Friday, February 12, 2016

Things at Autism Events that Make Me Uncomfortable

This post is inspired by an Autism Speaks walk & an Autism Society of Oregon "adult" conference several years ago).

-Parents with adult offspring talking for and about them while they stand right there mortified.

-Obviously sensory unfriendly surroundings (loud thuddy music? really?)

-Cognitive dissonance on full display--Lee Grossman & other CEOs who talk about 'these kids' at events ostensibly about adults? I'm looking at you.

-Being the only person to call people on their bullshit.

-Being scolded for this.

-Being thanked privately for this. What the fuck.

-The double standard for autistics & allistics.

-Grossly inappropriate cure the kids! talks at 'adult' conferences.

-Erasing of adults who are likely to be pushed into the cracks (you know, those of us who speak & can make you think we know things).

-Assumption that we have Ability A because we can do Task X.

-Being expected to be a universal translator.

-Being erased because I'm cute, female, and athletic.

-Parent-centered everything.

-Being hit on. A lot. Persistently. When I say not interested. Ad nauseum.

-Scaremongering, from anyone.

-The looks I get for taking care of my sensory needs.

-Being talked to like a toddler.

-Allistic professionals' continued insistence that their Unethical Treatment is ok & browbeating me to try to get me to agree.

-The continued pressure to cede my voice in autism issues because as an autistic person I clearly don't know what I need or want.

This was initially written in 2010. The only thing that has changed is Lee Grossman isn't still the CEO of Autism Society.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"You're a skilled archer. Why do you have a stalker?"

Content notes: this discusses stalking & other boundary violations. It also discusses systemic issues that allow that. There are pictures, including a picture of a vaguely torso shaped thing with arrows in. 

This week has been weird and basically the last semi-normal thing I remember from this weekend is being asked the title question on Saturday morning, so I am going to give context. And then I am going to answer said question.

Context the first:

I brought this target to archery, like one does, because I'd just heard from a long time very unwanted internet harasser. Again.

a blue 'A' and an orange 'W' glued together. the words NAME REDACTED just a creepy sad little stalker are on the A, followed by 2000-still on the W

It's the initials of said long time very unwanted internet harasser, with my editorial comments, including the words "creepy sad little stalker".

So. Then the question was asked: "you're a skilled archer. Why do you have a stalker?"

This is my blog! Let me tell you why! (general you. You, the reader. Assuming you don't already know why).

The flip answer is "because I live in Oregon. Stalker lives in Florida. No one is that skilled" but there's also actual a lot of systemic junk that matters in a serious conversation about such things.

This is going to need to start, again, with context, going back to when I was an unjaded, barely cynical little baby K just jumping into the world of advocacy. Back when I didn't think self advocate was patronizing and silencing. Back when I thought if I was smiley and adorable enough, people would suddenly see the humanity in me and in their kids.

Yes, really, this was an era that existed.

So. To understand why I have someone persistently contacting me even though I told him to fuck off, you need to know why he fucked on. Back in the early AOL days, when we were just kids--there's an 14 month age difference or so, and all the safety stuff back in the day was "make sure you aren't actually talking to a creepy adult who preys on kids." It was not "some of the boys you are friends with who are your age will grow up to be scary when you diverge in fundamental views." No one told me that. People to this day actively avoid telling girls that.

Way way back in the day, creepy sad little stalker and I were friends. He is autistic. I am autistic. We were exploring this whole world of autistic community and autism community. But our views started diverging pretty drastically; I grew into a hardline neurodiversity activist. He grew into someone who whines about how autism ruined his life and he wants a cure.

This is mutually incompatible, no? So I started withdrawing contact because I do not need in my life supposed friends who think that people like me are lesser. I don't really need friends who think they are lesser either. I didn't have the terms "spoons" or "emotional labor" then. I did have words for things like "I know you think we're destined to be together even though I don't understand your logic, but no we aren't not even a little" and "leave me alone" and "I'm not having this conversation" and "go away." I started pulling away, saying "leave me alone", at the turn of the century.

In 2005 creepy sad stalker crashed an actual line. While before that it had been a lot of "he makes me uncomfortable", for reasons I will get into later in this post that didn't really matter to anyone. Him showing up at the ASA 2005 conference with the stated goal of getting in my pants did. That is a line that most people will acknowledge is a line. Following me around trying to get me isolated? A line that more people notice.

