On Wings of Fire and Broken Glass We Still Need to Rise: On the Inauguration and Disappointment

Picture from an ad from Amazon for Biden's "Made America Great Already" hats, fittingly showing a person covering their eyes preventing them from seeing reality.

Picture from an ad from Amazon for Biden’s “Made America Great Already” hats, fittingly showing a person covering their eyes preventing them from seeing reality.

“Protest songs
In response to military aggression
Protest songs
Try to stop the soldier’s gun
But the battle raged on”

White People for Peace, Against Me

4 years ago, I wrote On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20, a war call saying that we’d rise and destroy this system, going against Trump.

2 years ago, I wrote On Wings of Fire and Broken Glass We MUST Rise: #DisruptJ20 2 years later, in which I was…incredibly jaded because things weren’t happening, we weren’t rising against this system and we needed to.

Now we are on the first day of Biden’s winning and…I’m already disappointed with people.

Y’all.

I’ve spent the last few weeks dreading today for two reasons: one, I thought that Trump supporters were going to bring violence today because they lost their President, which thankfully didn’t happen; second, because I realized that all the revolutionary fervor, which thankfully there was last year (because white people were actually affected by the pandemic and couldn’t ignore it like all the other injustice), is going to be lost because the injustice level is going to be tolerable.

This country is fucked up, and Biden isn’t going to make that go away, because why would he want to tear down the system of oppression that makes rich straight white men like him privileged? I’m glad that Trump is gone, don’t get me wrong, but all the fascists that supported him are still here and still emboldened.

The issues of marginalized people that existed before Trump that festered until they made it so Trump could rise are still going to be there under Biden, but…that’s ok, right?

The issue that large swaths of America had with Trump wasn’t that he was oppressive. It’s that he made people see it. His ideology was not new or creative, it’s written into the fabric of this country. He was pure fascism, actually saying the things that large amounts of Americans actually believe, which is why he got more votes this election, to the point where it was so close that it’s obvious that the only reason we didn’t have another 4 years of him was the pandemic. Many marginalized people were completely unsurprised that he won because all he was was an evolution of the policies and ideologies that have been keeping us down forever.

He’s gone, even being impeached (…which is honestly the most bitter of victories because he’s done so much horrible stuff, but again, the Capitol was something that white people couldn’t ignore), and people are buying hats like in the picture to claim that voting Trump out made America great and now we have nothing to worry about, largely because they don’t have anything to worry about. Biden won, and now oppression will go back to its baseline that the country can accept.

I remember one person saying that they voted for Biden because they were sick of the division. Paraphrasing my point in You’re Not As Important As You Think: on “Being Divisive”, there is no new division. Bigots didn’t crop up with Trump. These divisions have always been there, the oppressor and oppressed have always been separate, the oppressors were showing themselves to be who they actually are. They might end up slinking back into the shadows, but they are still the same horrible people and you should still be holding them accountable even if they aren’t as vocal, and also should be fighting against all the constant microaggressions that they will still use against us. There will always be division and, if you aren’t forced to see that every day because you have to constantly deal with people oppressing and having power over you, force yourself to open your eyes and see what we constantly deal with and help us fight because it is so tiring to constantly have our fights ignored until some dude comes into power and makes it so people are more inclined to hurt us to the point where y’all can’t pretend they aren’t doing it.

I am so much more tired and jaded than I was four years ago, so this is what I expect. I chose this song quote because the song is about (white, as the title says) people singing songs, going to a protest, and then considering their job done when they haven’t done anything to actually make any lasting change. The battle will rage on whether you keep caring about oppression or not now that Biden is in charge. Don’t claim that you care about marginalized people if you aren’t going to keep fighting against systemic oppression.

Change will take work, and the change we really need is never going to be found in the voting booth, but in united action against the system that keeps us down. Keep fighting, don’t lose the revolutionary spirit that grew in you when you were forced to confront oppression by Trump now that he’s no longer in power.

Or have socially distanced brunch now that you’re lucky enough to be able to ignore how the American system ruins lives again, the last 4 years…hells, the last two months have taught me that’s what I should expect.

Ally’s Guide for Autism Acceptance Month

Next month is what most people term “Autism Awareness Month” but what autistic activists alternatively call “Autism Acceptance Month” or “hell month.” It’s a month where people light it up blue globally  for Autism $peaks (in 2017 basically every landmark in over 150 countries lit it up blue according to their website which I’m not giving traffic), the hate group I have written about 5 times and made this toolkit with a lot of different resources and talking points to help people fight their supporters including those articles.

Last year on my page An Articulate Autistic I made a guide with stuff to help allies help us and after a lot of edits as those months went on it became really clunky so I’m remaking it here.

For myself and a lot of autistics next month is hell. It’s when the whole world joins together to support an organization that is incredibly harmful to us and has fueled and fed off of stigma against us for the past 13 years. It makes me want to hide in a hole and not come out until May 1st, last year I spent the whole month gaming to get my mind off of the hatred represented in the blue lights and puzzle pieces (a symbol for autism that has a long history of being horrible before AS). A lot of businesses will be making partnerships for the month for portions of any profit or of a certain product going to them (in addition to these 12 different sponsors that gave a total of $5,100,000 last year) along with the infinite well-intentioned people who are going to be lighting it up blue intending to be supportive of us unknowingly reinforcing our oppression.

