Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why I Am Against Autism Speaks

I was criticized yesterday for wanting an organization I have been heavily involved in for four years to join in on the twitter bomb against Autism Speaks.  I was told that, from an organizational standpoint, it would better to promote something, to be FOR rather than against something.

Well, from an organizational standpoint, there are many organizations that have signed onto the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Letter to the Sponsors of Autism Speaks, that are publicly against Autism Speaks.  Those organizations include, but are not limited to, huge organizations like TASH, Not Dead Yet, and Little People of America.  Those organizations seem to be doing pretty well for themselves, as is ASAN itself.

Still worried that we should be FOR things, rather than against them?

Get this:

You know what I'm for?

I'm for dignity.

I'm for human rights.

I'm for language that doesn't reduce autistic people to one dimensional caricatures in perpetual suffering.

I'm for celebrating diversity.  I'm for embracing disability as a natural part of the human condition.

I'm for putting disabled people in positions of power, real power.

I'm for equality, not tragedy.

I'm for expressing yourself any way you like, whether that's talking, writing, stimming, or any other way you can think of.

I'm for communication, in any form, being encouraged, not demonized.

I'm for organizations that build us up, not tear us down.

Autism Speaks is for none of those things.  And that is exactly why I am against Autism Speaks.

If you are FOR humanity, you will be AGAINST Autism Speaks.

Join the boycott.  Sign the petition.  Spread the word.


The Colonel said...

I hate to break it to you, but the things you say your "for" are actually just rephrasing everything Autism Speaks does that you're against. Please do not misunderstand me-- Autism Speaks does no favors for our community. They spread fear, hate, and prejudice against us, and are essentially pushing for mass genocide of our population. I could go on and on about the ways they've wronged us, but surely you know enough about the politics of the Autism community that none of it would be news.

And as much as I'd like to see Autism Speaks change their core philosophies and the way they spend their funds-- or more likely, face burning to the ground as a result of their willful ignorance-- we must realize that even if one of those two things did happen, our current society is not built with our needs in mind. We need more concrete goals about how to have those needs met. That's being for something.

For example, there is a horrifically high number of Autistic people who are unemployed, underemployed, relying on government assistance, and some are even homeless and without proper medical care. Maybe we could have funding and other useful resources allocated to Autistics who are aspiring to start their own businesses, start their freelance careers, publish a book, or find a job. If we can create more Autistic-run businesses, we will in turn create job openings for Autistics and other people with disabilities.