’m not going to condemn you for your cookouts or family gatherings, Gods know we barely get enough of those.

But I am going to say this:

If freedom is so important to you that you’re going to devote a day to celebrating it, remember that there are so many who don’t have it…and fight so that they do.

If that’s the ideal that you think America is all about, then get active to make it so others have it.

Make it more than just a cookout that rubs our reality in our faces, try to make it mean something.

Because we live a constant battle, and if you don’t and you have told someone happy Independence Day, want to believe in freedom, then you shouldn’t be content with the country chaining so many of us, and should fight to make this world different.

When we fight until more people are free maybe then it will be fine to celebrate a day of independence, until then let’s work to make it so.

It’s Not About You: On Performative Allyship

various "ally cookies" with frosting saying various minor actions that people do and think that they deserve congrats for, like "not a racist", "has a gay friend", and "meets minimum standards of decent human"

various “ally cookies” with frosting saying various minor actions that people do and think that they deserve congrats for, like “not a racist”, “has a gay friend”, and “meets minimum standards of decent human”, with “Good for you. Want a cookie?” on the bottom and under that someone replying “Ahhh, I love these so much.”

“Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying”

I Want to Conquer the World, Bad Religion

I have written on how allies shouldn’t expect us to be nice in By our side or out of our way and how the very concept of expecting such is screwed up in Refuting Respectability.

But probably the most exhausting type of allies are the performative ones.

Performative allies are the ones who want to be applauded for their actions of being an ally.

They’re the ones with safety pin profile pictures, make these aesthetically atrocious straight pride flags (this looks like prison bars, which is where the maker of this flag belongs for designing this and co-opting marginalized people creating pride flags to make themselves seem marginalized, I explained why pride for being a minority is different from pride in being a majority in Rebellious Joy), try to claim the A for ally not asexuals like myself in LTBTQIA (yes, historically it did mean that to include closeted people, but the allies who say that now feel like they are doing such great service that they should be included in the acronym that is supposed to be for marginalized people).

And while this might be a bit of a controversial take, if you asked me which was more of a drain on my mental faculties in this era, the fascists or them, I’d pick the latter.

All of my focus is on the people who are also suffering, my fellow Outcast.

It’s not on being nice to others, and performative allies come to me and demand additional labor and get upset when we don’t appreciate their performance, call us mean when we don’t acknowledge their words.

And honestly, that’s really all these “allies” give.

Performative allies expect great commendation for minimal labor.

If you wear a shirt or a pin, decide to make our venting against our oppressor centered around you (cis person saying “cis people suck/I suck/I’m sorry for those cis people”, for example. When we’re saying it it’s us venting usually because we were screwed over in some way [and if us not being nice all the time turns you off here’s an article on why that’s screwed up], when you’re doing it it’s just trying to get cookies), or do other things of this nature which require barely anything at all, the amount of work you do (or lack thereof) is going to be noticed and we couldn’t care less about which line you’re regurgitating (hence the song quote).

 Ally shouldn’t be a noun you hold like a personality trait, something that you call yourself, but should show through your actions. Don’t try to show us what a great person you are, support and center us. Listen to what we’re saying, if it jars you, challenges what you considered true in your worldview, listen and analyze that. Use what you’ve learned to call out your own community, taking advantage of the fact that it’s not an attack on you which makes it so it’s much easier for you to handle.

Your allyship shouldn’t be conditional on praise but based on believing we deserve to live free of hatred and systemic bigotry. You shouldn’t be looking to us for praise every step of the way, cluttering threads with telling us that you’re trash (…we know, validated by the fact that you decided you needed to come here in the first place), but should be finding places where you can help. You shouldn’t be putting into focus your opinions on issues that face us but trying to make it so our voices are heard about our experiences. You should be supporting us not the other way around.

If you come to us trying to perform and get attention, don’t be surprised if you get the reaction you deserve not the one you desire. Lives are on the line, and I don’t have the ability to commend you for your mediocre actions when I’m barely keeping myself alive. Any true “ally” would realize that.