While my articles on allies are…often my most incendiary, we need you next month because the more activist-oriented an autistic is, the more the utter futility of standing against this behemoth is rubbed in. It’s always there though I can usually ignore it but April focuses it like a laser into my brain so it’s impossible to not feel the lurking despair.

If you want to help us, you can start now. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, our main autistic-run policy organization, made this flyer (edit: I converted it to a picture on Facebook here to distribute it that way) last year with their budgeting (they spend 1.6% on family services and a total of 58% on lobbying, advertising, and fundraising, 36 times as much), key facts, and alternative organizations to donate to (although if you want to donate directly to an autistic activist who has been struggling with getting employment that isn’t incredibly overloading here’s my PayPal…while activism is important, it doesn’t pay and this alone has taken a few hours). I would recommend printing them and giving them to places that supported AS last year, they’re in color but shouldn’t be affected if printed grayscale. Also please boycott places that are supporting them for the month, it’s not that long and they don’t need the help.

My usual tactic when talking to people (I talk about this…a lot in person) is drawing attention to their vile ad campaigns. First and most horrid is “Autism Every Day” (transcript here), which was so terrible it had me breaking down crying wondering why they hated us so much. In particular, I mention the mom talking about wanting to drive her autistic daughter off of a bridge, with said daughter in her lap, and the only thing stopping her was having an allistic (non-autistic) daughter. Second is “I Am Autism” (transcript here) which had a creepy stalker voice saying that autism ruins marriages, is faster than pediatric AIDS diabetes and cancer combined, and makes it so you can’t go into public without struggle, embarrassment, or pain…I’m linking the transcripts instead of the videos because I’m only willing to put myself through so much suffering to write this and can’t handle actually seeing and hearing them.

Most (regrettably not all) people have issues with Nazis which is why I mention to people that they almost had the Soldiers of Odin, a very obviously named Neonazi group, at one of their fundraisers until people pointed out who they were, more info in the aptly named Autism Speaks: How Long Does It Take to Look into It?

The last point I make (after the others because it…might be taken skeptically on its own) is that no autistic activist was surprised by them having Nazis at their fundraiser because they’re eugenicist as well. A bold claim but…still accurate. They spend the second-most money on research to find the cause and a cure (with the death of their founder they found a thesaurus and use “solution” now) for autism. Another organization that is trying to find the cause and cure of something they think is horrible, the American Cancer Society, is looking for the cause so they can prevent it from existing in the first place. When trying to do that for a neurology instead of a disease that is eugenics.

So, there’s a lot of stuff for what not to do, there are however multiple ways to do things that do actually support us. Instead of lighting it up blue for them, try lighting it up gold or do #RedInstead (I wrote both a nice and a pissed-off article for that). Instead of a puzzle piece, try the rainbow infinity symbol of the neurodiversity movement. If you want to suggest organizations to donate to my top two picks are the aforementioned Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network (both links go to donation pages). If you want to get our voices heard instead of theirs here’s a list of a lot of great pages and blogs from my friends. Instead of calling for awareness call for acceptance instead (you’re already aware of our existence, now we need a world that accepts us as equal humans. Also, awareness months are for horrible things, as this list shows April is also STD and IBS awareness month). Last but not least, check in on your autistic friends next month, it’s really hard and your support will matter quite a bit.

-Laoch Onórach

On Wings of Fire and Broken Glass We MUST Rise: #DisruptJ20 2 years later

Burning limo from the #DisruptJ20 protests, has "WE THE PEOPLE" and the Anarchy symbol spray painted on it

Burning limo from the #DisruptJ20 protests, has “WE THE PEOPLE” and the Anarchy symbol spray painted on it

“So here and now, in our rotting nation
the blood, it pours, it’s all on our hands now
we live, in fear, of our own potential
to win, to lose, it’s all on our hands now

And I have an American Dream,
but it involves black masks and gasoline”

Black Masks and Gasoline, Rise Against

Two years ago on this day I wrote On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20.

It was a war call, a challenge to this regime, in which I said:

On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise from the ashes of our despair. You can arrest us, beat us, even kill us, but you won’t make us admit defeat and surrender. You may have expected us to just take whatever you throw at us, but if that’s the case you thought wrong. If the hateful will tell us that we shouldn’t exist we shall take pride in what they despise, become living symbols of defiance. We will make our voices heard, make it so people know what you’re doing to us, we will agitate to make it so people never accept your reign and hate.

Here we are, halfway through this hellish regime, and I’m looking at the world and this nation and am thinking that I might have been far too hopeful.

I thought things were dark then and believed that people wouldn’t take it, that as a nation we might feel that was too much. Now, I’m wishing that I was still as innocent thinking that that was bad and that people wouldn’t take it. We live in an era of the deepest inhumanity, with children in concentration camps and an unknown number of them simply lost, a 12 year climate doomsday clock (and no amount of changing how many showers you take or ableist straw bans will do anything when 71% of the pollution comes from 100 companies with no financial interest in changing and the EPA working with climate change deniers), and are in the midst of the longest government shutdown which is leading to vandalism of national parks (some of which won’t recover for decades), harming indigenous people, and having effects on food stamps and WIC because of our President’s obsession with xenophobia and his border wall which won’t even work, meaning that if this does go on for “months or even years” the most vulnerable of us, including babies, will literally starve because they don’t have money to get food.

And my question to this whole nation is:

What the fuck more does it take?

These are the worst of times and they aren’t getting better. I do not know how people can actually just keep going on without feeling like this system is a problem that we need to rise against.

