It’s very difficult to watch the BoycottToSiri protest that I mentioned last week go, effectively, nowhere.
Autistic Twitter is a pretty darned intersectional place. We talk about race, gender, sexuality, and the larger group of disability. We rarely talk much about religion, but people haven’t gotten all upset with me because I do, and someone probably should address religion, so I and a few others fill the quieter space for that. We fight with each other sometimes, because it’s hard to unlearn a lot of old stereotypes we learned before we realized we used to fight back against them before we were taught the social rule of “you must do x or you are a bad person.”
Anyway, my point is, other than some fabulous parents of Autistics who are truly interested in hearing our voices (by the way, thanks for this, parents!), I maybe only saw one Disabled activist who wasn’t Autistic talking about it (there probably were many more, but some of the people on my own Twitter list seemed strangely silent, and it didn’t come up in the intersectional spaces I’d imagine it ought to have.
Because, remember, we’re talking about forced sterilization of a Disabled person without his consent.
Unfortunately, all this was going on at the same time the U.S. government was passing this huge taxbill which is, well, not good. And, unfortunately, a lot of people only had so many spoons and it was overwhelming.
I get that.
I also get the reality that Disabled people in general are used to the idea that people talking about their bodies and what to do about them is status quo. It’s still wrong, but it’s so very much a part of their everyday existence that it’s like when Black people ignore a race-based protest. To them, it’s another Wednesday or whatever, but us privileged folk (and so often, Disabled twitter writers can pass as Neurotypical) are incensed because we see this as unusual. That’s another reason why, I think, the bigger Disability community didn’t get upset with us.
There’s another double-edged sword here. I am still waiting to hear back from an agent about representation, and she did mention she does look for people who won’t go offending a huge audience. This is the reality of life as we live it: gatekeepers want people who don’t get upset when another author publishes her work, or at least, we can get angry if and only if everyone else is angry, too. A huge Trump protest? Fine…you’ve got numbers. This sort of thing? What am I trying to do, piss off one of the big six publishers?
So, there’s that, too. And that’s also why I didn’t volunteer that I had this blog and Twitter account.
But I’m Autistic and I was never really good at the social rule that said you shut up when you see or hear about oppression. It may have taken me years to get awoken to all the oppression around me (and I’m still learning and still making mistakes), but once I knew it was oppression, there I was, speaking up.
It hurts me too much not to speak up.
And this is what the lived reality is about being an Autistic, in general.
There are a few of us who are ridiculously nice; they do a better job at passing in intersectional places. There are tokens in every community, and I guess I shouldn’t criticize them.
But this hurts. The people who have the privilege of standing with us haven’t come.
Is it because their spoon drawers are depleted? Is it because they don’t know or don’t care?
Or is it they believe we should, in fact, be treated in this way?