Your Time is Now: a Call to Activism

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. – Audre Lorde

“Now, the time is now
We can still turn it around
Raise your voice like a weapon
Til they fall to the ground

Light, let there be light
Without a shadow of doubt
We will fight tooth and nail until
Salvation is found”

Viking Death March, Billy Talent

I usually write articles from a lens of anger, calling out harmful acts, telling allies who aren’t being screwed over things that I feel are wrong and that I see them if they keep doing them.

This isn’t that.

This time I want to call to my fellow strugglers.

I know you’re suffering and every day is a new barrage of darkness.

I know the world is crushing you and hates you for what you are.

You may feel powerless, unable to do anything.

But you’re more powerful than you know.

No you can’t stop Trump on your own, can’t somehow control his cabinet and Congress with a wave of your hand.

But under a regime that wants us gone, who is seeking to pass the AHCA that is pretty much designed to kill us (I explained how it’s not a stretch to say that it’s meant to kill us and is genocide in Pick a side), when the Nazis want us gone, our fight to exist is an act of great power itself.

You might think that you are unimportant and don’t deserve to be heard.

No matter what has been ingrained in your mind, you’re wrong, your fight is important and your voice and experience matter.

You’re reading my voice (probably) because of that, and I’m a 23 year old jobless college student. (trying to hopefully make money through his Patreon).

What makes us important is that we’re fighting against a system that wants us dead that people are accepting as normal, helped by a media which always focuses on the things that affect the majority over the issues that specifically harm us.

This has always been true, but now more than ever it’s needed.

In the face of this system which wants to crush us we need to stand up.

When the media and the majority will pretend that anything not affecting them isn’t happening we need to step up and speak out, become unable to be ignored.

We can’t let them control our narrative, not when so much more is at stake, not when it seems like each day our lives are more in danger.

This is your time to speak out. We need to raise our voices to cut through the noise, force people to realize it’s not alright, that we are suffering and won’t accept it.

Do what you can, take care of yourself, but act.

We may not have the money they do, the privilege they do, but we have things they don’t.

We vastly outnumber them, and while they have had everything given to them we have needed to fight every step of the way to simply exist.

We wouldn’t be alive if we weren’t able to fight. You might want to wait until a better time, but to quote a wonderful friend, It Doesn’t Get Better. You Do.

We have numbers but those numbers don’t matter if we let them keep us down.

Is this easy? No.

Is this a mindset that you’re a bad person if you can’t keep up all the time? Absolutely not, I feel sometimes like I’m barely clinging on.

Will we accomplish anything? I feel like we are taught to value big acts but in reality this is a fight in people’s minds, and thus every share every person who hears us is someone who has changed, and when you add that up it’s a lot…if you speak up.

Isn’t it difficult to start up a blog (if this is the type of speaking out you want to do)? My goal with this platform was to make it a place where any of our voices could be heard, I would only need your email and name to add you to this (message me at Garrett Winters and I can easily set you up with an account on here…this platform does have ads, when the balance gets to where the money actually will deposit I plan on dividing the revenue equally between writers…I can’t pay you per article but it would be something).

We need to fight no matter the difficulty, to get back on when we can, because the only alternative is to let them get what they want unhindered.

And when what they want is us dead, there’s no choice at all.

 

Our Tools, Your Toys: An Autistic with ADHD perspective on the Fidget Spinner Debate

Fidget Spinners

Multiple fidget spinners in different colors

Something…interesting has been happening recently, a phenomenon that shows the effects of when something that is ordinarily meant to be a tool for people of my neurologies becomes a mainstream toy.

But while it’s interesting to someone like myself who likes analyzing cultural changes, it has also become incredibly harmful to my kin, hence writing an article hoping to give some understanding of what these are to us, what the effects of mainstreaming it have been, the pushback against it, and who this actually hurts.

Obviously, I’m talking about fidget spinners.

First off, what exactly are fidgets to us? Fidgets, like the spinner or the fidget cube I have which also has become rather popular but hasn’t seen such an attack, help us focus, as well as providing something to stim with (stimming refers to the things we do to deal with overload and focus [read A Cognitive Defense of Stimming for a more scientific defense for why we should be allowed to do so and the effects that stopping us from doing it have] and also just feels good, all of us have different stims, and everyone does it not just us, things like pencil chewing or doodling in class are the same exact thing…it only becomes a problem when we’re autistic). As you can see, that’s rather important. It’s a multifunction tool that helps us cope with the world, focus on class, and just makes everything easier for both us and the people around us (because it is better for everyone if we can focus and deal with everything better not just us).