This isn’t something that any type of reform or working within the system will address. We can’t elect away the capitalist system that is built to support and grow the corporations that are destroying this planet and all the people in power on the backs of the oppressed, not with centuries molding it into what it is today. It’s not broken in need of fixing.

It’s working exactly as it’s supposed to and truly breaking it is really the only option we have at this point.

As I’ve already stated in Redefining Revolution: Fighting as a Marginalized Person in a Trump Presidency, I don’t consider the revolution to be some future bloody battle but something happening now (specifically said “It’s not something to be solely fought with guns but also speeches and blogs and thrown bricks and counterprotests and food drives and any action done in the spirit of seeking to bring change to the many intersecting injustices that have harmed people for so long”), but it takes people deciding to actually try to take part. Apathy is not a moral option at this point if it ever has been. Do something even if it’s just using your words to say you won’t take this, get involved with movements around you, get angry because anything else is honestly screwed up.

I used to say that I believe that this time will be in history books and what we do now will be read about for future generations so we need to think about how we want this chapter to read, either of a people who responded to a tyrant with inaction or defiance. Now I’m just wondering how many future generations there will actually be if we don’t address what’s going on now.

Our actions, specifically our inaction, are the cause of all of this being allowed, but we might still have a chance if we decide to actually take it. But we can not keep going the same way we have been if we want hope of actually surviving in our rotting nation, it’s truly in our hands now and we need to decide what we’re going to do about it.

Wake up and fight while there’s still something to actually fight for.

-Laoch Onórach

I’m Not Your Good Minority: On Unconditional Acceptance

“Hear me out now

You’re gonna listen to me like it or not, right now”

Faint, Linkin Park

There are two types of lack of acceptance.

The first is the obvious one, bigotry that leads to blatant harm, the type that society claims to condemn (but systemically enforces).

The second form that is societally accepted and much more insidious, the acceptance based on qualifiers, based on our making ourselves comfortable and easy to accept.

The autistic who always makes eye contact. The trans person that perfectly passes as their gender. The gay person who doesn’t make such a big deal about it.

Accepting us as long as we make every effort to hide the way that we are actually different, accepting us as long as we hide anything that might make it hard to accept us.

I refuse.

I refuse to pretend that I’m one of you, to hide myself, just so you can pretend that you actually care about who I am without needing to make any effort.

I read an journal article with a quote from everyone’s (least) favorite trans icon Caitlyn Jenner that ended with:

If you’re out there and, to be honest with you, if you look like a man in a dress, it makes people uncomfortable.

Along with an article where Bernie Sanders is quoted saying “I am not a great fan of being rude or disrupting activities.”

Acceptance should not be conditional on not being “rude or disrupting” or making people “uncomfortable”.

Acceptance is not conditional whatsoever, if there is anything that an oppressed person needs to change before you accept them you are not accepting them whatsoever.

Acceptance means accepting the totality of someone’s humanity not just the parts that are like you. Support of someone as long as they package and hide the parts that make them different from you isn’t support at all as it requires a drain of resources to force ourselves to pretend we are the same.

We are not you. By our very nature we are different. Requiring any effort from us to make that difference less obvious in order to pretend to give a damn about who we are as people is almost worse than not pretending at all because forcing us to make that effort is more of a drain than you just admitting to yourself and us that what is actually important is your comfort not our lives.

We can not, will not, and should not have to pretend to be the same as you no matter the damage to ourselves to get anywhere in your society, just because if we do you’ll give us your support for our performance.

I’m pissed off and you should be too. I refute your calls for respectability or civility as a minority activist, refuse to take effort from fighting these inhumanities to simultaneously hide parts of myself to please you and make you feel like I’m enough like you to deserve your acceptance. If you think that you’re worth it, as I made clear in my favorite article you’re really not as important as you think.

I’m not your good minority, I will not fall in line with your demands for you to recognize my humanity, will not change myself (which causes me great harm as my post on passing makes clear) to be just like you because you can’t actually accept anyone who is totally different than you.

You should accept all marginalized people for exactly what we are. I’ll accept nothing less.

-Laoch Onórach

Free Speech vs Free Will

rulingsword

Drawing from my ex-co-blogger of an image that I created on the computer, shows my core values of love, unity, truth, knowledge, and free will

I already wrote my opinion on this issue in No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”, and its reactions were…argumentative as I desired (a friend taught me that the best way to provoke people was to say that they don’t have the right to do something, and my goal was to provoke conversations and opinions).

But we can write article after article on opinions for or against “freedom of speech”, but it doesn’t get to what the essence of this conflict for those like myself actually is.

In my view, this fight is between two concepts: free speech and free will.

My problem with my opponents is that they believe that people should be able to say anything no matter the consequences of their words, but don’t think about what that actually means and the effects it has. It’s a conflict of priorities: the right for the oppressor to spread fear, hatred, and stigma vs the right of the oppressed not to be stigmatized, hated, or live in fear.

The instance that inspired this article happened today in an argument with a classmate in class regarding Milo not being allowed to speak at Berkeley by the protesters, an incident which I touched on briefly in the introduction in my article on the ableist notion of slacktivism. She stuck to her guns even as I mentioned how he was planning on outing undocumented students on a live stream, saying that they could file lawsuits…against a rich celebrity guy that would probably fail while being afraid for their lives and at risk of harm or worse because their names were released to people who have already shown that they’re more likely to harm undocumented people in the wake of Trump’s increasing anti-latinx rhetoric.

