J is for Judgment

[CN: filicide; abuse; normalisation]

I was originally going to write about justice for J, but the truth is that we don’t see a lot of justice. We continually fight against the injustice that we face.

When we do that, we’re accused of being judgmental.

We’re told not to judge when a parent murders their child. We’re told that we need to walk in their shoes to understand that things like murdering your child are not black and white. In response, we create flashblogs like #IAmNOTKelliStapleton and Walk in OUR shoes.

The irony is that the people who murder and abuse autistic people are often not judged in the way that they would have been if their victims were not autistic. The justice system hands down lighter sentences and talks about mitigating circumstances, so murderers and abusers are judged less harshly than their victims.

Because their victims share our neurotype, we feel judged. We feel as though being who we are gives people justification to murder and abuse us. Society judges us harshly and we’re repeatedly told not to judge those who judge us as less valuable than everyone else.

We face more judgment in other areas as well. Those of us within the neurodiversity movement are judged by those outside the movement. We’re accused of rejecting the idea of therapeutic treatment. We read critiques of the neurodiversity paradigm which include false notions that acceptance means that we don’t believe in therapy.

Those judgments are all false. We do believe that therapy can be useful, but what we rail against is the idea that therapy needs to be aimed at normalising us. When the “gold standard” of therapy for autistic people is based on the same methods used for gay conversion “therapy”, we have a problem. When everything that we do is judged according to standards of normal set by non-autistic people, we have a problem.

When we embrace our autistic natures and celebrate Autistic Pride, we’re judged by non-autistic people, and we’re told that we’re glossing over the challenges we face. Sadly, this accusation is most often made by parents of autistic children and the challenges that they want us to acknowledge are their challenges. We don’t gloss over our challenges. The blogs written by Autistic people are filled with posts that discuss our challenges. We take pride in being Autistic because we believe that we have the right to respect and dignity even though we are different.

When people murder and abuse us, or when people do not honour our human rights, their actions deserve judgment, and they should be judged accordingly.

This is part of a series of posts addressing themes from the neurodiversity movement and paradigm which will be published during the course of April 2016. To read the rest of the posts, please click here.