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

Call to Action for Californians to support the disabled and elderly

State Capitol building

Wednesday of last week I went down to a budget hearing for In-home Supportive Services (IHSS). This is the program that provides elderly and disabled people care in their homes and it’s currently facing a $623 million cut. The article following is one written by myself and another Outcast Shelby Munsch for the organization that we work with and that I went down to the capitol with here in Sonoma County that covers what happened at the hearing, however the most important thing you can do is contact the members of the budget subcommittee here (link goes to a list of each member and allows you to contact each of them) and Governor Jerry Brown here asking them to oppose the $623 million cut on IHSS. They will be meeting again, it used to be next Wednesday but is unknown at the moment, if you’re in Sonoma County and would like to come down with them next time, would like more information, or would like to volunteer with a wonderful organization that is working to make change in many ways for people in this county, please email me at valothoros@gmail.com, it would be greatly appreciated.

(Another issue currently facing disabled people not just in the State but nationally is a bill that threatens the ADA, a law that forces businesses to provide ramps for wheelchairs and other things to make businesses accessible to disabled people. Please click this link to contact your representatives and tell them to stop this bill from setting us back even farther.)

Before public comment two panels of speakers presented. The first panel from the Department of Finance claimed that the $623 million dollars was not a “cut,” and that no recipient would see any difference in their care. However, every other speaker from people who would actually be harmed by the cut, both the public comment and panelists, gave a very different story about how much of a disaster it represented.
Matt Cate from the California State Association of Counties said all counties believe the CCI was good, helped people and saved money, and that they’re concerned with the $623 million shift, that it would be a devastating hit on counties which aren’t doing as well (Silicon Valley and Southern CA experienced growth, but the rest of the state did not and that it would be a devastating hit on counties which aren’t doing as well (Silicon Valley and Southern CA experienced growth, but the rest of the state did not). Program growth, from more people needing IHSS, would cause the costs to as much as triple. The counties are not prepared to handle the program cost growth. As a final note, he also said the unions should bargain with the state as a whole rather than with each county.
Other panelists, including Frank Mecca, the Executive Director of the County Welfare Directors Association and Karen Keeslar of the California Association of Public Authorities spoke out about how the cut would not only adversely affect IHSS but also other vital county programs like child welfare and mental health. Tia Orr, the Government Relations Director with SEIU, stated that “the government’s actions will cause holes in our system we’ll never be able to overcome.”
When public comment came multiple speakers from the organization I went with spoke about how the program affected them and also mentioned how if the state can manage to give $48 million in tax breaks a year and give Lockheed Martin and Disney a total combined amount of $696 million in subsidies, they can probably handle the $623 million to support the elderly and disabled people in this state. Personally, the choice between supporting the disabled or Disney is an easy one, but apparently to some it’s complex.

I personally spoke as a disability activist telling them that, “The situation for disabled people in the United States is incredibly bleak, not only with the Affordable Care Act that many disabled people, including many of my friends, rely on to survive under threat but also with Sessions and DeVos both being against the IDEA, the law which provides us our accommodations in school. While you can’t do anything to change that on the national level, what you can do to help disabled people is to oppose this cut that affects the lives of many disabled people in the state.”
In addition to our representatives, a range of members from other organizations spoke. Representatives from almost every county spoke against being forced to come up with the funding. A representative from Congress of California, Senios, said that bankrupting the counties would be shortsighted. Multiple representatives from unions called for the collective bargaining program to be expanded statewide, instead of being entirely removed. Several IHSS workers and recipients also spoke about how important the program has been to their lives.
After all speeches from the public, the panelists got up to speak again, and the Assembly members questioned them. They asked about the Department of Finance’s plan for handling the negative effect on the counties. The Department of Finance director reinforced that this “is not a cut,” and that they’re “willing to work with counties to mitigate the costs.” He said, “The boards have basically had a half billion dollars of ‘good times’” to which many audience members scoffed. Assembly member Blanca E. Rubio (D from Baldwin Park) asked how they would do this, and if they had times scheduled to meet with the county representatives. He said they would be coordinating with them soon. She criticized him multiple times for not answering the questions in an upfront way, and emphasized that they’re dealing with real people’s’ lives. The other guy said, “Right now, there’s no potential solution from the administration.” She thanked him for at least being honest.
Devon J. Mathis, a Republican from Visalia, said the counties should be “entitled to another two weeks to mull it over,” and “that they should be able to know that their families are taken care of without fear.”
Joaquin Arambula, the chair of the committee, said, “I agree with all of the testimony given today. I find it unconscionable to cut the whole safety net. There are many hard working IHSS workers helping our communities. I thank you for coming and adding your testimony. We are in troubling times in the government today…We are going to have many hurdles to take… I have concerns, which is why our staff has done so much work on this…” He said he couldn’t call a vote because they didn’t have enough committee members and they would reconvene to vote on this topic on March 22nd (since has been changed to some future date unknown at this time). He asked us (i.e. the audience) to come back at that time.

