Friday, June 18, 2021

Comments by RachelLizMargRees

Showing 5 of 5 comments.

  • Sorry for the slow response. Blame Ajit Pai as my Internet keeps going out every minute (I am not kidding).

    I wasn’t criticizing you. I was responding to the author because a big misconception of the autism rights movements is that we support depathologization because autism creates “benefits”. That is not my thinking and it has never been. I have a right to live my life. I have a right to live my life by my rules, to have friends who accept me for who I actually am, to be affirmed in my female gender, to engage in the things I am passionate about, to stim, and to have my natural way of being NOT labeled as a medical condition that should be gotten rid of. I was pathologized when I was too young to understand anything. I don’t want to have the things I am interested in, my “rigidity” (standing up for my rights and not giving in to those in authority), my pleasant movements, or the social exclusion caused by other people not tolerating my existence labeled as a disorder and I also don’t like the idea that things are separate from me (see the godawful phrase “see the person, not the disorder”). So, to me, it is about the freedom to live my life and fighting back against the widespread social rejection of my existence (INB4 someone says, “why do care what other people think?” as if social rejection isn’t physically painful and can’t contribute to poor mental and physical health). I don’t feel like my existence needs to justified; in fact, that would contradict my beliefs.

    You are right that most people who experience extreme states don’t want to. That is why I think the approach of many autism rights activists have of expanding their ideas to the entire DSM isn’t good. Different needs, different communities. Depression and anxiety aren’t part of who a person is, they are things that prevent a person from being themselves. By definition, the obsessions of OCD are intrusive and unwanted and the mood episodes are outside the range of a person’s normal behaviour. People with mental health issues won’t accept the neurodiversity paradigm applied to their condition, but that isn’t to say it hasn’t affected the community. The demon child of the medical model and the neurodiversity paradigm is mental health identity politics, which says to autistic people that our existence is a disorder should be gotten rid of, but it also says that mental health issues are “chemical imbalances” that can’t be gotten rid of. Basically, it says a person should be “mentally healthy”, but they can’t, which is harmful to both communities.

    In fact, on Tumblr (terrible site, just upfront), I saw someone say their mental illness was preventing them from being autistic and I would agree with that. One of the great victories, in addition to removing the ASD dx, would be to allow autistic people to be diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. The DSM-5 views social anxiety as a part of autism, which is victim-blamey and has real-world consquences. It ignores the role of marginalization in our symptoms, just viewing it as part of our social differences, and redirects the philosophy of treatment from “accept yourself” (social anxiety disorder) to “change yourself” (“ASD”). If I got a social anxiety disorder diagnosis from a doctor who never diagnosed me with “ASD”, I would feel so validated as it tells my pain is real and that I am worthy of acceptance for who I am.

  • I don’t think there is one or ever will be one. I do want a world where the word autism doesn’t exist and we can just accept people for who they are; however, I don’t think ignoring pathologization (and other forms of discrimination) against autistic people isn’t going to make it go away. So, the best definition is a social constructionist definition. People are certain ways through a variety of mechanisms, but society labels a diverse group of people as “having” “autism spectrum disorder” and marginalizes them for it.

  • One misunderstanding of the “neurodiversity” movement (a side effect of having special education teachers wanting more euphemisms without understanding the message) is that we support autistic people existing because our existence creates “benefits” to society. Wrong! Autism rights activism is ideally anticapitalist and people shouldn’t have to prove their worth in a capitalist, ableist, racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic society. Our existence is inherently worthy.


    I have a right to exist in peace and I will not tolerate anyone who wants to limit my right to exist, period. I don’t care if it is a huge charity like Auti$m $peak$, the teachers who emotionally abused me with a diagnosis as an excuse, TERFs, people who only want to see a romanticized version of me instead of who I actually am (and punish me for being me), or the DSM and the American Psychiatric Association that created it. One of the classic “symptoms” of autism is rigidity and I am 100% proud to say I have it. ANYONE who wants me to not pursue my passions, stop rocking and pacing, want me to assimilate into society, give up my gender identity, not let me transition, want to victim-blame me as having “social communication impairments” instead of oppression, thinks my social anxiety is a good thing, or thinks my existence is a disorder (and/or thinks it is wrong to seek my treatment for my ACTUAL disorders) will not be tolerated. I refuse to be a punching bag.

    It isn’t about autism being a “blessing”. I am an antitheist. The goal is to finally be at peace in a society that says my existence is wrong and enforces it in cruel, yet socially acceptable, ways.

  • The autism rights movement made a huge mistake allying with the anti-psychiatry movement. Autism is something that definitely influences identity. Autistic people have “special interests” (hate that term) and stims, for example, that are usually subjectively enjoyable and can form the basis of a person’s identity; as well, autism is a social minority and many people are reminded of other minority groups who were forced to assimilate. The reason for the autism depathologization/anti-cure movement is more complicated than that, but simply put, it hurts to have your identity be told it is “wrong” or as you rightfully point out, the entire world is telling you your “existence is a medical condition in need of a cure”.

    The anti-psychiatry movement, with the exception of Szaszism (who, by the way, didn’t like being called anti-psychiatry), isn’t based on applying similar ideas to other psychiatric labels. It is based on ideas like, “there isn’t an objective test” (well, there isn’t one for migraine, either) or “antidepressants are evil!!!!”. While the psychiatric establishment should be held to account for its pathologization of our existence, sending our kids to conversion therapy, sending the socially anxious among us (almost all of us) to “social skills” classes that teach us our way of socializing is wrong rather than self-acceptance, and for denying the possibility we could have mental health problems because they incorrectly think our existence is already one, the anti-psychiatry movement sends a harmful message to the most vulnerable of us.

    Other psychiatric labels simply don’t follow the same logic as autism. Like, I have “pure O” OCD, a terrible… thing (to avoid censors) which taunts me with my worst fears, making impossibilities seem like undeniable realities, making me depressed, anxious, and self-hating. OCD, at least obsessions (IDK much about “pure C” OCD and a lot of people have both Os and Cs), is literally a person fighting off thoughts they don’t want to have. It is the opposite of someone’s identity. Whereas, being an autistic trans woman is Who I Am. I WANT (and need) to pursue my passions and to have friends who accept me for me. I WANT (and need) to transition to affirm my female gender in the way I see fit.

    I think we can send both the message that autistic people are fine the way they are AND the message that they can seek help to better their life (ideally, help that doesn’t pathologize our existence). We don’t have to ally with a movement that thinks being unable to have a boner is worse than not eating, not sleeping, having your flight-or-fight response activated every waking moment, fending off customized intrusive thoughts every day, and legitimately wanting to die.