I suppose as I sit and write this there is a moment where I wonder if this is going to be heard at all. Or largely ignored, maybe it doesn’t matter in the scheme of things, but to me I think it’s important that we read this and understand something. Critiquing something doesn’t mean you hate it. In fact it sometimes can be an act of love. This is not a protest or an ultimatum. This is my observations and what I think might be best for the Central Ohio/OSU chapter of ASAN.
It occurs to me now, why I feel so ignored by a bunch of privileged academics in offices making choices for the National branch. It is the same feeling I get when I am ignored by a population or excluded. It’s the feeling of alienation and for an organization that has been alienated and ignored by the greater typical population, it feels ironic. This alienation comes from not following the party line. Not actively protesting against AutSpks, or having a taupe or grey ribbon. Makes you somehow invisible, if you don’t dump your resources into traumatic emotionally exhausting protests in which we feel like we have been eviscerated in front thousands of parents. This is what has being going on with ASAN Columbus and myself. We’re being divorced by National.
Our Lead said it last night “We’re already considered a rogue chapter” during the meeting we had last night. It’s pretty much true, we’re not following the party line and we have bigger and more pressing fish to catch. Like employment, and education and health resources. We have to worry about the next generation and what they are going to inherit when we become ash and bone. Do they want a protest group against AutSpks or an organization that will help them keep their heads above water? Most of us are drowning. Autistics are going hungry, they are getting abused by caregivers, locked in institutions, imprisoned, sexually assaulted, abandoned and they only thing we are doing to help our brothers and sisters, is protesting against a bigger organization with deeper pockets and more resources. We’re fighting against a kraken with a rowboat and no one seems to question it.
I will say though before anyone judges me, that I am against AutSpks, I think it’s horrible, but I know better. You need to reach people one at a time; you need to educate, friends, family and coworkers. You can’t assume that your pamphlets and flyers are enough; you need to sit down with them and one at a time make them see the damage. We’re already seen by the majority as that ‘militant autism group’, we shouldn’t have that reputation. But we do. It’s that reputation is why I never came out as an activist to my coworkers until recently. I don’t want to make enemies. I still don’t, but I guess this will make few now. Might as well put on my pirate hat and charge forward.
Now I have been personally slighted. I have worked with National to make tools for the majority of autistics out there. I enjoyed it and I was looking forward to the next project. So imagine my surprise when the next tool came out (which I saw on tumblr) and it was about a topic I had a lot of interested in. So I was hurt and in pain and angry about being excluded more so because the one in charge was Mel Yergue. So Brutus shoves the dagger a bit deeper. When I asked for an explanation on why on Facebook, I get no response, I call Em Titon and we have a heart to heart. Then she drops a bomb, ASAN did see my call-out. But they though it was a suicide message, she told me that they were going to have folks call or message me to make sure I was alright. She was the only that reached out to me. No one else did. I guess they were too busy protesting to care. It’s really sad and really angering at the same time. Because even if I did overdose on tequila and Percocet they probably wouldn’t have noticed my bloated rotting ass in the bathtub until some someone mentions it on Tumblr or Facebook. If I am lucky, you guys suck at ‘suicide watch’ bytheway.
I don’t regret anything that I am writing; I don’t regret getting a target on my ass. I don’t care, because I don’t think anyone will notice or respond to me. They haven’t so far so why would they start now. But I will say this to all the baby activists out there, just know what you want from your work; know what you hope to achieve. Don’t join a group thinking that they will always support you. Because when you don’t follow their modus operands they will throw you away. I am nothing to this group, I have been for five years, I don’t know what they want from me or what I can do, but at this point I am getting on my Viking longshot and braving new lands without the Jarl’s support.
One more thing, I am not ‘quitting’ ASAN, but at this rate it will be soon when I am done affiliating with them.