Many autistic people talk a lot about acceptance. I do, I have many autistic friends and acquaintances that do too. You see it seems to me that acceptance is kind of like what we do. We do it with each other, we do it with neurotypicals, we do it with allistics, we do it with minority groups and on it goes.
Often I and others are told we go on about it too much, too loudly and too often. But, I think, the biggest thing here is we feel we need to keep going on about. You see justice, fairness is important to us. What’s right is important to us. People being treated and accepted as human persons is bloody well important to us.
So whether it comes to full acceptance it’s really not just about autism. It’s about so much more than that, so much more! It’s about standing up and calling out the hateful anti-transgender laws enacted in the Carolinas. It’s about standing up and calling for governments to get their heads out of the sand and legislate for marriage equality for all.
These, of course, are just the start. There are so many issues that confront us as humans every day. Scroll a newsfeed on facebook and you can be confronted by the lack of acceptance as groups of people as fully human with so many different faces. Whether it be the equal rights of Native Americans, Indigenous Australians – or any indigenous group for that matter. Whether it be the harsh reality of the racial profiling and evident overuse of force against people of colour in the United States. The silencing and sidelining of disabled people, whether that be a visible or invisible disability. The disregard for the quality of life of the mentally ill.
It just goes on and on. The list never seems to end. Disabled drivers abused parking in their designated parking spots because a bystander takes it upon themselves to decide they are not really disabled. The downs syndrome people excluded from employment because others decide they don’t have the capacity. Autistics blamed for mass shootings by the media with no evidence of that being the case. Ableist slurs levelled about minority groups by mainstream media outlets.
As I grow into the autistic identity and the autistic community one thing I notice is that in general, we seem to have a real heart for acceptance. It doesn’t seem to matter what the disability, difference, race etc we want to accept. Perhaps this is a generalisation, and I get that, but I see time and again, autistic people, neurodivergent people, calling for justice in the face of injustice. Calling for acceptance of difference, calling for an end of silencing and de-voicing of the vulnerable.
What I think is that we get it. We get what it’s like to be excluded, silenced, treated unfairly, discriminated against and so on. Yes, we get it. We have had to search and yearn and fight for our own acceptance as full members of this humanity thing. We have often wandered for years in thick fogs of isolation and pain after being othered, and called broken and wrong. Bullying has been for many of us a day to day experience of childhood into adulthood. So yes we get it.
Because we get it. Because we can empathise with it – Yes we really can do empathy – we don’t want others to experience it. We don’t want anyone else to experience the pain and distress we did. We want acceptance and inclusion. We want all people to be treated and accepted as actual full human persons.
A lot of us don’t really give a flying fuck what another person sexual orientation is, or, what their gender is and we don’t need to determine it on whether they have a penis or a vagina. So when we see people excluded from basic rights, like the basic rights that the majority enjoy we call it out.
We may not always do this in a conventional way. For many of us, the idea of turning up at an actual protest rally sears us to the core with horror. That’s not the only valid way, though. We write about it. We change our profile pictures to reflect it. We tweet about it. We comment on forums, social media, we send emails. We even youtube about it.
Because at heart, when we talk about acceptance we mean it. We mean acceptance for all humans as humans. We mean all humans to be equal. We mean all humans to be treated with respect and dignity.
We talk a lot abut autism/autistic acceptance, but, it’s not just about autism.