(not entirely relevant but also not entirely irrelevant is that ASA 2005 was right at the beginning of my span of time spent very critically ill. So he was creeping on a tired, sick, dropping weight very fast K. That's relevant in the nuances, but not the big picture maybe?)

After that it was a big hard nope we cannot at all be even vaguely friendly. I spent an entire conference clinging to safe people because creepy sad stalker was making me feel unsafe. A couple times a year he still sends me an email that's a mix of "I'm sorry but here let me give you excuses and also say things that are meant to sound intimidating".

"You're a skilled archer. Why do you have a stalker?"

the back of a female presenting person with long braided dark brown hair. She is pulling an arrow on a left handed recurve bow and her back is to the camera. her jacket is black and says EVERDEEN on it, letter jacket style. The letters are in an arc above a large number 12

I think that about covers the how I picked up a stalker. As for the skilled archer part? I've known how to shoot forever, but in the late 90s and early 2000s that barely registered on "important parts of my identity". So even if my ability to hit things with projectiles was going to be a factor--and it probably wasn't--other things were much more prominent in the list of things that make me, me.

Skilled gymnast? Yes. Fearless advocate? Yep. Funny in the words? Yeah. Made of eyes and Princess Leia buns? Uhhuh. Great with kids? Sure. Weirdly flexible? Actually not so much because I didn't realize what normal was at the time. On the internet, the aspects of you that you find salient are how you are known, and "oh, I did horseback archery and stationary archery for a few summers" weren't ever part of the conversation. I was too busy flying, or telling people that no really your kid is fine, I promise, you better believe I'll babysit, behold, your kid adores me.

...some things never change. A lot of those things, really.

So now the question becomes "why do you still have a stalker?"

There's a lot of answers to that question.

First, because of the distance. Sad creep and I are on different coasts. Police forces have not heard of airplanes apparently. Indeed, their go to suggestion when people are being scary on the internet is "hang up your computer". Not to suggest that the offender should maybe leave people the fuck alone. No one wants to handle it. I have called this guy's parents--he's 30 and a bit--because of how many fucks police don't give. Not like his parents cared either, because he is made of excuses.

Second, let's be real here: there are gender issues (and race issues, though in my case they're largely intertwined--people expect super compliant lady stuff from me because of my race. That is not and has never been me). He sends me whiny pants messages about how his disabilities mean he can't not be a douche and wraps them around "and let me tell you how much I can bench or whatever because I decided to try to do a sport and oh let me say again that I can lift way however much". That's an intimidation tactic. It's also so accepted for men to do that no one cares. They tell me that maybe he's trying to impress me.

Whereas when I post a picture of the destroyed target, I have to be careful to not use one that could be taken as a threat. Men try to impress women, but women who can take care of themselves are threatening and scary, I guess? The natural order of things is that I'm scared of him? Turning it around by actually having skills, and advertising them, is not. If I was a dude, advertising would be fair warning, but since I am not, it's being threatening. Nevermind that he's the one sending me things that sound like intimidation. Not being intimidated is a bigger issue.

And then there's the thing no one wants to talk about:

We're both autistic. Now, people are quick to tell me that he can't be held to any standards at all because he's autistic. That he cannot understand that a very clear "fuck off, never talk to me again, I mean never, let me call your dad to explain it to you what 'never' means" message means exactly that. He has poor social skills, because autism. He's a lonely sad self pitying sack of crap because autism. He has fixated on me because autism. No expectations of decency or fucking right off allowed.

However, I am autistic too. And people expect me to coddle him because I should know what it's like. Because apparently I have magic angel powers or something. Because by not telling him to fuck off when I was 16 somehow I gave him an in to fixate on me until the end of time. Because he can be a creep, but defending myself is kicking a puppy. A puppy with adult skills I do not have, no less. But gender roles dictate that I should nurture him or be gentle or whatever. Then his not understanding gentle (or rude. Or ignoring. Or anything) is still my fault, because autistic women can't win.