Our conflict essentially comes down to this: which is more important:

Milo’s right to say whatever he wants?

Or the right of the people he targets not to be hurt or afraid for their lives?

In my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating where I called Nazis Nazis, I described how someone told me that autistics are horror shows will be aborted in the future and my friend was told by someone who he thought was interested in him and her friends on a phone call that the world is too good for us autistic fucks to live in.

Which is more important, their rights to tell us that the world is literally not meant for us to exist in or my friend to not be driven to the edge of suicide by that 45 dehumanizing hate speech?

People will claim “well, the first amendment,” but…personally, the words on a paper written hundreds of years ago by racist sexist rich white men, many of them slave owners, are less important to me than the safety of my fellow humans today.

I believe that humans deserve to be free of hatred, fear, and stigma based on things intrinsic to their nature like orientation/disability/gender/mental illness/etc, and that we should be protected and protect others from degradation and dehumanization.

I believe it is right and just to protect people from harm from those who seek to cause them harm.

I believe that we should choose the freedom of the oppressed over believing in free speech of their oppressors, enabling them to incite violence and fear.

When given the choice between first amendment rights and something that I consider a basic human right, I’m choosing the latter, and honestly feel like the morals of those who choose to love the hateful and enable them in their tyranny instead of caring about those they hate and seek to bring harm to are fucked up. My morals aren’t based on the Constitution (which really only protects people from the government not from the court of public opinion) but on the belief that humans deserve to be happy and free from hatred. I refuse the notion that I should consider speech that hurts my fellow Outcast sacred and deserving of my defense just because old dead people said so. I seek to unite those who are fighting against that oppression in The Outcast Army Facebook group because I see so many who are determined to enable those who hate us to cause us harm. The choice between the oppressor and the oppressed should be an easy one, but to people I honestly consider immoral in their defense of hatred, it somehow is. To them all I can say is that we see you, and know who we can trust.

-Laoch Onórach

Sick of This Story

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair (merch here). However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

The picture I use for the blog and the FB group The Outcast Army for minority activists representing feelings of minorities after Trump with anger rising out of despair. However, the first time I had this image in mind was after an autistic child was killed by his mother, one in a far too long list

“And how many lives have been wasted?
How many bodies laid to rest?
Sick of the lies, the same old story
All over and over and over and over
Over and over and over and over again”

How Many Walls, Rise Against

A couple days ago, the worst month of the year for autistics began. Autism Awareness Month, the global hatefest where people support the eugenicist hate group known as Autism $peaks. I’ve already written an autism acceptance #RedInstead article, (well, technically two but the older one was too nice), made a masterpost of articles from different sources and perspectives, written an essay for class and a poem about the puzzle piece, and created this toolkit to help people debunk talking points they might encounter (that includes all those 5 things) and a guide on how to take action to get people to not support them (that has the toolkit linked).

After writing seven things on them of different forms and purposes, I want to make clear that in reality…they aren’t the real problem.

They’re a symptom of something that is larger and more pervasive and has existed since autism was first diagnosed in the US when it was said autism was caused by “refrigerator parents”. (though the effects of hating us for how we appear differently could arguably be considered to have had signs in faerie tales.

The reality is, people have always hated us, and will long after A$ is gone. They’re a juggernaut that perpetuates and profits off of it, but I could name ten other people/organizations that do the same thing (though not as successfully), and there will always be more (a rather horrifying [because it revealed just how much people hated us] example of hatred becoming far too popular was the New York Times bestselling book To Siri With Love, ableist screed where she talks about sterilizing her son, misgenders and insults an autistic activist and other horrible things, here’s a chapter-by-chapter analysis, review, and screenshots of an engagement between the author and the nonbinary activist who she called a “manic pixie dream girl” in the book).

That’s because this fight isn’t against a corporation but against a narrative that is ingrained in society, the narrative of autism being a tragedy.

The effects of this narrative go beyond just the ads and propaganda (though A$ ads like Autism Every Day and I Am Autism [don’t read these if you’re autistic the first one made me cry and ask why they hate us so much] definitely have a huge effect); they hurt and kill us.

The main therapy in the US is ABA, (here’s a masterpost of links), a “therapy” that has the goal to train us out of looking like autistics. Therapy is in quotes because it’s abuse, as these accounts from someone who went through it and someone who used to do it should make clear. This idea of autism being a disease needing a cure like A$ says leads to horrible “cures” like MMS which is bleach that parents are forcing kids to swallow. It’s the real reason for anti-vaxxers because it’s much less about being anti-science than trying to find a cause for the damage to their kids (one of them wrote a book called “I Wish My Kids Had Cancer: A Family Surviving the Autism Epidemic”). It’s the justification for shocking people at the Judge Rotenberg Center which is still happening even after it killed someone. It’s also the fuel for the endless cycle of parents killing their autistic kids, with the sympathy and justification for the murderer leading to yet another death.

This hatred is everywhere, all the time, but most of the time I’m allowed to ignore it. This month is like a magnifying glass taking the hatred and focusing it into a single blue beam that pierces like a spear in my skull.

I’m sick of this story that leads to so much death and suffering. How many bodies of innocent children need to be laid to rest for people to stop believing this lie. We’re human just like you, but nobody would justify shocking/poisoning/murdering allistic kids as often as it’s done to us.

If A$ disappeared, all of this would still be here year-round. Don’t let your fight alongside us be any less when May 1st comes around just because it’s returned to where you aren’t forced to think about it.

I don’t have that luxury.

