So what emotion should Autistic Pride Day bring out in us? How should we celebrate? On days like this, my thoughts turn to the majority of autistic people throughout the world who are not yet able to celebrate autistic community. Some are suffering in special education classrooms and institutions that teach them to hate and fear the way they move, think, feel and are. Others are like the majority of autistic adults – as yet unaware of our community and their own neurology, but struggling with a profound sense of difference that they have never been able to understand or explain to the world.
To me, Autistic Pride Day means solidarity with those parts of our community that have not yet had the opportunity to be proud. It means thinking about how we reach further and farther. Autistic space, community and culture should be available to all of us, early-, late- and un-diagnosed, speaking and non-speaking, with and without intellectual disability, of all races, religions, orientations, disabilities, genders and every other facet of difference. It should be available whatever your politics or views on the controversies that motivate much of our advocacy. It should be your birthright, however you communicate and experience the world….
We are fighting for inclusion in a broader society that is not like us. Opening up that society must always be our goal – the places where we live, work and experience most of our lives will always be amidst the non-autistic majority. But to survive in a world where we are different, we have to be able to find places where we can feel at home with others who understand the toll that takes – and whose company can lift that burden, if only for a time.