Autistic pride day was on June 18th, and there was a lot of discussion about it on Twitter, both by the autistic community, and else where. I have a few opinions on it, and since I’m trying to normalise talking about autism, and being autistic, I thought I may as well share why I didn’t take part or celebrate in anyway.
I feel like I need to start out by saying I think it’s great to have a day focused on being proud of being autistic. I know a lot of people like to bring up that ‘you shouldn’t have pride in something you can’t control!’ and other such total bullshit, but a quick google for the definition of the word pride tells us ‘confidence and self-respect as expressed by members of a group, typically one that has been socially marginalized, on the basis of their shared identity, culture, and experience.’.
Considering how exhausting it can be to just exist in the world as someone who is autistic, and how different most of us feel from the people around us, I definitely think there’s a need to have a day to show pride in being autistic, and the awesome communities and support systems we’ve built for ourselves, both online and in real life.
My issue though, and the reason I didn’t celebrate or take part, is because it’s just the totally wrong time for it, especially considering the organisers decided to use rainbows in the design. During pride month. With the rainbow having already been hijacked for the NHS in the UK, to the point of LGBTQ+ buses and the like being ‘transformed’ to instead be for the NHS, I don’t think it’s appropriate, or okay, to also being hijacking the rainbow, and taking a day in pride month, to have an autism pride day.
Do it next month, or the month after, or pretty much any other month. Don’t use the same kind of rainbow as those showing pride in the sexuality. And perhaps most importantly, don’t argue with LGBTQ+ autistics who are explaining why it’s not cool.
Have pride in being autistic everyday for sure, it’s part of who we are and there’s nothing wrong with that, but come on guys, let’s not take a day out of pride month for it when there’s literally at least 300 days you could have chosen that wouldn’t coincide with anything else that’s equally important.