-Laoch Onórach

Anti-Anti-Vaxxer Toolkit to Debunk and Explain Their Arguments

Proud member of the Autism Epidemic

[Note: since I made this 2 years ago a lot of people have said that this wouldn’t convince the anti-vaxxers.  I want to make clear that the goal I have when fighting them isn’t to convince them, it’s too far gone. However when you’re fighting a vocal anti-vaxxer chances are there’s a lot of people less strong in their convictions that will be able to be swayed that are watching and if you show how that side is full of dangerous liars you will change their mind and you will have a chance of saving lives.]

(Before anything else, a point: the main thing that separated me from the skeptic community, and led to the creation of Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers was that often the skeptic community would just stop at saying vaccines don’t cause autism. Well, as the title says Vaccines Don’t Cause Autism, But That’s Not The Point. Stop Being Ableist. I fight anti-vaxxers not because I’m a scientist but because they hate me and think I’m broken. Please when you hear us being mentioned go the extra mile and actually say that being autistic isn’t horrible. The root of this movement sticking is them believing that and it’s hell. Also, as this took 6 hours to make if you appreciate the work donations to my PayPal would be greatly appreciated, I’m broke and jobless [not for lack of trying] so any help would be great.)

After my Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit went so well I thought I’d do the same treatment for another bane of autistic people, anti-vaxxers…one of which is currently the President of the United States (his election turned me from fighting them for fun to becoming highly political which will be a different article). This one is a lot longer because they have a lot of arguments so I’ll first have a guide to what each one is then the in-depth explanation to make it so you can easily find each claim that I’m debunking (it also took hours to put together so sharing around would be really appreciated). I chose the picture because if you’re going to be called a plague by these people you might as well have fun with it…anyways, here we go:

First: Table of Contents

  1. Progenitor of the autism-vaccine connection and the issues with him
  2. Explanation of being nonverbal/head banging the two things that are oft pointed out as signs of vaccine damage
  3. Correlation between rise of autism diagnoses and vaccine usage
  4. “Where are all the old autistics?” argument for proof of “autism epidemic” (cw:suicide)
  5. “High functioning” autistics can’t speak for “low functioning” autistics
  6. Chemicals in vaccines
  7. Spacing out vaccines
  8. Package inserts/VAERS
  9. Vaccines all about the money
  10. Vaccine injury compensation
  11. “My child, my choice.” Herd immunity, why the vaccinated can get measles, and the lives lost.

