Why aren’t you upset?

“If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention.”

Last Facebook post of Heather Heyer

Memorial to Heather Heyer who died at age 32 yesterday. She died and 19 others who were counterprotesting the Unite The Right rally were injured when James Alex Fields Jr. rammed his car into them for standing up to their hatred. Fight in her name.

(I’m dedicating this post to my friends and comrades protesting the rally, if you can spare money please donate to support logistics, the street medics, or the legal fund, they deserve our support.)

One of the things I recently was told that a friend stopped reading my stuff because it wasn’t “happy.”

Hell no, it’s not.

But I feel a profound disconnect with anyone who needs something to be “happy” to listen to it.

Because, well…welcome to 2017.

Or the US in general to be honest.

We live in a system built on oppression. Trump didn’t create hatred he simply brought it to an unprecedented high, using his office to deconstruct the protections we have and encourage bigoted acts by validating hatred with his voice and power. The Nazis and the KKK that we see didn’t start to exist at the beginning of his campaign they’re just emboldened to step into the spotlight.

Now, of course, it’s getting even worse, with the KKK now walking brazenly without hoods (the problem with doing that is that then people can share the faces that you decided to show everyone to let people to know you’re evil…feel free to click the link and share, and if you’re going to protest mask up so they can’t do the same) and driving into the crowds protesting them with the aim to kill people solely for dissenting against their hatred.

The world is and has always been hell for a lot of people, and that is a problem.

It’s not happy, it’s not good, but we should be facing it…if you have the choice not to.

In my formative years I felt like something was wrong with me and how I exist, now I know that the world is the problem not my brain, that the world is screwed up and needs to be fixed.

I never had the choice to think that everything is moral in this place and so realizing that this world is screwed and doing what I can to make it better is all I know.

The rest of you who aren’t faced by some form of hatred for something intrinsic to your existence, you have the choice to pretend the world is perfect.

However, the only moral thing is to do the opposite.

In the face of such grave injustices you should be enraged. You should stand up and fight the forces hurting and killing your fellow humans because it’s obviously something that we need to fight. You shouldn’t be clinging to your happiness by ignoring the reality of other people suffering but should use your voice to call attention to it.

To do otherwise, to stand by and let hatred happen, is wrong.

To get pissed off at us who are calling attention to it for disrupting your happy day instead of getting upset at murderers is all kinds of screwed up.

I’m not going to apologize for rubbing your nose in the system’s hatred. I’m going to stand up and demand you acknowledge the world around you.

And if you refuse I’ll know that you’re not someone I can trust, because in this era not paying attention is deadly.

It’s because people clung to their apathy that we got in this mess. As I mentioned in this post on my Facebook page An Articulate Autistic, hatred festers if unchallenged, and when you’re literally getting upset with people for mentioning the existence of hatred you’re actively hindering the efforts to challenge it.

If more people listened to Heather, if more people stood and fought this before the election, we wouldn’t be here. They wouldn’t feel welcome to do this huge festival of hatred.

But we’re here now and now it’s necessary, not just moral but needed, to stand and fight now before even more deaths happen.

Pay attention, get outraged, don’t let her die in vain.

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.

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.

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.

Rebellious Joy: On Pride Movements

(Dedicated to the trans women of color who made it so Pride month is possible and who are fighting to this day.)

While the article is the same as the one from April, I'm changing the picture to Philly's new pride flag with the black and brown stripes which I feel (though it was unintended) do something to acknowledge the trans women of color who made this month of Pride for queer and trans people possible

While the article is the same as the one from April, I’m changing the picture to Philly’s new pride flag with the black and brown stripes which I feel (though it was unintended) do something to acknowledge the trans women of color who made this month of Pride for queer and trans people possible

The key thing that makes minority pride different from majority pride is that society tells minorities that they should be ashamed of being such. For instance, this month is what many people consider Autism Awareness Month, where people are donating and corporations are going to make partnerships with an organization which had an ad which depicted my neurology as a sinister force that breaks up marriages, bankrupts our families, robs families and children of their dreams, and many other fucked up things (back when I wrote autism stuff I wrote this article on autism acceptance, our movement this month). Autism $peaks controls the narrative of autism, even Trump will be lighting the White House up blue (though nobody is surprised considering that he also thinks we’re broken).

A$ wants us down, to be ashamed and feel like we should be cured. Being proud of being autistic in the face of that narrative which is a constant bombardment year round but becomes the focus this month is total defiance.

For minorities, being out and proud of ourselves can actually be extremely dangerous as well. Yesterday was Trans Day of Visibility, but many of my trans friends talked about how being visible is a privilege, a fact that the murder rates of trans people show. In a much lesser effect I was personally targeted by someone for my internet activism with a video (much much much lesser, the video was utterly ineffectual as were the two after it which had screenshots of my page, but it did make me realize that if he had a larger audience or I had more personal information I would be fucked).

