It’s Not About You: On Performative Allyship

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

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

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

I Want to Conquer the World, Bad Religion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Performative allies expect great commendation for minimal labor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Violence, Rise Against

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.