It’s a day late for Autistics Speaking Day, but I just had an experience that reminded me just how unthinkable it is that I exist.
So. Today I was on Facebook, reading status updates, when I got an ad for a bracelet to “fight autism”. This is offensive. This is vile. This is an ad being served to me telling me that something fundamental to who I am is a thing that must be fought, because they presume that, because I talk about it:
- I must be an allistic parent of an Autistic child, rather than an Autistic person myself.
- That the only thing to do is “fight autism”. That nobody on facebook who talks about autisticness would have any other view than that “fighting autism” is a good thing and a priority.
This isn’t the first ad to remind me that anyone who uses the keywords I do (“autistic”, which I use way more than “autism”. I should talk about the theory behind this sometime, because I have one. It’s actually, in its own way, “person first”). I get ads that presume I’m a parent rather than Autistic all the time. When I care to, I block them and mark them “offensive” or “against my views”.
I have never once seen an ad on Facebook presuming that the reader was Autistic.
Instead I get assumed to be someone I’m not. Only. I get the assumption that my political beliefs on autisticness are the opposite of what they actually are. Only. The idea that I might be an Autistic person who does not want to be cured is entirely unthinkable.
How unthinkable it is that I exist as a trans woman is a story for another day. But I have experience in that vein, too.