This Autistics Speaking Day, I am going to speak truth that certain folks with power in the larger Autistic community would rather I kept to myself. An access fail went down at Autreat 2013. The official incident report is a) not an incident report and b) utterly devoid of "having consulted with the person it actually happened to". Now it's my turn to report on the incident, and the ugly underbelly that was revealed in the immediate and distant aftermath.This is what I'd classify as the immediate aftermath.
Friday is going home day. I couldn't even with the ending session. There were voices happening that made me feel panicky, and disconnected was better than panicky. I remember basically being aimless & still wanting to go home, but it was like I was resigned to not yet.
I could not wait til Beth got back from running folks to the airport. I felt wrong. But we didn't leave til the next day, so I squashed down my escape feelings. Shut myself down even more. Keeping busy wasn't a choice, but Shutdown & Stepford mode is unfortunately something I have experience with. My autopilot is pretty tuned.
We went to the hotel. We got food. That's what I've got. And then Saturday we got up to go to the airport for the flight.
I don't really remember the flights either, except that I couldn't focus and attempted to wind some lace weight yarn of Mandy's into a ball. And failed somewhat spectacularly. It's probably still a tangled mess.
And over the next couple days I started connecting to the world again, reassociating if you will, and realized that scripts used were ones that trigger dissociation and "whatever I need to do I will power through before this turns to extrabad" reactions. I wrote about that.
And then I did something unforgiveable: I said so. That I was not mentally present, that I shouldn't have done the presentation, that I was manipulated.
And people lost their shit. How dare I use that word? Manipulation involves intent.
Except that's not quite right. Manipulation does not require saying "I am going to go be manipulative right now bwah hah hah hah". It requires having an agenda and using your communications toward that agenda.
"Fifty people are waiting to hear your presentation" (or was it 70? I don't know. It doesn't matter) is communicating clearly towards an agenda of making that presentation happen.
And, you know what? I thought that Jim would want to know. Would be mortified perhaps, but would want to know that problem solving scripts and walls of words like that wall of words and such can be experienced that way. Even though xe had effectively kicked the person acting as support person out of the room, ridiculously enough I thought xe cared about me as a human being.
I get the impression that this was a silly thought.
The timeline here, again, is fuzzy, but these are immediate things that happened. It took me til Tuesday or so to find my body enough to not hurt myself, so my brain wasn't exactly there.
But I expressed that I shouldn't have, that I was manipulated, and all the outrage! Because intent is fucking magical!
I expressed that gaslighting is a thing, and it had happened, and even more outrage!
Autreat officials have expressed the view that if you don't sit down and say "how can I be abusive today?" you are not able to be abusive. This is a dangerous attitude for anyone to have, even if they never hurt anyone. It's far too callous towards survivors and far too forgiving of abusers.
So, shit hit the fan. Got really very ugly. Somehow it turned into folks were abusing Jim by using the m word (and then the g word) and how dare we?
Stress is a thing. Rhapsody's death is a thing that I was sad about too (and I helped fundraise his care, but people keep forgetting that). No one claimed that Jim was operating at the top of xyr game.
But that's not an excuse to trigger the abuse survivor script and then get angry when told you triggered the abuse survivor script. No. Fleeing to intentions when you hurt someone is really not actually all that illustrative of good intentions.
So then moderation went on and Jim ragequit after climbing up on the cross-apparently it is gaslighting now to point out gaslighting, and rugpulling to point out that the carpet didn't hold still for two days and counting? and of course all this is all my fault.
The moderation was...interesting. In that no one who was actually there could get a post released but all sorts of speculation did. The only time a post got through was immediately ripped apart by the moderator who approved it.
Which is interesting.
Doug Kline's post stating that "Autreat isn't supposed to be safe for child abuse survivors" got through, uncontradicted. No one has had an explanation about why this is acceptable yet. But anything anyone who was actually there says? Nitpicked to death.
So I disengaged. And watched myself be turned into a monster of epic proportions, for daring to be epileptic at Autreat.
Wait, what was that I was told wasn't going to happen? That my access needs weren't going to be twisted into an excuse to be exclusionary? That's funny. Autreat did exactly this, as neatly as Portland Lindy Exchange. And they're still doing it.
Next post we shall explore my new urban legends as well as some interesting double standards.