Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Autistic Pride Day!

June 18th is Autistic Pride Day, a day every year when people on the Autistic spectrum are encouraged to be proud of who they are.  I think this should be something we talk about every day - everyone should be proud of who they are, particularly those in the autistic community.  We receive so much negative feedback from the world around us, saying that we're sick and need to be cured, that we're stupid or twisted - a day of pride is important.

For me, today is a day of advocacy.  It's a day to stand up and correct the negative, harmful assumptions about autistic people, to say "Yes, I'm autistic and I'm a person with the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else".  I have not worn traditional symbols like puzzle pieces or blue because those have been ursurped by cure organizations as symbols for their movements.  Instead, I drew an eternity symbol on my hand, the sign of Aspies For Freedom.

If you wore blue today, please reconsider your clothing choice next year.  The wear blue movement was started by Autism Speaks, an organization with a horrible reputation in the autistic community.  Lighting things up blue and wearing blue is intended to advocate for research to "cure" autism.   A cure isn't something which the great majority of aspies and autistics want, and the idea of it is offensive to most of us.

Today, like every day, I am confident in my abilities and proud of who I am.  I know that each and every day I learn more, I become more resilient and gain confidence in myself.  Autism isn't who I am, but it's a part of me, and it's a part I accept and embrace wholeheartedly, from the wonderful aspects to the painful moments.

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