  1. The origin of the vaccines causing autism myth was this ex-doctor named Andrew Wakefield. Andrew Wakefield wrote a paper saying that the MMR vaccine causes autism, one which has been repeatedly debunked (link to 107 studies debunking the link here, anti-vaxxers accidentally funded a study debunking themselves), condemned by multiple other science organizations (here and here), and retracted from the medical journal. He also lost his license. This was not because of a secret Big Pharma conspiracy, it was because he was paid by lawyers the equivalent of $535,832.00, and had his own version of the vaccine. He also took blood samples from children without their parents’ consent at his son’s birthday party, charming individual. He wasn’t originally an anti-vaxxer at all, just a terrible human out for profit who didn’t care if he caused measles epidemics and started a movement that is based on hatred of me and mine. He migrated over to the US and somewhat recently made a hate film called Vaxxed, which was an hour and a half long movie of bad effects and horrible parents often calling their kids vaccine damaged in front of them.
  2. The main things that anti-vaxxer “autism moms” point to often as signs of “vaccine injuries” are kids not being able to speak or banging their heads against the wall. Well to the former, as I mentioned in Why Is How You Communicate So Special? our focus on spoken communication as a society is harmful, and there are many ways of communication either by simple behavior (because behavior is communication) or multiple variants of alternative forms of communicating. A parent just needs to actually care about their kid in order to look for these ways. And headbanging or other self-injurious behavior is often a form of stimming, a way of dealing with overload (read this for more information about what stimming is and if you or someone you’re caring for has a stim like this check out The Dark Side of the Stim for more help). Pain drains other things out, I’m a master at appearing “high-functioning” (please read this on my personal experience of the hell of that label) and I still do that when everything gets too much.
  3. They like to point that the rise of autism diagnoses correlates to the rise in vaccine usage. First off, correlation doesn’t equal causation, as this fun site allows you to show by creating your own random correlations, because by their same logic sunlight in California causes people to go to Seaworld in Florida, people visiting California Adventure causes dogs to kill people, and Nicolas Cage making movies causes people to drown in swimming pools (an unrealistic reaction to his movies no matter their quality). But besides that easily debunkable fallacy, I always make sure to correct people by saying rise of autism diagnoses not the rise of autism itself. That’s because this is a huge point, as their fearmongering and statistic charts are based around saying that the amount of people being autistic is growing when in reality our understanding of what autism is and how broad of a spectrum it is is growing which is awesome and needs to grow more as I explained here. When autism was first diagnosed in the US psychiatrists would only diagnose a very very small amount of people with an even more limiting criteria than we have today, and there’s major issues when it comes to diagnosing people who aren’t white or aren’t guys. It’s also hard and often unnecessary to get a diagnosis as an adult (there aren’t many services for autistic adults so unless you need it for validation it’s a large amount of money for no point) so if you were born when the diagnostic criteria were exclusive then unless you fork out the money you won’t be counted under that number and even if they do a lot of psychiatrists will base their decision on whether or not to diagnose us on how we present when we’ve learned to look NT…there are a lot of self-diagnosed people also not under that umbrella, long story short, we have ages to go to make the diagnosis number match the number of actual autistic people.
  4. Where are all the old people with autism? Most of them are dead. Can we stop denying their existence and start trying to make a difference? Article title is both a talking point in addition to an explanation, one of the things they mention is if autism isn’t caused by vaccines then where are the old autistics, as the article says those of us that have a learning disability and are autistic (like myself) have an average lifespan of 40 years and those who don’t have an LD are 9 times as likely to commit suicide (and the diagnosis thing in the previous point) . As opposed to wondering where the old autistic people are please change yourselves and the world to make it a place that doesn’t make us die younger/want to kill ourselves more/has more accurate diagnoses so there are more of us alive.
  5. Sometimes people will tell us “high-functioning” autistics we don’t speak for “low-functioning” autistics because we’re not autistic or “less autistic”. Well, there’s no such thing as more or less autistic, “low-functioning” autistics have said we do speak for them, and being put in this high-functioning” box literally (not being melodramatic read this) kills us, forcing us to internalize everything until we can’t be ourselves (caused myself a meltdown explaining that here) this is an erasive tactic designed to invalidate our experiences and deny our voices.
  6. Another scare tactic is to point out the dangerous chemicals, especially aluminum formaldehyde and thimerosal (variant of mercury). Everything has chemicals, the amount of them is what matters (the dose makes the poison, even drinking too much water can kill you), anything can sound scary if you list out the chemicals in it (like your blood), aluminum is the most common elementthere’s much more formaldehyde in a pear than a vaccine, thimerosal is ethylmercury which goes through your system unlike the deadly methylmercury found in tuna, and despite its harmlessness thimerosal has been removed from every vaccine other than the multi-dose flu vaccine. This is a good breakdown of the Toxic myths about vaccines.
  7. A common middle ground approach is to get all the vaccines just spaced out. The vaccine schedule is planned out, and spacing them out is actually harmful.
  8. Anti-vaxxers think the government is evil and lying about everything…except in package inserts and this site called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System or VAERS for short, in which case because they can be used for fearmongering they are telling the absolute truth. Ignoring the doublethink, both of those things are easily misunderstood. VAERS allows you to put any event like the one time someone said vaccines made them the Incredible Hulk (this is a list that breaks down deaths attributed to the HPV vaccine) and vaccine inserts have many different categories with different meanings including the adverse reactions section which doesn’t require any evidence of causation to be mentioned. which is why the adverse reaction section for Aspirin looks like this.
  9. Vaccines are all about the money…except there are layers and layers of why that’s wrong, and it’s a bit disingenuous to talk about the profit margin of “Big Pharma” when “Big Placebo” makes so much more.
  10. Big numbers are scary, so they mention that the US has spent $2 billion in vaccine injury compensation paying out to 3000 claims (as of 2012 in the articles). These are big numbers, but not for a program that has been around since 1988. Broken down one person estimates that $0.99 cents have been rewarded for every vaccine administered and that the percentage of compensations to actual vaccines administered is 0.003%, both of which look a lot less intimidating.
  11. “My child, my choice. If your kids are vaccinated, why do you care?” This sounds like a just argument, but it isn’t. There’s this thing called “herd immunity.” Essentially, the most vulnerable of us can’t vaccinate, so when a large enough population vaccinates it prevents epidemics from spreading and hurting those who are vulnerable. The lack of it is what led to the 4-month-long Disneyland outbreak that had a total of 159 measles cases from 18 states and DC (and yes some vaccinated people got it, there’s a reason for that, and those who were vaccinated bounced back quicker and didn’t spread it). That didn’t cause deaths despite infecting almost half the country thankfully, but others aren’t so lucky. And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to the parents of a child with cancer who got measles and the parents of this 32 day old baby who died of the whooping cough. It’s not just their kids, and people die from their choices.

If there are more claims that you run into let me know and I’ll edit this to add more data and please share there are literally 57 links in here that I hunted down as backing for arguments because they need to be fought.

-Laoch Onórach

Autism Speaks Resource Toolkit (updated for 2019)

One of the main aspects of my activism has been spreading awareness (to steal their term) of how horrible Autism Speaks is as they are the main organization that people think of when it comes to autism and also a hate group. As I’ve been doing this for three years now I have amassed multiple resources including my own writing to cover the problems with them.

I asked on my page An Articulate Autistic if people would be interested in resources to also become better activists and advocates against the organization which has been screwing us over for the past twelve years and the answer was a resounding yes so I thought I would make it…and then completely blanked on it for probably months.

This collection isn’t just a dump of links (though I do have an aggregate of many links in here), but organized in argumentative points to better equip you to articulate issues.