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.

I will not fade

neurodiv-antifa

Credit to Cassandra Oakdown. You can also look at her Redbubble shop here. (Neurodiv stands for Neurodivergent). If you want to buy products with the logo check here (available products shows the range of items)

 

The reactions to my On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20 article were diverse. I inspired some as was my goal, but there were some people who responded with the dangerous call for peace.

Now, I could tell you that You Are Not The Target Audience of the protests, or how it’s a total myth. On my Facebook I made post after post about the systematic reasons for why the system makes it so literally the only way to get attention by the media is to smash a window.I also linked to this article about how MLK was a disruptor because people love to misquote him to shame protesters.

And that explains the logic but not why I’m so actively mentioning it and happy to see my fellow Outcast doing it.

Disabled activism has always been in the background, despite us being the largest minority. The only time autism is ever mentioned in the media it’s after a white person does a shooting and then it’s offered as a throwaway reason for why he may have done it. Even in this election when autism and vaccines were part of Trump’s, Clinton’s, and Stein’s platforms, it was still pushed to the side.

I accepted it, even though it made everything seem futile. We weren’t actively being legislated against based on our disability, our fight was always a narrative, one which I aimed to debunk every claim I could think of in my article We Are Not.

I was academic, aiming towards my readers’ minds and was nice, aiming to inform and be as uncontroversial as possible.

Now, it’s war, and I’m no longer accepting it.

The threats to my kin involve Nazis and the President, who is thinking about creating an anti-vaxxer committee on us and whose picks for the heading the Department of Education and the Attorney General are both against the laws that protect disabled students, in addition to signing an executive order saying he seeks a swift repeal to the ACA that is keeping many disabled people, including the guy I love, alive.

He’s also literally a fascist.

Most recently his spokesperson created the Orwellian term “alternative facts”, which all of us should be recognizing as simply lies.

To paraphrase a poem, I refuse to go gently into the good night but shall rage, rage against the dying of the light.

I shall do what I can to fight and be visible and will stand by my fellow Outcast in their actions to do the same, because we didn’t create the system that values broken windows over broken lives.

We shall fight tooth and nail to survive this dark era, and I and other disability activists aren’t going to fade away with our lives under threat. We shall not seek peace with our oppressors, and those who expect us to be peaceful and fade enable those who would seek us gone. Fascists have never been defeated by kind words, and this time will be no different. We’re standing up and fighting back, whether that means smashing windows or punching Nazis (as the link says, we can always punch Nazis). By our side or out of our way, it matters not. We’re pushing forward no matter what. We can do nothing else.

-Laoch Onórach

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

On wings of fire and broken glass we shall rise: #DisruptJ20

(This article is dedicated to all those who participated in protests today especially those who suffered doing so. May your fight just be the first blow.)

Today started with a pall over my heart and mind.

Today is the day of Trump’s inauguration, when everyone who told us to wait and see will finally be silent as the world goes down.

The hits have continuously come, from the ACA (the thing that kept the guy I love along with many disabled people alive) to the ramifications of Betsy DeVos running the department of education (big issue for me, as thanks to those laws my parents were able to get the public school district to pay for Anova, the school for autistics that I went to…they weren’t able to provide me the education that I had the right to under the IDEA [the law that both the attorney general pick and her are against…in interest of showing just how dire the attorney general is beyond just the IDEA I’m sharing Samantha Bee’s video on him] so they had to pay for the other school, which taught me how to deal with the neurotypical world and quite literally saved my life. With the law gone or altered, that path would no longer exist) to learning that Trump plans to cut 25 violence against women programs…a darkness of hopelessness and defeat cast a shadow over me.

