Pick a side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time to pick a side.

Us or them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of days ago something truly beautiful happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refuting Respectability: The Amorality and Tyranny of Respectability Politics

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

The First Drop, Rise Against

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Especially now, in this new regime.

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

A Red Rage #RedInstead

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

Re-Education (Through Labor), Rise Against

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I refuse to do that any longer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And if and when we do?

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

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

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

Will you?


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

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