Better much late than never, here they are:

  • You See A Puzzle Piece was a poem-esque thing that I wrote before I started on the old blog was originally a Facebook note/mental allergic reaction to seeing a plaque in an old job, it’s what comes to my mind when I see the symbol
  • You Have The Choice was my nice Autism Acceptance article from last April asking people to choose acceptance.
  • A Red Rage #RedInstead was my article this year demanding people to accept us because acceptance of our humanity shouldn’t be a choice but a moral obligation (note on language: Autism Awareness Month is what A$ calls April it’s pretty much their main fundraiser. In response autistics have created multiple Autism Acceptance Month movements, including #RedInstead. I started wearing red shirts and shoes for Acceptance the whole of last April [2016] and it’s become my aesthetic).
  • Please Don’t Support Autism $peaks was a letter I wrote to a sorority that has become an aggregate for links. While it has the stuff that I’m linking in here its main design was to overwhelm with a total of 20 links from various sources (autistics, autistic mothers of autistic children, allistic mothers of autistic children, and The Daily Beast along with various others), it wasn’t really meant to be read as much as show there’s a lot of people, I’m putting my favorite ones in here.
  • Why You Should Not Support Autism Speaks is a persuasive essay I did for my class for teaching writing, I linked the sources of information within the essay like I would with an article in the doc, it’s definitely more professional and it does do something others don’t, give a fair mention of the arguments that the opposition would make. I don’t usually do that because thinking about the arguments people make to support a hate group kinda hurts and they’re wrong and don’t deserve my time in articles (some of the info is now outdated).

Now for the other useful tools:

  • Honestly, this is one that shouldn’t be arguable, their horrific I Am Autism ad. I share the transcript because I have sensory processing issues and I couldn’t handle the stalkerish voice from the perspective of autism saying horrible stuff about us. Read at your own risk, it’s…really bad.
  • If that doesn’t work here’s a much worse ad…Autism Every Day, this is so bad it made me break down crying wondering why they hate us so much. The only one still in my head is a mom talked about wanting to drive her autistic daughter off of a bridge with said daughter in her lap and saying the only thing stopping her was having an allistic (non-autistic) daughter.
  • The main therapy that A$ supports is Applied Behavioral Analysis or ABA. It’s also child abuse, designed to make us look allistic by forcing us to suppress behaviors that are coping mechanisms. Julia Bascom wrote her perspective from going through it in Quiet Hands (with the haunting line “And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy) and my friend at Ink & Daggers Illustration wrote this view from the perspective of an ABA therapist which I call by the first line “First time I hurt a child”. It’s also the main therapy which is why you’ll get “Not my ABA” apologists. The thing is, as this article Screams, Slaps, and Love shows, it’s the original form (the article is as bad as you would think an article with slaps and love regarding autism would be, but it’s about the creator of it). There’s a form of it that many have called “diet ABA” which only has positive reinforcement but as this picture shows it’s still dog training (edit: here’s a dog trainer saying it’s worse than dog training) if you just use treats to reinforce behaviors that might harm us (stimming is a coping mechanism and eye contact takes focus away from me and hurts others) instead of using a spray bottle and treats (spray bottle is actually used and the treats are skittles when it’s humans). This is an autistic reading of The ME Book which is the original manual…this is real ABA. One place, the Judge Rotenberg Center, uses electric shock in order to do this, a fellow activist made this masterpost on that horrible place. (edit: awesome masterpost on ABA resources
  • They use a blue puzzle piece as their symbol, they weren’t the original to use it for autism so Why you need to stop using the puzzle piece to represent autistic people is useful for the history and why it’s a problem and their blue is because blue is for boys and only boys get autism, which isn’t true at all. According to this, the diagnosis rate is currently 1 in 45 and 75% of the diagnoses are male, which is solely due to diagnostic criteria problems and societal misconceptions, the latter of which isn’t helped by the fact that the main organization reinforces this myth with their color scheme. You See A Puzzle Piece was my mental allergic reaction to seeing it in the break room at Sprouts (one of the 24 corporations that donate yearly to A$)
  • This is a handy printable flyer showing their financials (as I said in the article about those, “This year, they spent 39% of their funding on advertising and lobbying for more money, 24% on fundraising, and 3% on family services. This is 21 times as much trying to get money by ads, fundraising, and lobbying than how much they spend on actually helping people”). (new flyer in the link, they 1.6% on family services and a total of 58% on lobbying, advertising, and fundraising, 36 times as much) It also shows that they spend the next large amount (it used to be the most but they switched to spending the most on advertising when they went from 4% to 3% [now 1.6%] on family services)  on research for the cause and cure (their mission statement now says solutions but they found a thesaurus after the co-founder died) for autism…a point my teacher said was too much but still accurate is that another organization that looks for the cause and cure of something they consider to be horrible is the American Cancer Society…and the reason for they’re looking for a cause is to prevent it from existing in the first place…and when it comes to trying to prevent a neurology from existing that’s eugenics. 
  • From other bloggers, the Caffeinated Autistic made this bulleted masterpost and Radical Neurodivergence Speaking wrote this beautiful Autism Awareness piece I’m aware of your hate.
  • Most people have major issues with Nazis and would regard organizations as suspect if they would allow them at their fundraisers…which isn’t a common situation, but was the case with an A$ fundraiser in Canada which was going to let the Soldiers of Odin walk until multiple people called them out on it. They responded saying they would look into it, which honestly considering the first article that pops up is this Wikipedia article calling them an “anti-immigrant street patrol group” it should have been rather easy to look it up beforehand. However, no autistic activist I know was surprised…Nazis and A$ both hate autistic/disabled people, so they’re natural allies.

They have the advantage in every single way, but something we do have is our voices. So please boost ours and speak against them.

  • If you like this and want to support me this is my PayPalI wouldn’t ask this here if my car, phone, computer, and bike weren’t all taking a dive and I don’t have a job or source of income to pay for them.

