Recently, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism started sharing things related to Trump (specifically Struggling more with disability in the aftermath of the election, Kids With Autism Are Taking Trump’s Rhetoric Literally, Disability Rights Advocates Are Terrified Of A Donald Trump White House, and a link to ASAN asking for donations probably because of the situation ASAN described in Trump’s new appointee: “I’ve got a cure for mental health – spank your children more”).
Some people were upset that they started mentioning politics on their page, as they have been usually neutral on politics, and now they are sharing things related to the President?
Disregarding the fact that it’s their page and they can share whatever they want and none of it was actually saying that the Guide was against Trump, simply sharing things related to autism and him, a page about autism talking about politics shouldn’t be extremely surprising because disability is political, and (if the articles and the vile picture don’t somehow make it obvious) is now more than ever.
The disabled community is the largest minority in the world. All races, nations, genders, religions, movements, etc. have disabled people in them. Autistics specifically are over 2% diagnosed (not including self-diagnosed people or those who are autistic but don’t have the diagnosis). Any issue that affects any other minority group has an effect on the disabled community, and it seems like we’re often much more aware of that intersectionality than the other minorities are, from the ton of articles calling out activist movements for having issues with including us. The effect of this is that any issue that affects any other minority affects us as well, though in our own unique ways (hence Real Social Skills creating an article specifically directed towards us, the first article that I linked).
However, we haven’t been singled out, in fact disabled people, despite being the largest minority, are the most ignored one as well. News on issues against us is very hard to come by, and when it does come out it’s often itself ableist (like the Killing Words in every news report when a disabled child is killed by their caregiver). Even though the Americans with Disabilities Act exists it’s often not followed leaving many locations inaccessible despite the fact that there is a law that says they should be. Then there’s the Battle for Special Education that Tricia went through earlier this year. All of these are issues happening constantly, but the disabled community unfortunately is ignored.
Well, until now…and the President-Elect has me wishing we still were.
Trump is the first President in my lifetime to do…the picture (people are actually saying it was faked…no, just no, it was horrifically real). He also believes that autistics are vaccine-injured, a belief I addressed in We are not, and debunked by explaining the reasons for the increase of diagnoses in my rant against anti-vaxxers. All of a sudden, over one night, we’re afraid.
The services which we rely on he’s threatening to cut. As an autistic activist I’m still trying to figure out what to do in the fight for acceptance when the President of the United States thinks I’m broken. If you’re on Facebook or Twitter there’s no way you could have missed the articles of the violence and hatred against other races but you may have missed the information about the disabled community and the LGBT+ community also being attacked (that community is also underreported). I saw a picture where an ASL speaker was called the r word, and the founder of the Guide posted on her profile about how there was a wave of Trump supporters expressing hatred on their share of the article about us being terrified of the Trump White House.
I don’t know how to describe the feelings I got on the 8th and the days after it to today, other than just an ungodly amount of cycling through despair, rage, and fear. Another autistic in my Autistics Against Anti-Vaxxers (AAA-V) group expressed that he felt betrayed, and I do feel a rather large amount of that as well, frankly, and I’m sure it’s a feeling that all of the minorities who Trump built his campaign on hatred of share.
Since then I have talked multiple autistic/neurodivergent friends down from hurting themselves or worse, and focused on trying to unite communities. I created a group called The Outcast Army for those who are angry or want to share tips for activism that are directly affected by the election (no allies). I’m being active, being political…why?
Our lives are literally at risk, both from violence and if the cuts that are being mentioned happen. We don’t have a choice.
If you aren’t affected and want to be an ally (read What is an Ally? for information on what that word actually means), please spread our voices, stand by our sides, provide support and validation for our hurt…but whatever you do, don’t tell us to stand down.
Don’t tell us to give in and accept, to go quietly into the night.
Don’t tell us to give him a chance when he’s already threatened to make cuts that will quite possibly kill many disabled people.
Don’t tell us to tone it down.
Don’t tell us to stop, because we’re just getting started. For our lives and livelihoods, we can do no less. We didn’t start this fight, we didn’t ask for this to happen, but we’re fighting back. Please stand by our side.