But then I saw…the picture. I saw signs from protesters of defiance and rebellion, saw pictures from my friends on the East Coast of the people rising up at the inauguration, articles about anti-fascist protesters at the DeploraBALL, riots and broken windows (just like MLK would have wanted), and now I have a fire in my heart burning away the darkness.

The symbol that I created (well, I had the idea for, my friend actually brought it to life) for The Outcast Army, the rage and action group for the marginalized people affected by Trump (and this blog, which I’m hoping will become a platform for other Outcast voices as well…no allies, but anyone who is under threat please feel free to join, solidarity is strength) is an angry fist rising from a broken heart and today exemplified this spirit.Yes, we are hurting, but we aren’t giving up. We’re rising up, and today was just the beginning.

Trump and your minions, you may take the rights of the Outcast with your regime, may take our very lives, but you will not take our spirits.

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. If you kill one of us we will mourn and then fight even harder in their name. We will not suffer quietly, we shall make you pay for every inch you take. We will not go gently into the night, but we will light the night on fire. The cries of Trump, his supporters, and the enablers of their hatred for peaceful protest (which is a myth) will not silence us, as we didn’t create the environment that makes it so the news will only pay attention to protests involving property damage because our society values property over people.

We will not stand by as you push the boundaries of immorality, as your decisions and your appointees erode what rights we have. We shall disrupt, not just today but for the next 4 years.

Today was the first protest of the new regime, but it will not be the last. Our flame will burn ever stronger in defiance of the darkness. We won’t go without a fight.

-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.

No, you don’t have the right to your opinion: on tolerance for bigotry as “free speech”

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Hate Speech is not Free Speech

“You have the right to your opinion.”

This phrase is everywhere in our culture. People trot out the first amendment (though people misunderstand what it means), quote “Voltaire” saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (was actually from his biographer), and it’s always mentioned any time someone decides to speak out against intolerant speech.

People argue that we need to respect all views as equal, that maybe people may have a reason for their bigotry, something that makes their hatred valid. Maybe they’re not actually saying the hateful thing they said no matter how obvious it is.

That’s wrong, morally so.

I already posted once on how I blame tolerance of intolerance for Trump winning. In the end I said:

We need to combat the hateful and protect the Outcast under threat, actually act against the hatred with our words and our feet, they are now actually attacking people countrywide in large numbers. We didn’t rise up then, but we need to now.

Instead I quite often see people do this stuff…I’ve dealt with it twice personally. The first time was a response to my article Tell Me I’m Exaggerating (CW: Inhuman hatred towards autistics, eugenics, swearing). In that, I share where a woman told me “Science WILL find away (sic) to abort autistic people. This is what we are moving towards,” after she told me that autism was a horror show and telling me that I wasn’t “(autistic, autistic)”, a common tactic to silence autistic adults by telling us that because we can talk and explain stuff we’re not autistic and don’t know what we’re talking about. This was an event that had me shaking with rage and shock for days after (and as I write this, to be quite honest) as I didn’t expect it to happen (especially on that speech) and I didn’t realize that people would be so vile, advocating eugenics, to my face.

I shared it on my page and someone started trying to find some nuance of “maybe she meant that people will be able to choose to abort.” This was extremely invalidating (when people are hurt, the best idea isn’t actually to find why they may be wrong), as well as complete nonsense based on the context clues that even I could see (I’m admittedly not always the best at that).

The second time was more recent, when I shared this article about Ann Coulter tweeting “14!”, something that relates to white supremacy (considering her words in the past, it’s quite understandable why the responses from my friends, especially my non-white friends, were quite unsurprised, saying that we already knew this). In response, someone started looking for other reasons for this and found something that was mentioned and countered within the article itself.

Here’s the thing: Devils neither need nor deserve advocates.

Hate speech is harmful. Views of degradation and bigotry towards the oppressed and Outcast hurt. Being told we’re subhuman, that we’re going to hell, that how we were born was wrong, that we’re horror shows, is seriously damaging and happens all the time. It causes fear that we may get even worse from these people, especially when it’s actual threats like the woman who was told that she’d be lit on fire if she wore her hijab. It traps us in a cage of fear for our safety and not knowing who thinks that or wants us to be hurt or dead. It inflicts emotional trauma that these people think we deserve for our existence. Their speech takes away our freedom to be ourselves.