-Laoch Onórach

 

From The Ashes: Week 2 update

Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Update One

Important information:

There are currently 12 active fires in California (the main one affecting my area is 94% contained and 36,807 acres)

There are now 42 people dead from the fires, 23 of which are from my area

6768 structures have been destroyed

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use helpthe city of Santa Rosa has a fundraisermy old school (which the pheonix is mascot for) could use donations on their page, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter


Blue Phoenix (Anova's mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google

Blue Phoenix (Anova’s mascot is now going to be a phoenix and their color is blue, however they are getting a logo designed by someone connected to Disney not this from Google)

“The school was lost in the fire but the ‘real school’ is alive and well.”

Words from a teacher’s email the day of the fire when I asked if they were ok

 

Last update I focused on the negatives of my old school being destroyed.

This last week has changed my perceptions of everything regarding it and its future though.

On Tuesday night I attended a meeting about the future of the school where all the parents, students, and staff attended to hear the administration team tell us where the school was going from here on. I was somewhat proud to hear that the administration team was already looking for places to start classes up until the old campus is rebuilt. They also said that donations to the Gofundme or on their site (Gofundme takes a cut, direct donations won’t) will be used not for insurance but things you can see, like a library, a playground (which they were working on), a gym (something we’ve never had), all the things that normal schools have that Anova never did.

However, the thing that made me realize that what my teacher said was true wasn’t the meeting but a dance. Friday night was a dance which was the first time the teachers and students got together since the fire and seeing what was happening made my heart soar. All of the people who made the school great were there, dancing and celebrating being together. It was as if nothing had happened, the people not affected by the fires which destroyed the school and so many lives.

My old teacher was right. The campus was just a building, a container for people to be in. What made Anova Anova is still here, the people who made it a wonderful place that helps us. As long as the people exist, nothing will stop the school from rising from the ashes.

-Laoch Onórach

Adaptability and Uncertainty: 1st update on the Santa Rosa fires, 1 week after

(I’ve decided that I would do weekly updates on the fire’s effects so people know what’s going on from a personal perspective not just the news one, both providing data and my own experiences. If you’re interested in following you can subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the sidebar on the left)

 

Original article: please read and share, will have links to updates as they’re posted

Important information:

Total fires in California as of now: 28, 16 of which are 100% contained (none of the ones near me are yet, the main one affecting the people I care about, the Tubbs fire, is now 36,432 acres and 75% contained)

Death toll is now 41 in Northern California, with 88 people still missing.

As of 4 days ago, Santa Rosa (city that has been destroyed) has lost 2,834 homes and 400,010 square feet of commercial space.

Important fundraisers if you can help: My friend’s farm could still use help, the city of Santa Rosa has a fundraiser, my old school (the picture) has a fundraiser to help rebuild, and a reservation has opened its doors to many evacuees and is trying to build tiny houses purchase camping equipment and other things to be a better shelter


 

The school for autistics that I went to and plan on teaching at with a picture of students in front next to what the school looks like now.

“We all fall down and we get right back up again”

Broken English, Rise Against

Life in my city has altered radically in large and small ways.

The small ways are things like how small talk now includes “is your family ok” as a common question, more common emergency vehicles, and now only smoke in the distance if you look hard.

The large ways are how there are multiple places that have converted to shelters (4 that I know of, I’ve volunteered at three), and seeing the places which I knew and was familiar with converted into temporary homes and donation centers for survivors.

In the original This is our time: Thoughts on How People Respond to Disasters, I said that after natural disasters is when the best and worst of humanity is shown, when people can show who they truly are.

In the wake of the fires, my county has shown to be downright amazing.

Multiple donation centers are at full capacity, unable to hold anything else because so many people donated. At the Elks Lodge where I used to have Scout meetings, there was a huge dinner for people after we volunteered, with food that my mom recognized as coming from a family owned restaurant locally. When I volunteered at the fairgrounds (a weird experience in itself, a place that I’m used to having rides and animals becoming a massive center where trucks full of donations and many people are located), I helped unload a truck full of donated food (including far too much bread). There were bagged lunches that people had put together for survivors, many of which had messages drawn on them telling survivors to “stay strong” and many other things on the bags that were telling the evacuees they were cared about. It’s amazing how my county has adapted everything to fit the need of supporting those in need. I saw people I haven’t seen in ages volunteering, people from my Scout Troop (I got my Eagle Scout 8 years ago and turned 18 [when you can’t be a Scout any longer] 6 years ago) and old classes. The people here have fallen in a lot of ways but managed to come right back up in a new form designed to help each other.

It hasn’t been just the best of humanity here though…9 people have been arrested for trying to start new fires (5 individuals and a group of 4 teens) in the areas where the fires in North California (thank the Gods not just in my county), and I heard that some houses have jacked up in price to take advantage of the people who need homes.

However, with all this help…it’s all temporary. Eventually the fires will be out, and people will no longer be at the shelters, people have already gone back and seen their destroyed homes in places where the evacuation orders have lifted. As the picture shows, the school I went to is utterly destroyed, and tomorrow I’ll be going to a meeting about its future (which will be mentioned in the next update). It’s awesome seeing what is happening now but in the long term that’s when we’ll need you more. There’s a lot that’s still up in the air, we don’t know the exact damage, people don’t know if their homes are still here or not because they aren’t allowed to look yet, and it’s too soon to know what we’ll need. It’s only after the fires are out when we’ll know, and that’s when the news coverage will stop…please don’t stop paying attention then. We need you. I’m going to keep writing these updates so please subscribe, if enough people do I might ask others to share their stories of what they’re going through.

The struggle is going to go on for quite a while, whether or not you’re paying attention. For all those who have lost so much, I beg you to keep doing so.