So that's why I'm a skilled archer with a stalker. The archery is largely irrelevant except where using it could get me in big, terrible trouble. Society is set up to coddle his wee little feelings, to encourage him to be creepy and scary, particularly at people like me.

Image is a dark haired light medium skinned female presenting person with a black tank top, blue jeans, pigtail buns, and glasses. She's holding a bow and wearing a quiver on her thigh & an arm guard on the arm. The bow is empty because she just released; her right arm is out straight, holding the bow, and her left hand is still just in front of her left ear.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The input The Mighty asked for but has given no indication of wanting

The Mighty thinks they want a conversation. Now. After being called out literally from day one about their problematic ableism and centering of the same voices we always hear and inspiration porn.

 Okay. So. Here's the deal, The Mighty.

You've set off some fucking BEAUTIFUL PTSD because you can't even step in & say "not all coping mechanisms are ok, actually". I mean, you should really have someone catching "huh, this actually isn't ok to say about people who aren't yourself, especially not publicly" but then you wouldn't have content. That's the majority of your content.

 But by following that line, by not drawing a line (and yes, you DO need to do so explicitly, and you need to enforce it on your social media presence and on your blog, both comments and submissions) you are saying to disabled people, MANY of whom are abuse survivors that since it was done by parents and caregivers it was ok.

 That is the space you are holding. A safe space for abusers. That doesn't mean you are all abusers, so let go of your pearls. You asked for my input now actually listen. Prove me wrong. I think you're disingenuous as hell, & I'm almost never wrong. Be the exception.

You need to promote disabled authors, assuming there are any left who will work with you. Particularly multiply marginalized authors. And you need to PAY THEM. Not just the feel good inspiration porn saccharine crap. You are all "well that's real though" when parents use your site to humiliate their kids. Why is it not "well that's real though" when we're raw and honest with you?

 I want an actual answer but, again, I don't have any illusions here, if you cared to stop fucking up you would have done so long ago.

 The moment for the conversation is well before the castle is on fire, kids, & you're running to the innermost keep.

Spaces that are doing it right? Are spaces that make your primary demographic (paaaaaarents, face it. You cater to paaaaaarents. Not people who happen to have produced a child with a disability. Parents who act like their child is an imposition done at them because the world hates them, woe unto them) sad pants. That reflects badly on the culture you promote.

What's fucking hilarious? You've repeatedly refused to even read things I've written (including the thing literally everyone wants to reprint). But if you knew me in my Secret Identity as a gymnastics coach & judge, former gymnast, dancer, martial artist, and archer you'd wet yourself trying to write up what an "inspiration" I am. I'm not a person to you either way (isn't this lack of illusion and lies refreshing?) but you'd be looking to dehumanize me the other way.

Your formula is transparent. You should be embarrassed.

You need to reach out to radical people even though they make you sad. YOU need to grow here. We have been yelling at the brick wall that is you for ages. Now you need to cleanse.

Or you can, like, dismantle. Or at least be HONEST and label yourself as The Central Repository of Inspiration Porn and Martyr Parent Stories.

But this is NOT in my name, and you pretending it is is insulting.

I don't think you are sincere & I don't think you'll respond to this, or any of the other criticism in a meaningful way. Prove me wrong.


Incidentally, this post is a $500 value at my typical rates at your billing scheme. Rates are calculated based on number of words, number of times I had to go back and delete because people can't cope with people not kissing their ass, how big a pain in the ass the client is, how presumptuous they are, and how disingenuous I think they are. I know you won't pay me, but just thought you should know how much you're demanding for free.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

survivors matter more than abusers. behave accordingly.

Today would have been my dead mother's 57th birthday (oops! 59th! Clearly I'm mostly fine since I no longer exactly remember) if she hadn't loved cigarettes more than anything else (her words). I'm actually fine. But damn are people full of terrible things to say to people who've gone no contact with parents.

I see the sympathy when I talk about my parents. I hear you say the platitudes. In theory, all the right words (not necessarily the right words for me, but the words a book would tell you are the right ones). You get uncomfortable because you should. But then comes the part where you start screwing up. Then come the 'buts'.

"But you'll miss her when she's dead."
"But she was doing her best."
"Honor your father and mother."
"Well maybe your stepdad was abusing her too, have some sympathy."
"You may not regret cutting her off now, but you will."
"What if someone felt they needed to cut you off for their safety? Would that be fair?"
"She's your mother."