We’ve always had stim toys, sometimes just things we pick up (I like messing with a shoelace between my fingers) or more speciality items, like stuff found on Stimtastic. Because they are designed for us specifically, they are much more limited in selection, harder to find, and often more expensive because they can be, and often can only be found online because there isn’t exactly an autistic store chain.

However, fidget spinners changed all of that, and this has had both positive and negative effects.

The positive one is that, much like how the gluten-free fad helped people with celiac disease find food that they could eat easier because suddenly every brand of food capitalized on the fad instead of being a speciality item sold by few, fidget spinners can be bought everywhere in different colors and shapes and prices, which is cool to be able to do.

The negative one is that, much like people with celiac disease ended up being lumped in with people who bought into the fad (the dangers of which can be found in this article), we have been lumped in with those who use it as a toy, and that’s what has caused the huge pushback.

There’s something that is…darkly humorous about something that helps you becoming the center of a nationwide controversy. Reading articles calling it dumb but also a metaphor for 2017, called cigarettes for kids and saying that “it encourages the abdication of thought…at a historical moment when the President has proved himself to be pathologically prone to distraction and incapable of formulating a coherent idea” (imagine having a tool for you called encouraging selfishness and…comparing it to Trump when the neurology the tool was made for is a pre-existing condition under the AHCA…I don’t know whether to get angry or laugh), and seeing Forbes advertise metal ones as the office toy for 2017 when all you really want is society letting you use something that helps you is…unique. But beyond the endless thinkpieces, schools are banning them because they are becoming a distraction to people who aren’t autistic/have ADHD, with some students throwing them and doing other stuff. It doesn’t help that the overall tone of every article completely makes the fact that it extremely helps us just a quick aside before they address how what matters is that it’s actually a huge problem and a passing fad, to where this CNN article just says special needs, a term that, while problematic in itself, in context completely removes who it actually helps from the conversation by being vague instead of specifically mentioning us.

So what’s the net result, who is really getting hurt, and what should we do? Personally, the net result of good and bad isn’t at all easy, as those two aspects of them becoming mainstream are both important from my side. However, it is really hurting us, as bringing them out in any situation even ones that they would help a lot seems like we’re just messing around, and the idea of them being a kid’s toy makes it so it might have a negative effect on adults who use them. I can understand the effects on teachers from neurotypical students using them (before I wrote this article someone asked me what I thought about gatekeeping and saying that only neurodivergent kids should be able to use them ever. To be completely honest, my first snarky thought was, “Well, we’re the only ones who use them right”), but an outright ban seriously stops us from being able to focus as well (what I said before as snark may in reality be the solution in school situations, allowing only us to be able to use them in class settings because we won’t be using them as a distractor), which makes us worse students. I really don’t feel I’m demanding much when I say that our focus should be less dystopian Trump metaphor more helping humans function in a world that is difficult for them based on their neurology, and saying that schools could be a bit less reactionary and more considering of the needs of their students when it comes to these tools. I also have no idea what will happen to the accessibility and availability of these tools if the “fad dies out,” as this is something which has caused such positive and negative effects and I have no idea what the consequences both societal and material would be if the focus goes away.

I have seen the total joy when a friend gets one of these and talking about how much they help them, and my only goal here is to make it so our voices can become part of this conversation, because what everyone considers a toy is actually a tool for us and I don’t think I’m being too selfish when I say I wish that our ability to function was a priority.

 

A Defense of Identity: On Invalidation of One’s Right to their Humanity

[image description: a diagonally-oriented rendition of the blue, pink, and white transgender flag. Layered on top in the center is the rainbow infinity symbol of neurodiversity]

[image description: a diagonally-oriented rendition of the blue, pink, and white transgender flag. Layered on top in the center is the rainbow infinity symbol of neurodiversity]

“To a predetermined fate are we condemned?
Or maybe we’re a book without an end?
We’re not stories, we’re not actors
We’re awake and in control
And this is not a dream

So can we break this mold
And set in motion something new
Forgetting what we know
An evolution overdue
Fight the current
Pull the ripcord
Get away!”

