F*ck autism awareness.

Hello again.~ I skipped March due to absentmindedness and sickness, but I’m not keeping track so you shouldn’t, either. F*ck It! Fridays is a monthly column wherein I call bullshit on otherwise overrated, ableist shit. Today, I’m focusing on what the autism community refers to as “autism awareness”, during their “Autism Awareness Month”. On their “World Autism Awareness Day”, I trolled the respective Twitter hashtag and called autism community members out on their BS.

If you’re familiar with this column, you know it means no holds barred and to proceed at your own discretion.

The issue with Autism “Awareness” observances

Replace “Autism Awareness” in the observances (day and month) with literally anything else, but most accurately being the name of an actually autistic person you know, e.g.

  • Jane Awareness Day
  • Jane Awareness Month

If it sounds ridiculous to you, there you have it: the issue. Because you don’t need to be made aware of a person who exists more than once, right? You meet Jane, and you know her! You’re highly aware of her existence. She exists. What is it that you need to be made aware of, exactly?

Selfie taken while laying down; hand facing palm-up over face

Apparently, a lot. Because Jane is autistic. According to the autism community (non-autistic people), Jane needs to be cured of her Janeness. They want her Janeness to disappear. But…who the fuck is she going to be when you remove that Janeness? As I explained previously, Jane is the epitome of my entire being, so if you remove Jane, you’re reverting me to someone in my past that is not me, but someone everyone else wanted…a persona controlled by the people around me.

Because isn’t that all it fucking is—a desire to have someone be the complete opposite of their being?

The autistic community (actually autistic people) see autism as much a part of them as their hair and eye colors. You can mask those colors, by dyeing your hair or wearing colored contact lenses, but the colors will remain the same underneath.

We also don’t want your fucking awareness—not that anyone’s listening to us, because the autism community’s voices are raised higher and louder, because they see us as things to be fucking pitied: Look at the poor autistic people! They’re missing key parts of them to make them more like us, more acceptable to society! I’m so conflicted by their autism, because I’m accustomed to ableism! Look at me, instead, during this month/day, because I’m in such turmoil from their autism—which is also my autism, because autism affects everyone involved. It’s a disease that needs to be cured!

Cry me a fucking river.

Jane Awareness Day.

Jane Awareness Month.

Hi, I’m Jane. Lovely to meet you—I mean, I assume. That’s what social protocol requires me to say, despite my lack of awareness in regard to what meeting you is actually like. It’s just a fucking platitude I’ve learned to say, even to people whom meeting is the precise opposite.

Now that you know me, perhaps instead of being aware of me, you should accept me—though it’s not like I care, because I don’t live for anyone’s approval. It’d just be kind, you know, if you’d stop acting like I’ve leprosy and you’re going to catch it.

Autism “Awareness” Day/Month makes about as much sense as “Lesbian Awareness Day/Month” would. It’s probably why LGBT Pride Month exists.

It’s why the autistic community does not celebrate “awareness” during April, but acceptance. Because it’s our month—not yours. Because it’s acceptance that we need.

Because anything else makes it sound like autism is a fucking cancer, when it isn’t.

Because “awareness” leads to nothing more than misinformation, stigma, fear and everything else in between.

Because “awareness” is nothing more than an observance for the non-autistics to pat themselves on the backs for helping the “less fortunate” autistic people whose voices cannot be heard—not because they lack voices of their own, but because they are ignored—in favor of the autism community. Because society devalues disabled people, or anyone whose abilities adhere not to the norm.

A lot more can be said about this topic, so rant away. All comments are held for approval, but this is more to weed out the bullying. Sound off your feelings re: autism “awareness”.

This is especially a safe space for actually autistic people.

If you loved this post, please share or buy me a pretzel:

Leave a comment

Comments on this post

I couldn’t agree with you more. I have a younger brother who was recently diagnosed with Autism after years of being told that he needed to be “fixed” and that there was something wrong with him by his teachers and other people who interacted with him and I always called BS on it. He wouldn’t who he is if he wasn’t autistic or if he was “fixed”. Sometimes I hate to see him struggle but rather than trying to change him I love him for who he is. Awareness for anything is BS. He lives with it every day. For everyone else to be aware of it one day a year or one month a year is complete and utter crap. I don’t need someone to be aware that I need to take insulin and that I may need to inject in public in order to get it on time. I need them to accept it and move on.

Reply to this »

It’s interesting how often we want to “fix” people who don’t feel they need to be fixed. As a mom, I’ll confess that I get it sometimes–it’s hard to see your kid deal with something that causes struggles. My oldest was never officially diagnosed with autism, but I was told she was probably on the spectrum. She struggled in social situations, and I’ll admit that it broke my heart—especially when I’d see that kids at school were being cruel OR that she was lashing out because of the constant pressure to fit into a mold she just couldn’t fit. I finally pulled her out and homeschooled her, and it was the best thing I ever could have done–she blossomed without that constant pressure. But if I’m being honest, there were days that I wished I could “help” her be more like other kids because I worried. I worried that she would have a hard life. I worried that one day she would have a hard time with relationships or a job. I worried that I wasn’t doing the right things as a parent to give her the best chances in life. Now that she’s sixteen, she can tell me when I just shouldn’t worry so much–and it’s sort of refreshing. She’s funny and crazily intelligent and she doesn’t always do things the way I or others expect her to—and that’s just fine. And you’re right–if I’d been able to “help” her be more like other kids when she was younger, it might have made her life a little easier, but she wouldn’t be her, so in the end we all would have been losing out–maybe without even knowing it.

Reply to this »