These are at best misguided awkward things people who want everything to be peachy and shiny say. At worst they are intentional barbs. But they are not the right thing to say.

No, I don't miss her. I am profoundly relieved. I don't care if she was doing her best--if that was her best it wasn't good enough. If I am "doing my best" and drop a kid on their head, it wasn't good enough, but a lifetime subscription to Nightmare of the Week Club from the C-PTSD guild needs to be forgiven because of genetics? No.

Don't preach the bible at me because it is not my book & you will not get me to allow abusers to be close to me because of a supernatural being I don't believe in & wouldn't worship if that's what it wanted. I don't care if my stepdad was abusing her too, displacement isn't the answer. Owning your shit is. If someone cuts me out, okay that's fine, it isn't about fair, it's about people need to be able to do what they need to do. It doesn't matter that she's my mother because she's also an abuser & utterly unsafe.

So. Don't say these things to people who have cut parents out of their lives. We've heard them before. I will cheerily, and I do mean with a big grin, tell you to go fuck your sanctimonious self & go about my day, because I am at that place. Not everyone is.

These statements are gas lighting survivors about our self knowledge to keep ourselves safe. This is, again, an area in which I can tell you to fuck off. But other people? It could send them to months of nightmares. It could set off yet another cycle of "trying to get along with mom--mom is a piece of shit--get too beaten down to extricate". You could be guilting someone into spending a holiday with someone who wants to, has tried to, and may succeed at killing them.

Don't think about our abusers' feelings before you opine. Think about ours. Think about how we are probably downplaying it to you. Think about how we are the person you are saying it to. We have been the wronged party, and often had that twisted and turned by people who think us having boundaries is wronging them. We are taught that self preservation is wronging people.

Think about that. Don't undermine survivors' hard-won safety mechanisms. If you can't help yourself, you need to go be not around survivors because you, too, are not safe. And need to fuck off.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Borrowing Praxis

This becomes relevant every now and again, when people decide to have a problem with people who need more significant or obvious communication supports. The stars have aligned & I can write about it at a time that it's relevant to the broader community.

One of the things Autistic people know that doesn't make it into the literature is that we have difficulty with movement. Not necessarily clumsiness (though that is common), but inertia. Stopping is hard. Starting is hard. Executive dysfunction to a rather extreme and annoying extent. So, we have people who need support for typing, some members of our community are very prompt dependent, et cetera.

But a lot of us need to borrow praxis or initiation. It's a Thing. On a fairly regular basis my roommate & I will be standing at the top of the stairs and one of us needs tea or coffee, the other needs food. So whoever is having more trouble getting started will ask if they can come down at the same time. Or we both are stuck & need to go at the same time to borrow, so to speak, the other person's intention to go down the stairs. Thus we both go to the kitchen.

Am I making her tea? Is she making my macaroni and cheese? An awful lot of the arguments against supported typing go with "well, the supporter is the author of the communication". Someone standing behind someone else, touching their shoulder, is hardly showing evidence of writing with the other person's hand, any more than my roommate is making my mac & cheese because her movement helped me initiate my movement to get to the kitchen. Or maybe I'm making her tea.

No wait, that's ridiculous.

I don't even think this is autistic-specific phenomenon, though we are more likely to have to borrow others' movement. There's all sorts of psychology literature on how people perform better and easier among liked peers. They may not actively need a trusted person around to communicate clearly, they may not require someone else's momentum to get down the stairs (I keep saying that because it's my actual existence), but all people benefit from others. Study groups are basically this exact same thing, on a cognitive level (until they turn into socializing with a pile of books present).

Being skeptical of supported typing requires being skeptical of a whole lot of movement and getting shit done that I do, that many of my friends do, that non Autistic people do, is the point here. Taking a kick start from other beings is a thing we all do. It isn't valid when able people do it, sort of valid when people with fewer support needs do it, and non valid when people with more intense support needs do it. It's the same thing regardless, & it's valid or it's not valid.

And if it's not valid, I've been making an awful lot of tea with someone else's hands.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Activism & the Overton Window. You're welcome.