The Violence, Rise Against

(Like usual, there is an article I’m partway through, this time on discourse being dangerous which I have mentioned to people, but just like I came out as ace in Why I Write: National Coming Out Day-later on my old blog I’m coming out as nonbinary in an article too, potentially gendervague, I dunno gender is confusing as all hell)

So, ages ago I wrote You Know Your Mind: A Diagnosed Autistic’s View On Self-Diagnosis. Since then the right to one’s identity has become a cornerstone of my activism, leading me to create the Self-diagnosis validation club (SDVC), and since today coming out/realizing I’m nonbinary, making me broken out of any mold regarding gender, neurology, or orientation, I felt like this article has become even more relevant.

People know who they are. When you’ve lived your life for multiple years, become an adult, you know your experience of your world.

And the fact that there are people who deny this reality fucking pisses me off.

When someone goes by a different gender identity than what they were assigned, has an orientation far from your perception of what is possible, or realizes that their neurotype isn’t the norm, it’s a discovery of what represents our identities, a name to our experiences. Simultaneously I’m finding something new about myself and my identity and having something click for the experiences I’ve had in my life.

From the stories I’ve heard from self-diagnosed autistics it’s the same, and realizing I was panromantic last year was similar. Reveling in confusion and revelation as things that never had a reason finally make sense, things which we might have thought made us wrong or broken given a reason and a name.

These pronouns and labels and new words (I love how some people use the argument that these are “made up” words and thus not valid…what words aren’t? New language is created to provide words to explain and fit our reality. I’m writing a blog on a laptop, which you might be reading on your smartphone and if you are confused by some words in this article you might Google them. Every single word I italicized are words that have only existed for a few decades that have now saturated our language, “made up” to give an identifier to important aspects of our reality. If you’re going to stand against new made-up words at least be consistent. If you have issues with our identities but not those, you aren’t anti-new words you’re transphobic) aren’t just words but experiences that our language has expanded to be able to give names to. Infinite words to cover infinite identities, human experiences finally given names…and when you consistently and deliberately refuse to use these words or labels, you are denying all the experiences that they represent based on some sense of false superiority that you think allows you to do so, some belief that you have the right to define reality for others when these things don’t affect you whatsoever.

It is true that more people are coming out as these things, but it’s not “transtrending” being made cool by Tumblr. What’s happening is that, thanks to the internet’s power to allow people to spread knowledge worldwide and a more conscious acceptance of this potential, and yes, social networks like Tumblr encouraging worldwide interaction and the ability to express and present yourself how you actually are rather than how you appear physically (useful I’m sure for trans people who have dysphoria with their appearance, also Tumblr does give the most customization to match what you are), people are able to connect with others who have these experiences who know the term for it or read the stories of people who have gone through the same experiences and thus realize they aren’t alone and there is an actual word for this part of their identity. This is something totally awesome that people roll their eyes at. No matter how far how they identify from how you identify, what makes your identity true and right and theirs a lie and wrong? If yours is more common than theirs, does that necessarily make yours more valid than theirs? Being common and usual doesn’t make something more right than something that is incredibly uncommon and unusual, divergence should be celebrated not condemned just because it’s different from your arbitrary standards (and yes, the gender binary, heteronormativity, and requiring costly tests based on heavily flawed diagnostic criteria not at all based on the actual experiences of the people they are being used to diagnose but on outside views of how people appear to others before you believe someone knows who they actually are are all arbitrary, no matter how you’ve been taught to accept them by society [they are social constructs, a term which doesn’t mean that they should be treated as nonexistent but acknowledges they are concepts that have come to be part of the fabric of our culture. It’s also arbitrary that we put high value on green pieces of paper with numbers and dead people on them, but just because money is a social construct doesn’t mean it’s fake. These are concepts that we have given meaning, they exist but just because we have accepted them as things that exist and treat them as common doesn’t mean that they are truly right or make them any less irrational]).

The song quote is how I’m feeling about all of this right now.

