Monday, March 28, 2016

If You Love Me, Wear Red On April 2nd!

April starts on Friday. April used to be a month I looked forward to since my birthday is April 25th and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. Once I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in 2009, however, it became a month where I was relentlessly barraged with hateful rhetoric telling people that I was something to be feared and hated. It's now a month where autism organizations claiming to "help" us promote our eradication instead.

On April 2nd, Autism Speaks, the worst of all of these organizations, does something called Light It Up Blue where they try to "cure" (aka eliminate us) by reminding people that we exist and that we're a horrendous burden on society. In response to this, autistic people have started wearing red on April 2nd, too. Initially, the movement was called Walk In Red, but as not everyone can walk the movement is also referred to as Red Instead. All you need to do on April 2nd to help us out is the following:
  1. Wear red instead of blue. Even if you don't wear red, it's fine as long as you don't wear blue since that's Autism Speaks's color.
  2. Amplify the voices of any autistic people you know. This month is about us, not organizations that claim they know us better than we know ourselves.
  3. If anyone you know is blindly supporting Autism Speaks, explain to them why this is a horrendous idea. I've got some resources to help you out with that right here. They're right at the top of the page.
  4. Instead of donating to Autism Speaks and other organizations that promote hate and fear, support organizations like the Autism Self-Advocacy Network, the Autism Women's Network, and other groups that allow us to speak for ourselves and give us the support that we need and deserve. These groups, especially the latter, also focus on intersectionality in our movement, which is important.
  5. Listen to us. This is supposed to be our month, but it's really easy to get the wrong idea about us since we can't afford expensive TV spots on major networks whilst Autism Speaks can. Our opinions and experiences are far more valuable to learn about than the stuff they're telling you, so listen to us over them!
Best of luck to all my non-NT friends in the upcoming month - we can weather this annual storm together, as we've done in years past. Let's shift the conversation and make sure there's nothing about us without us!

Update: I also hashed all of this out in a video for your viewing pleasure.

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