I'm going to tell you something frustrating about being me:

I will say something, and people will act like it's completely outlandish. Something like, oh, disabled people deserve civil rights. Making everywhere an epilepsy nightmare is violence. Things need to be more cognitively accessible. Autistic rights are human rights, even if we never pass. That compliance training is by it's very nature abusive.

And then you'd think that I said that babies are delicious and we should burn down everything and start over! The way people react to these things I posit that are direct extensions of "we're people, dammit"...they're the reactions of people who are threatened. It isn't laughing or blowing off, no, it's more like actual threats of violence. It's a good time. Like I said something that is dangerous and absurd.

Then, about 6 months later, maybe a year later, someone else will say it. Someone whiter, or someone male, or someone with relative class privilege, someone considered more "respectable". And suddenly this thing I've been saying for ages sounds reasonable. Maybe we should consider that! Sure, I've moved on to something even more ridiculous, like that bodily autonomy means everyone or something, but the thing that got me death threats and called a crazy bitch or whatever is now being seriously considered.

That's because a function of activists is to shift the Overton Window. It's a thankless and scary function, but it is a thing we do.

What is the Overton Window? It's the fancy pants rhetorical term for the ideas that humans will consider. Anything outside this idea is seen as extreme, reactionary, outlandish. You can see the Overton Window in practice if you have followed 20th-21st century USA politics. The Tea Party in particular dragged the Overton Window way to the right, while supposed progressives have been trying to be 'moderate'. The thing is...being 'moderate' and presented as an extreme means the window shifts. You never have actual extremes, and you see the ideas and policies that are tolerated shifting according to what people see as the reasonable range.

So. I fulfill the function of saying "Actually, that isn't even a little bit extreme, let me show you some extreme you can't even handle this shit", and we lose somewhat less ground to people who are hell bent on curtailing our rights, because I am not a sellout like the US Democrats, for example. And there are always a few people willing to say "that's not unthinkable, really". And so the range of discourse shifts & maybe some day the idea that autism isn't all about our parents will be considered a reasonable position.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

So much for "we learned from our errors" and "we promise to be better"


In 2008 I went to the Autcom conference, as supposedly they’re a good conference and good organization that doesn’t suck. Their board member Gail GIllingham Wylie followed me around with a flash camera, knowing that I have photosensitive epilepsy. THe parent & support person of a person I was supposed to be presenting with also really crossed the line; her son had a lot of lighting effects in his power point, I said no don’t, epilepsy, & she said to just choose to not have epilepsy, I have speech so obviously I can just, you know, not. Irony: that panel was supposed to be about not making assumptions about one ability or disability based on others.

THey were not sorry until very recently, because it wasn’t politically expedient to not be sorry anymore (I stand by that hypothesis in light of their current behavior). To prove they were dedicated to doing better, they were going to take these steps:
-actually say the S word (sorry is the s word)
-indicate they meant it
-by funding attendees from underrepresented groups
-and actually meeting my godsdamned access needs.

Um. They did one of these things. I was worried about the access needs thing bc not a single thing went out indicating flashing things aren’t ok to presenters or to attendees & I made it crystal clear that because of their history (GGW did not lose her board position for assaulting me with a deadly weapon, nor was she asked to stop by anyone she listened to. Neither did anyone from AutCom say they were sorry they condoned hurting me with their silence, although they did have members throw big whiny fits all over because I don’t drop that shit for obvious reasons).

I almost didn’t go. I almost let them eat the cost of the plane ticket, but they supposedly learned. Maybe they didn't send out the guidelines in advance because they're disorganized?


They did not learn.
We are not cool at all.

On Friday night another attendee, who I am not naming because that’s actually not necessary, took flash pictures all over the everywhere. The insert of the conference materials said no flash photography, there was time devoted to the no flash photography speech, etc etc. I said if he did it again I’d shove the camera up his nose, which is not a literal thing & my go-to for such things because it can’t be taken seriously as a threat yet is a ‘no really I mean it stop’ thing to say. He was upset & this is when his support person decided to acknowledge the rule (support people! If the folks you support need assistance in respecting rules, that is so very part of your job! To say they just can’t is presuming incompetence!). I made sure the president of AutCom knew, as she’s the one who made promises; the rest of the people I talked to dropped out of the conversation (which is why I almost decided not to go at the last minute).

