Today is autistic pride day. It’s been celebrated since like 2005 and was controversial from the start. Joel Smith, oen of the editors of Autistics.org, wrote a post explaining why he didn’t want to be associated with the “oh so intelligent” autism stereotype. Neither do I. I may be intelligent, but this is not something I’m proud of, and basing autistic pride on people’s supposed intelligence, is discriminatory towards those with intellectual disabilities.
To be honest, I’m not generally proud to be autistic. I know many autistics and parents of autistic children who do not find pride in autism. Really, why should we be proud of a disability? We should be proud of ourselves, our families, the communities we belong to. This may include the autistic communty. We should be proud of what we contribute – and everyone contributes something. I am proud of my creativity and my perseverance. Whether these are related to autism, is beside the point.
In my opinion, pride in autism derived from positive autistic characteristics, discriminates agianst autistics who do not share these characteritics. Like, not all autistics are good writers (or can write at all), perseverant, or as I said intelligent. You can be proud of these characteristics in yourself, but saying these make up your autistic pride, is ableist.
I want to reach out to all autistics, whether they have the skills necessary to participate in a pride event or not. I also want to reach out to the parents and carers of those who cannot participate in autistic pride day. I’m pretty sure all of them find something in the autistic they care for that they are proud of. After all, everyone has a reason to be proud.