Breaking out of any sort of mold and claiming a new path…and I would argue that as a society we should. For so long we’ve accepted these standards and now more and more people are realizing how unimportant they are to cleave to personally and how much they don’t fit but even for those who aren’t divergent from these standards accepting these molds is limiting to your way of presenting yourself. These concepts aren’t going away and I wouldn’t really argue that they should, as people still connect their identities to them and that’s not bad, arguing we should completely do away with the gender binary for instance invalidates trans people who do identify with one.

But acknowledging their existence doesn’t mean we need to consider them the right way and everything outside of them wrong.

We aren’t condemned to accepting them, we’re in control of our perceptions of what is right and should choose to stop accepting standards that invalidate so many of our fellow humans as moral.

We can find an evolution overdue and fight the current of what society has taught us to accept and in the face of a system that is aiming to be even more oppressive we should be pushing back even harder against the norms it’s trying to enforce and allow legal discrimination against people who break them.

At the very least embrace us and recognize our humanity and our right to say what that means. We actually do know better than you do, and how that is up for debate is something that everyone should realize is wrong.

Pick a side

picture of a wooden post sticking out of water, up above in white text it says "This is a "non-political" post. You're welcome." with the post having a speech bubble that says "My refusal to engage with politics is in itself a political position, and one that inherently supports injustice!" (the original version of the picture lacked the quotation marks and the bubble just having the post and the caption, however someone edited it to show the problems with that position)

picture of a wooden post sticking out of water, up above in white text it says “This is a “non-political” post. You’re welcome.” with the post having a speech bubble that says “My refusal to engage with politics is in itself a political position, and one that inherently supports injustice!” (the original version of the picture lacked the quotation marks and the bubble just having the post and the caption, however someone edited it to show the problems with that position)

“You can turn your back, but it won’t go away

And you don’t look scared, but you should be afraid

You can shut your mouth, but you still have a say

And you just don’t care, for tomorrow, today”

Turn Your Back, Billy Talent (feat. Anti-Flag)

Yesterday the American Health Care Act, informally known as Trumpcare, passed the House of Representatives. If this law passes the Senate, anyone who has the conditions in this list has a rather likely chance of death if their premiums rise to the point where they can’t pay for them.

My feed on Facebook has had multiple friends tallying the amount of conditions they have on that list (which this article has more of), one of them is autism meaning that my whole community no matter what else we have is fucked over (bipolar is there too, they’re missing ADHD to complete my neurological trifecta). It’s also going to majorly affect trans people, mentally ill people, and people with cancer.

It is literally low key genocide and they literally want us (us, because as I’m autistic and bipolar #IAmAPreexistingCondition) to die.
I can see you rolling your eyes through the screen considering this hyperbolic and an appeal to emotion, but while I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to make people feel, I don’t lie and it’s simple logic.
They were cheering as it passed the House. If it passes the Senate, it’s going to kill us because a lot of us are poor. They want something that will kill us if they happens, they want us to die.
Now, genocide, huge word, but…this is a program they know is bad, which is why they made it so they keep the protections we lose (the article links to an article that says that loophole will be closed, but the linked article was updated to say that’s a lie). Anyone who has one of those pre-existing conditions is likely to have their insurance spike and if they are poor they will not be able to pay and will die, and considering that systemic prejudice against POC, LGBT people, and disabled people makes it so we’re a lot less likely to be rich, and thus are more likely to die as a result than those who aren’t minorities.
According to the dictionary genocide is the deliberate killing of a group…which is what that is. You can’t say that they don’t know that this is going to kill people because they deliberately made it so they kept those protections, they’re keeping themselves safe and killing us.

Under the spectre of looming death I’m…more angry than usual, and then I saw this tweet when a friend posted it on Facebook:

When I Googled it I found article after article after article saying not to shame the poor Trump supporters.

This pushed me even farther to the left because this is bullshit (to be fair most of the replies were disagreeing but the 1,215 hearts still say a lot).

No, I don’t feel bad for them, because the people they are hateful to are…people like myself.

They chose this. The only thing that Trump clearly articulated was his hatred. He said he would do this, he had the goal, they chose everything happening.

