Are you or aren’t you?

There’s a thing that happens a lot…

Someone does something awful or says something awful about autistic people, and then when they’re called out on their awfulness, they play the “Well, how do you know I’m not autistic?”

Simply put: We don’t know whether that person is autistic or not.

We do know that if they play the “am I and aren’t I?” game, they aren’t living the full experience of being autistic. You can’t live the full experience unless you publicly identify and experience the shift (loss) in privilege. You can’t live the full experience until you experience the stigma, the loss of friends, the silencing, and the devaluing of your opinions.

We also know that being autistic doesn’t give anyone a free pass in terms of being a bigot. Autistic people can be bigots too. We can be ableist too. Autistic people can be assholes too. No one gets a free pass just because they’re (maybe – maybe not?) autistic when they’re perpetuating oppressive practices.

I know that many people do go through a process of exploring their neurology. It can be a lengthy process, but during the time, you can’t try play both sides of the field – you can’t be autistic when called out on your oppressive practices, but non-autistic when you’re contributing to the oppression. It simply doesn’t work that way.

Be honest. If you think you might be autistic, say “I think I might be autistic.” Don’t play the “Well, how do you know I’m not?” game. When you do that, you’re trying to hold on to privilege all over the place. You’re holding on to non-autistic privilege while also expecting us to respect your oppressive opinions because you might be autistic. Don’t do that. It’s not cool.

Again, it really is ok to be exploring your own neurology. It’s ok to own that process and say “I’m exploring. I think I might be.” A lot of us have been there too. It is not ok to play the “Am I or aren’t I?” game when you get called out on your bullshit.