I never claim to be an expert. I am an Autistic Person who is sharing her experiences. Those are two vastly different approaches when it comes to providing insight as to what Autism is. There are people out there who are passing themselves off as experts and they are getting feedback from those who are taking it all in as fact. Please be careful! Perpetuating untrue stereotypes and misinformation does not help anyone. Do your research. Be skeptical, ask questions.
I currently have a piece of art up at the JCC Vancouver’s Community Longing & Belonging exhibit. Tonight was the grand opening of the exhibit and a lot of people made it out. I was happy to share the space with so many talented artists, some of which included my Mother, who painted a Hamsa and birdhouses, as well as my two Sisters, one picture missing. My younger Sister used a pouring technique.
I was also interviewed by an old school friend of mine, Alison, for Co-Op Radio which will be on this Sunday.
I was taking a photo of myself with my art and lingering around the same general area when a Lady came up to me and started talking. I can’t recall the exact conversation but it got to a point where I tried multiple times to end it. Being an Autistic Person is part of my identity and I harbour no shame towards that. I believe I may have introduced myself as an Autistic Artist. This Lady was very forward with the things she said, some of which included how we shouldn’t label ourselves and how she does not believe in that. I was saying it’s part of who I am. I can’t remember what else I said but she was still persistent. I felt really invalidated and upset but I didn’t want to show those feelings.
If someone wants to refer to themselves as the way they identify, there’s no reason for someone else to decide that for them. I wasn’t saying anything negative about myself! I find it empowering because it’s a celebration of what Autistic people are capable of and bringing light to how diverse we can all be.
I just want to add that i’ve felt incredibly depressed lately and my emotional sensitivity is taking a beating. I can’t handle very much and I am in no mood to argue. It completely depletes me of any energy I was harbouring.
I was able to channel my negative mood in to some new pieces of art that are very bright, happy and positive.
Watch my video:
Here’s another one of those random updates with a couple things to touch on. I also wanted to thank all my new visitors! Hi!
I created a new piece of art called “Disillusion fragmentized”:
And, I was featured on The Art of Autism!
Before any opportunity is offered to me, I always do my research. I search up the positives and negatives so I can make an informed decision. That seems to be common sense; at least that’s what I thought.
Occasionally, i’ll do a twitter search for “Autism Speaks” to see what kind of propaganda is being perpetuated. I’ll usually see parents, this running app (CharityMiles) that donates to them and merchandise with puzzle pieces for sale.
Yesterday was a bit different. The last big rift between the Autistic community and an outspoken supporter of Autism Speaks would be the whole Niantic deal. The Makers of POKEMON GO decided it would be excellent publicity to partner with the Autism Speaks Run and have their own family fun booth. They were met with outrage and rightfully so. Pokemon Go gave some individuals a reason to get outside and engage. I wasn’t one of those people, but there were other reasons given that made it seem like the Autistic community embraced it–that is, until, they made an incredibly rash decision without any research.
So, back to yesterday, I noticed there was a gamer by the name of Ash or Clash With Ash (CWA) who was incredibly excited to share the news of his ambassadorship with Autism Speaks. His video was complete with puzzle pieces in the background. What a lovely touch.
We, the Actually Autistic community have been on it. We’ve let him know that this isn’t helping us – that it’s actually hurting us. Ash’s followers are commending him and don’t seem to be questioning him. I’m assuming they believed he did his due diligence and researched Autism Speaks before he went full out and posted all his puzzle-piece laden propaganda for them to eat up and praise him for. He’s been incredibly quick to thank his supporters and put us in the backseat. Part of me believes he thought this would be good publicity and paint him as some kind of saint because his late Brother was Autistic. Here’s the initial tweet that started this all.
If you take the time to scroll through his twitter, you’ll see the calm before the storm. I took it upon myself to let his followers know that his actions are the opposite of commendable-by informing them that Autism Speaks is not a good organization. I don’t recall any of them responding to me.
I’m not sure how this benefits him. Perhaps it gives him a greater sense of purpose and believes that because he has a platform and an audience, that he could bring some kind of awareness to a cause he says is so important to him. We don’t need that. We can advocate for ourselves without hiding behind the guise of a hate group. There’s also better organizations to donate money to, like ASAN.