We knew how bad he was before he was elected, we saw the effects that I described in Wait and see? Really? in the very first days after the election (I’m hoping all the people who told us that are enjoying the effects now that everyone can see that we were right all along, actually worse than we thought possible…if only the results weren’t likely to kill us then I could be happy to say I told you so).

They might not be a bigot, talk about sexual assault being fine, or anything else that he does personally…but they looked at someone who believed all of that, who articulated his hatred of us, and decided that he should be in power (also, stop using the “but the white working class” stuff it’s nonsense).

They chose this, and they deserve to be held responsible for their actions.

It’s time to pick a side.

Us or them.

You definitely know someone who is going to be screwed over by the AHCA, for two reasons: one the list is so long that I find it impossible that you wouldn’t know someone personally who has at least one and, well…you’re reading the words of one of them.

You can not simultaneously love us and feel sorry for the people who voted for the person who caused this thing that will kill us if it happens, who promised to do it.

That doublethink isn’t possible. You can turn your back on the issue, on us, but this isn’t going away, and by doing so you are choosing their side, letting them continue instead of challenging them.

For simple self-interest alone you should be afraid because you or someone you know might end up getting one of these things.

If you shut your mouth and don’t act (which is as easy as sending texts to this bot, text RESIST to 50409 and it will help you), you are saying that you are fine with this happening.

And if you care about the people who are doing this to us, you don’t care about the Outcast, because you can’t actually simultaneously support the hateful and those they hate.

You need to choose a side, and as the picture says not choosing and being “apolitical” is choosing them. Lives are on the line because they chose the person who pledged to act this way. A person who considers me subhuman and whose plan is going to cause massive death.

There’s no neutrality in situations like this. You might think otherwise, that you can stay out of it, agree to disagree, but they literally chose something that is possibly going to kill us and if you don’t think that’s a bad thing that you should stand against, something that is literally threatening our lives, what does that say about how much you care about our continued existence?

It says that our lives aren’t important enough to you to stand against things that threaten us, that you think views and actions that threaten our lives are good and should be allowed to continue unopposed.

Our lives should be more important to you, important enough to fight for, speak out for, and if we aren’t, no matter what you claim, we know who you have chosen.

The Revolution Needs All Kinds of Minds: on Slacktivism and Ableism

photoshopped blue and white disabled sign with a facebook anger react and a Russian hat as its head with the hammer and sickle on its chest and spoons in its hand

Delightful picture from Bobby Whittenberg, the spoons come from Spoon Theory (communism is my political ideology but not necessarily any other writers that may come on here, a good friend made the picture)

(As I am punning off of her The World Needs All Types of Minds speech, I would feel remiss if I didn’t also call attention to the issues with her, especially when most people think she’s an excellent authority…the articles here, here, and here cover that in detail. If you are a disability activist and want to fight back I’d recommend Resisting Fascism While Autistic, Disabled, Housebound, or Otherwise Human)

A couple of days ago something truly beautiful happened.

On the campus of UC Berkeley, people rose up against Milo Yiannopoulos, a gay Nazi (I call him a flaming Nazi, he’s a terrible human being) who, when allowed to come to a campus in Milwaukee outed and shamed a trans student.

The students said never again, rose up and took the streets (watch the beautiful live video here and an on the ground account here), rose on wings of fire and broken glass to defy the hatred that Milo represents (and by doing so apparently saved undocumented immigrants from being outed).

This was marvelous, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be there. I would not be anywhere near the protests. I honestly would probably be inside with my headphones on, covering my ears while watching the tv or on my computer.

Why is this? I’m autistic with sensory overload issues, and despite the fact that the protest was important, being outside with that hell would probably leave me in meltdown. In fact, I can’t handle phone calls either, both of which are considered traditional activism.

In fact, most of what I actually can do is what is called slacktivism. I can text, share articles, press the like button, and hopefully write, but I’m unable to do traditional activism without severe mental stress.

That doesn’t make my convictions or actions less valid, however.

While my I will not fade article was specifically about my journey, it does represent a current trend. The disability community is rallying against Trump, and it’s been a beauty to behold as my community rises against the regime, standing for our kin under this new threat.