And this is where the timeline gets fuzzy because I’m time agnosiac anyway & It’s a big mess of what the actual fuck. Everything happened; I might have the order wrong. Bear in mind this is an organization that made me promises to indicate they learned & are going to do better. They had 7 years to figure it out.

Just before heading down to breakfast, my conference roommate Alyssa & I got a text message from someone we were going to present with, asking if she could come talk to us. Yes, of course. Beth comes down & sayeth unto us that there’s a big argument outside her room between Emily Titon (President of Autcom), Sandi McClellan (a past president), & Linda Rammler (honestly I have no idea what her position is except volunteer). The power structure in AutCom is really weird, as the president should be able to make promises & agreements & be backed up. That isn’t a thing. Emily had told me anyone that flashed would be removed. I didn’t believe her because I’m aware of how people (read as: AutCom. They have their own prejudiced preferences) are and honestly that’s a nuclear option anyway. She was trying to fix the night before.

So that’s exciting.

When I headed downstairs with Alyssa to find breakfast, we encounter another access barrier: there is an attendee who touches everyone as they go past her. She is in the doorway. The other door does not open. It is impossible to avoid her & when asked not to touch people she ignores them (or at least she ignored my wishes; she broke into a run to touch us when we were trying to take evasive action, as saying "don't touch me" did not work). Do not violate my boundaries first thing in the morning, or indeed ever. I may use my teacher voice about how godsdamn are you people ever terrible at access. Because, um, you are. And I did. Touching me isn’t ok, flashing isn’t ok.
Apparently having boundaries isn’t allowed any more than having photosensitive epilepsy is (you want to know where I got the idea I’m not allowed access needs? It’s organizations that are supposedly ours. Are you proud?)

Like I said, now is when order gets fuzzy. So let’s just hit some highlights. People representing AutCom involved in this clusterfuck include Linda Rammler & Sandi McClennan as already indicated, as well as Anne & Eric Bakeman. I am unclear on their actual titles or the power they are supposed to have because they were wielding a lot, and things were not ok. If I specify an individual said something, by name, that means I am certain that person is who said or did it. Also for the unfamiliar, AutCom supposedly supports civil rights and has tshirts that say “presume competence” and has done much of their work with issues that effect people with more obvious or intense support needs and AAC users. Sandi was wearing one of those shirts and I believe Anne was as well.

I had many well projected (thank you choir!) words about how they can’t manage to keep a fucking promise about a fucking common access need. Yes, I swear. I did not swear at or about anyone but about behavior. People may not like profanity but it is not an attack unless used as an attack.

Attacks I endured from AutCom include:
-persistent shortening of my name without permission (this is a dominance move & is extremely disrespectful. It’s more disrespectful down a power gradient)
-Sandi telling me that I didn’t belong at AutCom, because I insist on promises being kept & on my access needs being respected.
-Being told that I was irrational for defending my access needs. This is gaslighting and it is unacceptable.
-Continual ignoring of ‘do not call me <Shortened name>. Apparently this boundary is also irrational.
-Being told that my need to not be faced with seizure triggers is less important than someone’s attachment to his camera.
-Being told that my access need not to be faced with seizure triggers is less important than board member’s unwilligness to talk to the flash camera person themselves; it's too much work to enforce the rules they agreed to
-Being told that my access needs would literally be the end of AutCom.