If you wish to add your opinion and let him know that we don’t need him to speak on our behalf, his social media platforms are:
If you want to learn why Autism Speaks is so terrible, here’s a great list: A Roundup of Posts Against Autism Speaks
Happy New Years Eve everybody. I’ve had a pretty eventful past few days. Firstly, I submitted a WINNING ENTRY to No Frills – which is a budget friendly grocery chain here in Canada owned by Loblaws (Galen Weston). I came up with a catchy, tongue-in-cheek melodic jingle and it’s going viral. It’s nearing 100,000 views. Check it out right here!
I hope you have an amazing 2019!
Dealing with negative comments is no easy task. It makes my anxiety kick into high gear and makes me question how I feel about myself. I need to remind myself to breathe and realize that the comments don’t reflect how they feel about me but how they feel about themselves. The past few days i’ve had a few people utter the F-word about things I have posted or done.
I posted an unpopular opinion puffins meme from mindyourowneggs on instagram that read “I’M TIRED OF PARENTS COMPLAINING ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS TO RAISE CHILDREN” and at the bottom of the image it read “NO ONE FORCED YOU TO HAVE KIDS.” It prompted a flurry of messages on instagram from an Autistic Mother with an Autistic Child who took it to heart.
As a societal-whole, we make choices and need to deal with the consequences of our actions.
I have been incredibly vocal about my Childfree stance and I do frequently worry about the sad state of our planet. My opinion encompasses all those feelings and I don’t want people to think I am specifically targeting parents of Autistic Children. I posted that meme as a blanket statement. I can’t say that I have much in common with parents of Autistic Children, because I don’t. When I speak, I speak from my heart. Entirely based on my experiences. Clearly, this doesn’t go over well with everyone, but those who have chosen to support me are people I would like to thank for giving me strength to get by. If anyone wants to believe that seeking out allies on social media platforms, by sharing this story, is a negative or “schoolyard” tactic, so be it. Childfree Autistic Adults do exist. We may be going against the grain of what society wants or expects from us, but we are just as valid.
There’s many things about myself I wouldn’t want to duplicate and therefore being Childfree has always been the best choice. How would I benefit from hearing people complain about a choice I have consciously decided not to make? I can’t provide any insight other than saying “Well, you made this choice.”, I can’t. There’s honestly nothing else I can possibly say to satisfy a parent. I still care about the rights of Autistic People as a whole and with that being said, I do what I can with my Childfree stance intact. There are facebook groups for Childfree individuals. There are instagrams, twitter accounts, websites, even Childfree Cruises and the Not-Mom Summit. A community which thrives. I’m not going to stop doing what I am doing because one person thinks I need to be a certain way.
I am not sure if any of my readers or viewers of my videos saw me on tv, heard me on the radio or read my quotes (in various articles) but I wanted to talk about what it’s like being an outspoken advocate with a much wider reach.
It can be exhausting, exhilarating and rewarding.
On one hand, I feel privileged and fortunate to have that kind of platform but on the other hand it required a lot of masking and time to emotionally decompress. I also wanted to mention that I did not rehearse anything I said. Everything was on the spot and completely spontaneous.
If anyone is wondering how this came about: Twitter. I get pretty outraged about things and I find that it seems to be a platform with a very receptive audience. I can’t recall what was the first media source that alerted me to the whole Laurie Guerra/AutismBC issue, but, as a member of the community where she is presently serving, I felt as though it was my duty, not only as a civilian but as an Autistic person, to throw my feedback in to the mix. I was heard. WE (the autistic community) were heard. It’s not okay to serve one group of marginalized people and then say negative things about a curriculum that is supposed to teach school-aged children acceptance and awareness for those who are LGBTQ2+.
Any time I see a pertinent issue, I try to get involved, amplify the message of those who are allies, friends & the Autistic community. I feel fortunate that I have found a purpose. There is hope and strength in our message that comes through our activism.
This can not happen again. We will not be dissuaded.
Here’s the radio interview. A special thanks to Brianne for not only recording, but uploading it on youtube.
I have also updated my ABOUT section so you’ll be able to see the links for all my press!