Today is Autistic Pride Day! Autistic Pride Day, originally an Aspies for Freedom initiative, is a pride celebration for autistic people held on June 18 each year. Autistic pride recognizes the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society.
About Autistic Pride Day
Autistic Pride Day was first celebrated in by Aspies for Freedom and it quickly became a global event which is celebrated widely online and offline. AFF modeled the celebration on the gay pride movement. According to Kabie Brook, the co-founder of Autism Rights Group Highland (ARGH), “the most important thing to note about the day is that it is an autistic community event: it originated from and is still led by autistic people ourselves”, i.e. it is not a day for other charities or organisations to promote themselves or stifle autistic people. The rainbow infinity symbol is used as the symbol of this day, representing “diversity with infinite variations and infinite possibilities”.
The purpose of Autistic Pride is to show to the world that we are proud of being autistic and that we are not diseased or defective or in need of a cure. We have as much right to live a happy and fulfilled life as neurotypicals.
For much of the time many of us suppress or feel ashamed of our autistic behaviors. For this day we can cast any shame aside and be ourselves. The purpose of an Autistic Pride event is to create a space for autistic people to allow us to be ourselves.
What I Believe
Now I know may of the supporters of autistics, especially of those who have difficulty communicating properly that they truly know how they feel, what they love and what they really want. But, alas those autistics that can communicate properly oftentimes think of it as another thing because they are already marginalized, thus adding a double rainbow to the spectrum of problems.
But if we truly love an autistic person for who they are, why should we throw up roadblocks because we don’t necessary have the same values as they do in who we love or identify with? This compromises what the autistic person is thinking about them self, already crippled with the autism piece, let alone any other barrier out there in this very complex world. It just shouldn’t happen, not at all. On a personal note I feel that our higher powers put us here for a reason to serve our purpose in society and there were many great autistics that did just that.
We should not only celebrate this day for those under the pride rainbow (as the whole month is dedicated for that,) but those autistics under both rainbows because they deserve to be loved just as much as everyone else on the planet. However, all autistics must be loved as for the struggle is real! Your feeling is your own opinion, but just think if you were in this situation, how would you feel? What would you do? Who or where would you look for guidance, etc.? Or would you tell the autistic that you support that those “other” feelings are inappropriate and to hide or forget them? The choice is yours!
What Society Can Do To Help the Autistic LGBTQ Community:
For a autistic that also identifies as LGBTQ, they often refer to it as two worlds that sometimes intertwine, yet they are very unique in nature. The main thing one can do should one come out or have feelings as identifying as LGBTQ is first and foremost, BE SUPPORTIVE. Understand that it is already a tough decision for them to affirm this “double rainbow” that they are chartering and that rough waters such as taking it in a negative demeanor is going to make the autistic more hampered and make their feeling more invalid and more compromised than they felt before outing their identity, thus making them shutdown.
One might ask, “why them?” The answer is quite simple really, they have less influence on what other peers in their communities may think for the simple fact is that they are already marginalized due to having autism. Let alone it just isn’t the identities of gay, lesbian or bisexual, yet others that are not-so-common such as demisexual, asexual, or gender-non-binary. Yes, its a lot for both the individual and their supporter to take in.
In a article some years ago I discovered “The assumption used to be that many, many people on the spectrum were asexual, that they didn’t identify as sexual beings,” “We thought it was related to their social deficits and they didn’t want to be in relationships and that just wasn’t a thing for people with autism, and now we know it is really related to difficulty navigating the situation.”
The assumption is that people with disabilities aren’t going to develop and express their sexuality. Children who have an Individualized Education Program for special education aren’t getting sex ed in schools, and parents of children with disabilities often don’t talk to their children about it.
The last thing they are thinking about is their children as sexual beings. They really are in the day-to-day and that is scary to think about. A lack of sexual education can cause problems, especially when parents have bad reactions to their children coming out. Sometimes people might hear the LGBT and turn that off, like, ‘oh, we don’t have to deal with it,’ but you do have to deal with sex, regardless of how that is coming out.
Safety is a factor in whether people disclose they are LGBTQ. Parents should talk to their children about the intersection of the two identities. Start with believing them. Resources and organizations that target the intersection of the two communities are practically nonexistent. Organizations that serve the autism or LGBTQ communities can create practices for the other group intentionally, instead of as an afterthought.
Navigating two worlds
Once you get the hang of the social rules of the straight, cisgender community as a teenager. And then came realizations about sexual identity, gender identity and a whole new set of rules. There were things to learn and mistakes to make.. Many are afraid of coming off too strong to people and dont get the hint whenever someone was flirting with them. When navigating the worlds of autism and the LGBTQ community, Many ask how they know they’re LGBTQ because they have autism.
I an a firm believer that autistic people do know how they feel. The problem is feeling too much and not knowing how to communicate it.
Most LGBTQ spaces tend to be loud. such as Pride, but most autistic people they know back out. They’ve also seen exclusion in the LGBTQ community of those who have autism and don’t fit behavioral norms. They want groups to use a diverse set of communication tools and wording to be attractive to everyone.
What a person can do to help inclusion of LGBTQ autistic people is to understand that not everyone who is LGBTQ has to be extroverted.
Finding a Fit
Work is usually enough social activity for a day, and staying over at a partner’s place can be. Many can’t sleep in new places, so the first couple times can result in not sleeping all night. Gay bars can be difficult as any bars are simply because there’s tons of people, and drunk people aren’t sensory-friendly people, they’re loud, they’re smelly and they want to touch you, which is the worst thing in the world to an autistic. It’s difficult to find LGBTQ spaces that are also autism-friendly, since many LGBTQ spaces and events are loud, packed with people and involve alcohol.
People are resistant to accept identity due to autism. Growing up, people claim autistics aren’t gay or know that’s how they feel. The Internet is a great resource for finding this information. All of the social rules that are demonstrated When an autistic brings up that they’re gay, people oftentimes say they know they are because the autistic is intelligent, but for people with autism who need greater levels of support, they wouldn’t know what they feel. You have to be incredibly academically intelligent or anything like that to know feelings.
It should be warned against trying to talk people with autism out of their own identities, since people with autism tend to see things as cut and dry. As much as you may think it’s shameful for them to be something, on a psychological level, it’s much more harmful to try to beat it out or talk it out of someone or scare or shame it out, which is what people tend to do.
In closing of this article, that “if you meet one person with autism, you’ve done just that, met one person with autism.” Am I saying all autistics identify as LGBTQIA, absolutely not! But the community needs to know that there’s a great deal of autisitcs out there that Identify as such and the last thing they need is to feel rejection because they identify in the LGBTQ community. They suffer enough being autistic, the double spectrum makes them feel twice as bad, Seriously, they don’t need it! Educate, Educate, Educate! Knowledge is power!