I have been working devotedly on the Boycott Autism Speaks movement. I am proud to stand in opposition of the "charity" Autism Speaks, which so blatantly describes my family as not really living, but then profits off the heads of my children. I am proud to stand with the dream team of Autistic and parent activists collaborating on this effort. As expected, we have already faced criticism. Most of these reoccurring attempts to derail are centered around the shallow idea that boycott is negative in nature. This notion illustrates one of the major hurdles that we all must face. Perceptions of Autistic people, their lives, their needs, their contributions, are so opposite of Autistic reality, that the non-Autistic majority cannot even imagine the truth. The truth is that this boycott is not negative. The truth is that this boycott is posAutive.
When a group of people comes under attack by a powerful entity determined to eradicate their kind, that's a negative.
When that group of people unites to say NO, stop attacking us, we don't want to be eradicated, that's a positive.
When Suzanne Wright sends out a call to action, telling the world that Autism is a tragedy, burden, and national emergency, that's a negative.
When Autistics and their loved ones come together to share the beautiful actuality that Autism is, that's a positive.
When an organization claims to be serving Autistics, but refuses to include Autistics in positions of leadership in order to guide the care that the organization provides, and instead uses it's power and influence to serve their own non-Autistic agenda, that's a negative.
When an organization serving Autistics is actually run by Autistics, and they use their intrinsic understanding to provide authentic supports and better their own lives, to empower their own, that's a positive.
When the good people of the world want to help, but they unknowingly give their time and money to a "charity", which spends the money unethically and uses it to cater to their own needs, that's a negative.
When the good people investigate how their donations are spent, figuring out that the "charity" is in fact unethical, and then they stop giving their hard earned time and money to that "charity", that's a positive.
I resent having to explain the irony of how Autistic people are perceived and treated, pitied and feared, over and over and over again. I understand that some people are simply ignorant. I know I was in the beginning. I know I still am in ways I cannot imagine. This one is so obvious though. The way Autism Speaks treats Autistic people is inhumane, but because the world thinks that it is Autistics that are less than human, the kind of dangerous bigotry Autism Speaks spreads is perceived as altruistic, as helpful, as positive.
Don't tell me to say NO nicely, because there is nothing nice or positive or good about Autism Speaks. Don't scold me for defending my own children. Don't shame me for confronting the world with truth. Don't derail me. Don't derail this boycott. Don't lie to yourself and think staying neutral in a struggle for civil rights makes you a positive person. Don't think it is anything more than immoral to get in our way.
Don't ignore the Autistic plea to be treated with dignity and respect.
It won't work anyway.
Good, and love, and positivity always win.
That is the side we stand with.