And of course, being proud and open about who we are always gets people running to shut us down and tell us to stop. There’s always someone there to ask why not straight pride, why not white or men’s history month (as someone who studies ancient cultures and some historical stuff, I can tell you that most history is about and written by white men so having 30 days where we put some effort in recognizing the history of people who aren’t that is hardly much to ask). These people are coming to in effect silence our voices, not allowing us to speak and be proud of ourselves by asking when we do it (and only when we do it, it’s always a refutation never starting it themselves, making it obvious that their point isn’t to have pride in themselves but to silence us) why can’t they do it as well.

But if you’re having pride in being the majority, it doesn’t have those aspects. Being proud of being white or straight and making movements of such doesn’t have any rebellion in it, any defiance, but is taking pride in your privilege in this system. It’s taking pride in that which gives you power over us based on how this structure of oppression works, and that’s what makes it so much of a problem. We’re doing it as an act of defiance claiming what makes us devalued by the system and rebelling against that which tries to keep us down, while those who take pride in being the majority are celebrating the power they have by doing so.

Right now, standing up is hard. Being proud in the face of such oppressive forces that would rather us be gone is making trying to exist a challenge. But I feel like now it’s more important than ever to stand and be ourselves, be defiant in the face of oppression if we can, especially because there are so many who can’t safely. The need to call for acceptance and to make people accept us by being impossible to ignore is ever greater the harder it is, and I don’t have any easy answers on how to do that or how to manage the pushback. To all my fellow Outcast, all I can really say is that I stand by your side. I wish there was more.

Want to actually help autistics? Please donate to The Autistic Self Advocacy Network here

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.

Who are you fighting for?: on intersectionality

 

black women at the march: im scared that law enforcement will kill me and my family will not receive justice. undocumented/latinx women at the march: im scared that myself and or my families will be forcefully removed from this country. native women at the march: im scared for our planet and its natural resources that will be exploited and gutted in tbe name of american energy. trans women at the march: im afraid i’ll be stripped of the right to access life saving medical services from planned parenthood cis white women at the march: WOOOOOOHOOOOO PUSSY GRABS BACK!!!!! PUSSYPUSSYPUSSYPUSSY patriarchy is a DICK haha GET IT???!!!?? MEN!! Dicks!! HAHAHAHA #PUSSYHATPROJECT PUSSTPUSSSYYYYY VIVA LA VULVA :)))(( OK LADIES NOW lets GET IN FORMATION PUSSSSYYY pUSSYGRABS BACK RAWRRRR XDDDDD

So, I’m in the middle of writing another article that’s focusing on my experience as an autistic activist but I felt that this was actually vastly more important because it’s an issue that everyone needs to think about if they’re going to call themselves someone going against Trump.

Recently we had the women’s march against Trump, and while it was an amazing worldwide show of solidarity for some, spanning every continent including Antarctica, it wasn’t solidarity for everyone. All the things mentioned in the picture, the issues that black, indigenous, undocumented, and trans women have, were drowned out by the majority. Many trans women, rightfully so, felt extremely excluded by the insinuation that having a vagina is tantamount to womanhood.

However, I’m a queer autistic and pass as a guy (used to say I’m a guy but now realize I’m nonbinary so editing the article to not give myself dysphoria), so that won’t be my focus, for two reasons: one, I’m not a trans woman, and two…both the queer and autistic communities have a very similar issue with representation of other minorities and the issues that happen when different minorities intersect. For that I would 100% recommend reading Why Say “This Pussy Grabs Back” When You Can Just Say “I’m A TERF and A Generally Shitty Person” (TERF means Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, it refers to the subsection of feminism that focuses on women with vaginas and ignores everyone else, and that’s exactly what all those hats and signs did, to the great detriment of a lot of the women the march claimed to be for).

This is a major issue, and one that needs to be addressed, now more than ever now that the current regime is creating new and greater threats to us all.

I must confess that pre-Trump I didn’t extremely think about these things much. Thanks to multiple issues the autistic community mostly consists of white guys (there’s major race and gender barriers to diagnosis) and being white and AMAB I had the privilege to not be extremely concerned with those problems.

This isn’t an excuse, but is a mistake that I’m owning up to and am trying to correct because while I have the ability to be ignorant of these issues, people are suffering and quite probably dying because of these failures of the system. A simple example that comes to mind is cop killings: it is known that police killing unarmed innocent black people is a major issue, and also that autistic people have been shot and killed by police while in meltdown.