Not-attacks-but-still-not-ok included:
-Tone policing.
-Anne condescendingly suggested I try saying please.
-Very many iterations of “you need to politely fix it” when I had been promised I would not have to fix things, as if I have to fix them it means they didn’t actually address the issue.
-Being told to not use ‘uncomfortable language’ (meaning, ‘fuck’) while simultaneously shortening my name and telling my my access needs are not real.
-Every indication that there is no way I could be nice enough about their godsdamned access barrier that i shouldn’t have had to deal with and that they promised I wouldn’t have to deal with.
-In a real ironic twist, the folks wearing “presume competence” shirts told me the man with the camera didn’t understand, couldn’t understand, he is mostly nonspeaking (they said nonverbal. I find the distinction important for respect reasons) and has been institutionalized so he can’t possibly be held to the rule. Eric Bakeman was a real pusher of this, as was Sandi.
-Continual pushing of the idea that a grownass adult and his grownass support person cannot be expected to follow a simple rule.
-The undercurrent of “Your support needs don’t real”
-When I requested to go the fuck to home since I apparently don’t belong there, they told me I owed them presentations because they flew me out there. That was not the deal. The deal was I would give them a second chance. I don’t owe anyone shit.
-being asked the same question over and over and having my answer ignored. I don’t want a fake apology. I want people to not fuck up. I can only say that in so many ways.
-having words put in my mouth that I did not say. Don’t do that.
-consistently ignoring how apologies work (say you’re sorry, say what you’re sorry for, do a thing to try to fix, make a plan to not do again, go forth & actually do it) while doing the attacky things listed above.
-”all access needs matter” conflation of intensity. Everyone’s access matters. Potentially fatal things really do need to come first in common areas. Bodily autonomy, too, in the case of the woman insisting on touching everyone.

During this I called Emily Titon on the phone & said, effectively, "you. here. now." but as soon as she got there she was whisked away for a reason I do not know. So the president of AutCom, who made these agreements, brokered these arrangements, missed all the conflict about them. She was just whooshed off into the ether as soon as she got downstairs.

At some point Linda Rammler also threw a cup of coffee at (actually at) Beth, though that was not where I was. Upon being told that expecting my access needs to be met was irrational, I did also throw a cup. Mine was empty. It hit exactly where I was aiming, 10 feet above & 4 feet to the right of all people. She is not held responsible for this that I saw, although I was told to just not have epilepsy then, repeatedly, in many different ways.

Other things that I was told happened but did not personally witness included non-competence-presuming people threatening to ragequit if Emily held AutCom to their rules. They said that respecting my access needs would be the end of AutCom to my face and possibly elsewhere as well. Linda Rammler went so far as to say that enforcing the rules would prove Simon Baron-Cohen right. This is a nasty, hateful thing to say.

The gaslighting started basically immediately, also. But the thing is: there are witnesses. There were a dozen people at my side telling them they were wrong, they were fucking up, they were violating the first rule of holes (stop digging), that they were violating their own claimed values (“presume competence” and “civil rights for all”). They gave no fucks about my civil rights & said that enforcing them would destroy them. They said that the man who flashed the camera is incompetent. Those are things they did.

Apparently the man with the camera, incidentally, was sorry as soon as he understood the situation, he wanted to apologize. Yes, okay. I am actually pretty fucking reasonable. He is sorry, will not do again, kept camera in his room, we’re cool. As long as it doesn’t happen again, we’re fine.

There were many many witnesses to what went on. Loads of witnesses. Other attendees jumped in with their examples of rules being violated causing a hazardous environment for them (numerous people had issues with the touching, people were getting headaches from people ignoring the scent free policy). It’s like if you can express your needs orally, AutCom has a policy that they’re preferences. Autism does not work that way. They should know that but are not displaying an understanding of that.

After the panel I was on about parents and autistics collaborating to bring meaningful social change, Sandi did accost me (yes, it felt like that. There was no escape &  I didn’t want to speak with her) to nonpologize. I say nonpologize because the words “I’m sorry” never escaped her lips, nor did acknowledgement that telling someone that they don’t belong somewhere is fucked up, nor did acknowledgement that telling someone their access needs are irrational is more fucked up. “I handled it very badly” is the closest she came to that & I felt pressured to say words that I don’t mean & therefore didn’t say them. It wasn't an apology; it was a litany of excuses. We aren’t cool. We aren’t cool at all.

It’s never cool to fly someone across the country to show them how actually you haven’t learned at all. That isn’t how “we’re sorry” works. I know I’m not allowed access needs, & this is the latest example that I can give people.. Flying me across the US to show me how much you don’t care to do better is phenomenally unacceptable. Making liars of my friends is unacceptable. Presuming incompetence when it’s easier & feels like an absolution of responsibility is never cool.

We are not cool at all.

Other people who witnessed this, and oh were there ever loads, may be writing their accounts as well. I am not the person to tell that my access needs are hard. I don't want to hear it, I already know I'm not allowed them. I fight every day for your right to supports, at least pretend you care about mine.