However, the issue remains that our ways and abilities are vastly different from our activist peers. There’s an honest fear that the ways we can act aren’t going to be considered as valid because they don’t fall into the set mold of True Activism™.

However, the revolution needs all kinds of minds. The playing field has changed, and will change even more. We need people of all different skills and abilities, and if those abilities are different than the norm or we don’t have the ability to do the norm, that’s not a bad thing. What would be wrong is shutting us down if we end up acting in a way that’s different from you. We’re extremely diverse in our capabilities and we’re doing the best we can…our lives are on the line, after all. Just because you’re capable of other things doesn’t make what we can do less valid.

Refuting Respectability: The Amorality and Tyranny of Respectability Politics

“Our futures burn in red horizons
Ashes scattered in winds of change
Casualty numbers are rising
Now it’s time to raise the stakes
We’re meant for something more
Than living just to put food on our plates
I can’t help but wonder
Why should we participate?”

The First Drop, Rise Against

In both By our side or out of our way and A Red Rage #RedInstead I mentioned allies, how I refuse conditional ones and don’t want the ones who I can alienate.

However, this concept goes far beyond just me and deserves its own article, as it’s a concept forced upon all Outcast activists, that we’re all supposed to fight while simultaneously not being offensive in any way, shape, or form. We need to be respectable and act with dignity and are shamed if we don’t. The term in the title is for when our communities internalize this and police ourselves within this norm.

This isn’t just an attitude that is told by allies but also is the narrative our society and the media use. We’re told to accept small gains and not push too hard, told that we’re hurting our cause, and quite often (especially to POC activists) a strawman of MLK is used as a paragon of unobjectionable nonviolence, ignoring his thoughts on capitalism, riots, and the white moderates who are misquoting him.

The level of pressure to be respectable is compounded by racism and sexism, experiences that I have the privilege to not have to handle in my day to day life.

First off, as I mentioned in On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20, thanks to our capitalist system which values property over people, the only way that the media has ever paid attention to a protest is if some destruction happens, forcing people to break something to make society care about their lost lives, a situation which MLK much more eloquently spoke about in the quote that “a riot is the language of the unheard” comes from (in which he says one of the things unheard is “that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.” He also called riots and looting understandable. The reason that I’m going on about this is that, as a minority activist himself, I find it bitterly ironic and wrong that a man who repeatedly called out white society and white moderates for creating an environment that makes this sort of violence just and necessary is being used by white moderates to shame the people he fought for.)

But secondly, these causes, autistics fighting for acceptance, black activists fighting against a system that allows cops to kill them with barely any consequences, and any other Outcast fighting to be recognized as equal and deserving to be treated as valid and human, are us fighting fights that shouldn’t have to be fought against grave injustices that are embedded in our society and should be joined by all regardless of how we present ourselves to you or cater to you.

It’s amoral to actually tell people, “Yes, we know your people are being killed and dehumanized, but in order for us to care you need to make us feel good about it.”

It’s tyrannical to enforce a system that won’t even pretend to give a fuck about our deaths and suffering until we present ourselves in a way that is deemed deserving of respect.

It’s dehumanizing in itself because the people who do this are literally expecting us to value their comfort over our lives, which is telling us that you value our humanity so little that you need us to cater to what makes you feel good in order to recognize that just maybe it’s worth fighting for.

When it comes to us who are fighting to be treated as human, as equal to all, to not be dehumanized or killed or be hated or oppressed for what we are by this unjust society, we should not have to use a certain tone, dress a certain way (this goes for trans people as well, they should not be forced to pass as their gender in order for you to recognize them for who they are), behave in a certain manner, be polite or academic or anything, the fact that we’re your fellow human beings and don’t deserve to be going through this hell should be enough for you to stand by our side.

And, if it isn’t, if you seriously need more than that, if these grave injustices aren’t enough for you to stand by our side against them, that says a lot more about your morality than it says anything about us.

Especially now, in this new regime.

