I am jet lagged, so this is going to be quite the ramble.
It's Autistic Pride Day, the day those of us who are culturally Autistic (and maybe those who aren't?) celebrate our neurologies. But what really does that mean? As people always ask me, what is there about autism to be proud of?
I'm proud to be part of the best community ever. We aren't a community with a lot of resources, but we're a creative, loving, generous group, on the whole. The community crowdsourced a friend of mine to Autreat! Most of them haven't even met her yet! (but they totally should). And we got medical care for the sick cat of one of our own. Generosity, we have it. It's moving, how much Autistic community does what we can for each other.
I'm proud of my community for standing up for what is right. There have been several flash blogs this year against hatred of Autistics & erasure of our accomplishments. Whenever one of our number is killed or brutalized, the Autistic community is there saying that isn't right, facing down truly triggering, hateful comments, not allowing evil to win. It's Autistics who have vigils to remember those killed for being autistic. This is a big undertaking, a sad undertaking, and yet we do it because it needs to be done. When a hospital was trying to deny care to an Autistic woman, it was our community that raised holy hell, tied up their phone lines for days, made a righteous stink. Because it is right. Because that is what we do.
The Autistic community I am proud of values each autistic person. My community knows that it's not apparent ability or disability that makes someone matter. My community knows that there is no such thing as "unable to communicate", though there is "not given a way to communicate easily". My community knows that each of us matters-not because of what we can or cannot do, but because we exist. Because we have a right to be here. Because different does not equal broken. Because worth is not measured in what you can do, but in being the best you you can be.
My Autistic community is a daily reminder that I am ok just as I am. It's a place, a family even, where my particular strengths, weaknesses, and inability to let injustice go are valued. They are the reason I survived a few times.
The Autistic community, my chosen family, is why I am proud to be Autistic. I love y'all, and wouldn't have you any other way.