But you know what just adds to that hurt?

You who do this.

Each time you say this stuff, if you tell us any of the things that I mentioned, what you’re saying is that they have a right to say stuff that hates us. They deserve to be able to think that stuff about us, to think that our existence is morally wrong or deserving of suffering or just overall lesser. You’re saying that you’ll defend to the death the voices of people who want to hurt us, to kill us, to cause emotional pain solely because of how we were born (and yes I mentioned Muslims and am saying the way you’re born [considering it as racism], as let’s be completely honest here, when people call Muslims evil, they’re thinking about people from the Middle East and equating the two, it’s no coincidence that every time someone who looks Arab is involved in a terrorist attack everyone says they’re automatically Muslim). You’re looking for reasons to justify people thinking or saying that we are unequal to humanity, and saying we’re bad to defend our right to exist. When we’re feeling hurt, instead of caring about our feelings and standing by us, you rush to find alternate reasons for what the people who hurt us did to tell us we’re wrong to feel that way, to invalidate us. Beyond that, you enable this hatred to continue by deciding to silence us by letting those who feel these ways about us to keep speaking and bringing suffering to us. You choose to stand with our oppressors and their right to cause us suffering over our right to exist freely. You’d rather give them the benefit of the doubt than give us the benefit of your trust, care, and validation.

We notice this, and your choices to do this makes you just as great as a threat to our lives because when it comes down to impact, you have shown that, while you might not say those things, you’d much rather stand by their hatred than support us against them. By not standing against the system of oppression you help it continue. You normalize it, treat it as something that should exist no matter what harm it causes, no matter what stigma it might perpetuate. You let us know that when our backs are against the wall we should distrust you just as much as them because that’s when you’ll go to their side.

Nobody has the right to hate others, to cause harm, and now that this hatred is happening more and more, it’s time to start condemning it. If you don’t, we know where you stand.

-Laoch Onórach

Why did Trump win? My theory

We need to own up to how we made this happen, shatter the image of us being innocent and always in the right.

When this question is asked, the answers are many and contradictory.

Some say the third party voters.

Others, the ones that didn’t vote.

Others blame the electoral college, or say that it was just the fault of Trump voters.

Some very special people say that we didn’t address the issues of the poor disenfranchised white people who voted for Trump (that’s never going to fly with me. He built his campaign on hatred of all the Outcast, talked more about his hatred than he did his policies…they might not like the system as it was, but neither did I…that’s not an excuse for voting for someone that only articulated his hatred…especially with all that I mentioned in Wait and see? Really? happening).

I have a different thought though.

Trump shouldn’t have won, and he and his hatred shouldn’t have got that far into the race in the first place.

Why did it?

It’s not the left, the right, the third parties…it’s us.

Hatred grows if it’s unchallenged, and as a society we didn’t do that.

When people uttered homophobic slurs, we said they had the right to their opinion.

When people made racist remarks, we told ourselves that maybe they had a reason for their bigotry, as if anything could actually justify it.

We didn’t stand as one against transphobic bathroom bills.

When black people were trying to call out and show that according to this system their lives didn’t matter, as shooting after shooting was recorded as undeniable evidence that this was happening, that black people were being killed by cops without just cause and when white people can get out from jail after 6 months for rape, we created movements that said all lives matter and closed our ears and eyes to all that evidence to the contrary when it comes to the system and how it treats different races.

We put less of a focus on over ten women coming forward saying that he sexually assaulted them and he said he feels it’s fine to do that if you’re rich (basically, a he said/she said the exact same thing) than on his opponent’s emails.

…and you ignored when he over and over repeated the myth of us autistics being vaccine-injured, called us “doctor-inflicted”, a narrative that considers us subhuman and broken.

We did these things over and over. We as a people may not have said the hateful remarks, but not challenging it, letting it grow by saying it’s an opinion not hate, defending their remarks, telling defenders of truth to back off (something I have done and regret), is just as bad as actually spreading it yourself. If you don’t stand up to injustice you’re complicit in it.

In our lack of vigilance and combat of this hatred, it festered and grew until it became the President. Now that he’s elected, we must do better. We need to combat the hateful and protect the Outcast under threat, actually act against the hatred with our words and our feet, they are now actually attacking people countrywide in large numbers. We didn’t rise up then, but we need to now.

-Laoch Onórach