We are being more attacked by this system than ever before, and we need to fight back so much harder. Frankly, Outcast or not this system should be enough for you to stand up and fight back, considering that the threats that this new era bring affect so much more than minorities. But if you aren’t, at least be a decent human being and stand by our side in our fight. I will not fade into respectability and accept all the hells I mentioned in A Red Rage with a smile on my face and a polite tone. We’re fighting back because we don’t have the choice to do otherwise, and you should think that these injustices deserve to be warred against without politeness or respectability of any sort. And if your moral convictions are so weak that you can’t see beyond your own comfort to realize that just maybe you should fight by our side, if you’re content to let oppression happen if we don’t make sure to make you happy in our fight against it, your inaction supports the system that needs to be fought against and you’re choosing the oppressors over us. By our side or out of our way, pick one, don’t claim to support us or be an ally if you can’t stand against injustice without us holding your hand. There is nothing helpful about you if our tone can stop you from caring about whether or not we should be treated like humans. If you are willing to say, “Yes I’ll care about your oppression but only if you’re nice to me,” you have picked your side, and it’s not ours.

A Red Rage #RedInstead

“We are the rust upon your gears
We are the insects in your ears
We crawl, we crawl all over you
We sow seeds to see us through
Our days are precious and so few
We all reap what we are due
Under this sky no longer blue
We bring the dawn long overdue
We crawl, we crawl, we crawl all over you”

Re-Education (Through Labor), Rise Against

(Most articles linked in this piece are extremely brutal first-hand stories from autistics, pointing out horrors that are happening today. If you really believe that we don’t have the right to be angry and that we should accept all of this, read them. If you can read tales of child abuse and sympathy for murderers and still actually think that this doesn’t deserve your opposition, something is wrong with you.)

Last year, I wrote You Have the Choice. It was a couple of days before this month and it started out talking about dreading April.

But now, there is no dread in my heart, only pure rage.

For twelve years, people have been supporting a hate group that seeks to eradicate us from the planet. A group which perpetuates and profits off of stigma against people like myself. As my friend and comrade Neurodivergent K points out in I’m aware of your hate, this is a constant echo in our minds year-round, but this month it’s brought into focus, 30 days of blue lights and puzzle pieces.

This hate and the hell we face goes beyond Autism $peaks. It’s shown by how anytime one of our kin is murdered by their parents the news and society finds sympathy for the murderer not the victim, and is why the main “therapy” for autism is a torment designed to force us into becoming Indistinguishable From Peers (ABA, read stories of the horror from both someone who suffered through it and who once did it, and about its lifelong effects).

People consider us damaged by vaccines (or doctor-inflicted as our Fascist in Chief calls us) and seek to cure us by forcing us to drink bleach or turpentine.

Disabled people are over half of the people shot by police and 60-80% of the incarcerated population (an issue where racism and ableism greatly intersect).

…and we’re supposed to accept this and be nice while it is happening?

Especially now, when the President of the United States hates us and thinks we’re broken?

I refuse to do that any longer.

I ended You Have The Choice with asking people to choose acceptance.

But to quote another song by Rise Against, “I’m done asking, I demand.

Because acceptance of our humanity shouldn’t be something we request, but is a moral obligation.

I can no longer, will no longer be articulate so you don’t have to listen.

To get allies we should not have to be acceptable when the situation is so utterly reprehensible and unacceptable.

We should not have to be kind and nice when we’re being tortured, imprisoned, and killed.

We should not have to change to accommodate the world and what it’s doing to us, people should stand by our side to make the world accommodate us and not be torturing and killing us.

We deserve to be angry, we deserve to hurt, and we deserve to be able to express this rage and pain without being told that we’ll alienate people.

And if and when we do?

Frankly, I’m glad, because the people who can be alienated from assisting us even when all of this horror is happening to us wouldn’t be able to be trusted when we need it the most.

People should stand by us and fight, to erode and break down the gears that keep this system of hatred going until this month is no longer blue, until acceptance of our humanity is something that is commonplace not something that we need to fight constantly for.

I shall keep my anger and fight for a dawn long overdue when this hatred based on how we were born is no longer, because not being angry and not pushing back hard against oppression no matter who I might “alienate” is something that is morally wrong, not just through this hell of a month but onwards.

Will you?


If you want your money to go to an organization that actually supports us, please donate to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network here or the Autism Women’s Network here. Please spread knowledge of how terrible A$ is, we need it.