If you think about how these might intersect, you get some pretty horrific ramifications, especially if you consider all autistics your kin as I do. However, this issue isn’t something that you’ll find any information about because non-white non-male autistics are basically invisible.

In the Trump era, where oppression of all Outcast is getting more extreme, this is no longer acceptable (arguably, it never fucking was, but now more than ever).

In response to the picture shared, I saw an white cis autistic woman autistic activist lash out against a trans autistic woman crying “but I am also oppressed!”

This is true, but part of being an intersectional activist is recognizing all the struggles that the people of your community face…and that means every minority.

If my autistic activism neglects trans autistics, queer autistics, autistic women, or autistic people of any color, then I’m doing it wrong.

And if I ignore these different types of autistics, I’m contributing to their oppression by being silent about it instead of speaking out, because my article on tolerance of hate speech doesn’t stop being relevant if you’re an Outcast yourself.

Did the Women’s March fail as a sign of defiance against Trump? I guess not. But when you’re being an activist, it’s important to not just think about who you’re fighting against but also who you’re fighting for. That’s where the March failed. It stood up against oppression of a small subset of the women it claimed to be for, and in doing so reinforced the oppressive systems that harm everyone else. Those hats completely invalidated every woman that didn’t have a vagina, which created a literally global sign that trans women aren’t considered women, which hurt them a lot.

In the wake of Trump’s regime, I feel like fighting for just autistics and focusing on autistic issues isn’t adequate. The Outcast need to fight for each other, to hold each other’s struggles as our own, I seriously think that’s the best way to make it so as many of us as possible make it through these next four years. When I first had the notion for The Outcast Army, it was an idea in my Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers group, and I was debating on whether or not to make it autistic-only like AAA-V or for all those who are threatened by Trump (no allies still), and I decided to make it intersectional because I realized that we need to fight as one and fight for each other, not expecting people to discard their own struggles at the door but to support each other in the face of this threat. People are going to say things that make you uncomfortable like the picture, but that’s an opportunity to think about the reality that the person is speaking about, not a time to shut them down. Fight against Trump, but fight for all those who are under threat, not just you, because that’s really the only chance we have.

-Laoch Onórach

By our side or out of our way: on conditional allies

“No I don’t want to wait

I know a better way

So come on step aside or better yet just go away

Our chance has finally come there might not be another one now

No we’re not gonna wait”

The Great Die-Off, Rise Against

alienate-allies

In the past, before Trump, I wrote nicely, things like We Are Not or You Have The Choice. I quoted song lyrics, my version of echolalia. I was polite, never swore or offended, was articulate and academic.

My goal back then was to reach out to people and get allies. In that time my enemy was a narrative of autism being a bad thing, and my goal was to touch people’s hearts and minds to turn them away from that narrative. I had the ability and the necessity to spend the emotional labor on the feelings of my readers.

I don’t have that ability anymore, and I’m coming to realize that the people who I can actually count on having my back don’t need it.

If you’re not living under a rock, you know that the ACA is under threat of being repealed, which as I have mentioned before means that a lot of disabled people are going to die. Less known is that Trump is thinking about creating a committee on autism, which might be headed by a known anti-vaxxer who thinks vaccines cause autism like Trump does. The stigma that could come from a government committee that thinks our neurology is, to quote Trump, “doctor-inflicted,” is something that my mind rebels at the thought of.

I, like the rest of the Outcast, no longer have the ability to kowtow to the feelings of others. I don’t have the headspace to spare for being acceptable anymore.

This is a war against oppression (hence creating the rage and action group for those affected by Trump that this blog is a platform for, The Outcast Army), a war with Nazis, a war against a kyriarchy that is poised to actually take many more lives.

 If you think that you’re important enough for Outcast to spend emotional labor on you if you can’t stand by us in this war no matter what we say, you vastly overestimate your self-worth, because I no longer have the time, patience, or emotional capability to do that.

So, be by our side, no matter what, or get out of our way. True solidarity with Outcast isn’t based on getting congratulations for doing a good job but on the idea that we don’t deserve to be hated, that we are equal. We are hurting and we should be able to express that pain without your defense. We shouldn’t have to watch our tone and calm down when our people are fucking dying.

If you disagree with this, “step aside or better yet just go away.” All I care about is who will have my back when it’s against the wall like it is now, no matter what, and nobody whose allyship is conditional on me spending emotional labor and headspace that I don’t have to watch my tone around them is worth it. I only need people who I know will be there for me, who will be by my side not in the name of their feelings but in the name of human decency. We’re fighting now, and whether or not you’re going to stand by the Outcast fully or not is up to you and your views on whether or not we deserve to hurt and deserve support for our humanity, not us.