Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Does this exist?

I'm an atheist. I have disabilities (I swear I've started a post that same way before).

Groups that are full of religion and prayer requests are extraordinarily uncomfortable for me. Yes, seizure exacerbations or sensory issues or GODICANNOTTALKTODAY are all shitty things. But 'praying for me' isn't going to do anything. I know it's a reflex for many people, I think for a lot of them it's kind of like "I will keep you in my thoughts", but that doesn't change that it's uncomfortable. I mean, thoughts and goodwill are nice and all, but overall they don't do anything. Neither does praying, but you can't say that without a lot of fallout.

I think what I want to find is a secular, truly secular, group for all disabilities or all neurodivergences or even one for epilepsy, one for autism. I'm talking nearly aggressively secular here. One where it's ok to say flat out that prayers aren't going to help the actual problem. One where I don't need to worry about being called satan's spawn because I disagree with something totally not even about religion (or if I do, for that matter. That's pretty much not ok).

And not just for me, though selfish motivations brought me down this train of thought. Lots of people are of minority religions. It's just as uncomfortable, I'm sure, for someone Pagan or Jewish or who follows Islam to listen to people beseeching Jesus on their behalf. Maybe it isn't. But if it is, then I want to see that lessen.

What do y'all think? Know of any? Know a way to make it work?

*and yes, I do know a number of people of many faiths who I love dearly. They probably know a number of atheists and followers of other religions who they love dearly.*

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Well-Behaved Autists Rarely Make History: Why "Bad Autistics" Are Good Activists

It's not difficult to figure out how to be a "good" autistic. Just preface everything you say with "this only applies to me, of course" or "I'm quite high-functioning, but," apologize for existing. A good autistic answers every question, no matter how invasive, that a neurotypical person asks. A good autistic is honored that parents give them the time of day, praises said parents regardless of how they treat their kid, never questions NT supremacy or authority.

I am a bad autistic.

Bad autistics demand to be treated as human. We are not afraid to call people out on treating us-or their children-poorly. We say that asking us intensely personal questions is inappropriate. We are not honored by being "allowed" to be universal translators or self-narrating zoo exhibits. We don't apologetically state our experiences, all wrapped in disclaimers that no other freak like us will necessarily experience the same thing the way we did. Many of us reject functioning labels entirely. We do not praise parents for not drowning us in childhood; we know that is not praiseworthy.

We want and demand more than that. We want more for ourselves. We want more for the "good autistics, who have stumbled on a way to be bullied less. We want more for the children of the very parents who vilify us. Where a good autie is told "I hope my child grows up to be like you," I am told "if my child could argue like you do, I'd consider them cured." This is not a compliment-it is a silencing tactic.

I and other uppity auties I know have received death threats. Our diagnoses are constantly questions; really real autistics are apparently unable to have our own opinions on autism. We are called delusional, we are told we are bitter, angry, too emotionally connected to the issue to be rational. Knives have been pulled on activists. We are told that there is no way we can actually like who we are. We are vilified and maligned constantly.

It's not easy. Most of us have PTSD from childhood bullying and abuse-parents have told me, incidentally, that abusing me was acceptable and understandable. And yet, we persist in fighting the good fight.

Why? Because it's important, that's why. No one should treat anyone that way. They do it because it is socially acceptable. I want better for me. I want better for their children. I'm idealistic enough to think that they probably want better for their children. I want a world where "good autistics" are not afraid to contradict a parent. I want a world where my humanity is a given, not something I have to fight for. I want a world where people who bully and abuse people like me are seen as the monsters they are.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. I'm a bad autistic and I intend to win.