Hello, April. I looked at the calendar today. I see that you are near.
I see that you are near and I am scared. I have experienced you before.
I have seen you with your “Awareness” (the Awareness of why I suck and why you should feel sorry for the people who have to live with me and put up with me).
I have seen your blue balloons and blue icing on cupcakes.
I have seen your get-togethers. I have seen your speeches and your blog posts and your newspaper articles.
I have seen your comments all over social media.
I will hear and read, like I have heard and read before, that you are a time of “Celebration”.
We all know that you are not usually about celebration; but most often about pathologisation, inspiration porn, and the social normalcy of ableism that is so accepted that it seems invisible.
April, by the time you are through I will probably be so tired of fighting for my right to exist, my right to be free of harmful therapies, my right to privacy and dignity and respect, and my right to speak about my own life.
I will be tired of looking at the thinly veiled ableism passed off as “celebration” all around me.
I will be tired of hearing words like “hope”, “despair”, “grief”, and “behaviour”. I will be tired of the parents who spend their time yelling “Me me me me! Look at me!”. It will be exhausting to deal with them as they simultaneously push back against the disability rights movement everywhere they get the chance (and claiming things like aggression, being silenced, and not like my child).
April, I am an autistic person. And you scare the shit out of me. You are what reminds me that I am not a Real Person. You are what reminds me of the hate that passes for anything but; the hate which lurks everywhere and which I cannot (yet) escape. You are like every encounter with an ableist person, multiplied by constantly and every day.
I am not ready for you, yet I know you are coming regardless. Like all the other “Awareness” campaigns, it does not matter to you whether you really help the people you purport to represent. I know you exist because of ableism, and you are the painful reminder of how that thrives.