April 03, 2016

What April Does to #ActuallyAutistic People

We're only a few days into the month of April but already Autistic people are running for the hills. It starts with the dread during the final weeks of March. We know what is going to happen.

April is Autism Awareness Month, with April 2nd being the official UN Autism Acceptance Day. Or Awareness. I'm no longer even sure myself. Depending on who you talk to, you're supposed to either accept or be aware (beware?) of Autistics.

Of course, added to all this is Autism $peaks and their Light It Up Blue. Because blue is for boys and females are never autistic!

In response, a lot of Actually Autistic people started #RedInstead. There's also Light It Up Gold, by the Autistic Union (Au, for gold, get it!?)

So there's just a whole lot of posts and memes going around (oops, I'm in the mix as well!), a lot of opinions on which colours should be lit up, a lot of arguing, a lot of blatant ableism, a lot of hurt feelings, friendships lost, energy wasted and on and on and on.

It seems my Actually Autistic friends fall into one of two categories: 1) they either post CONSTANTLY about which side you should be on and if you wear the wrong colour, they'll hate you forever; or 2) go into hiding for the month of April to preserve their sanity.

There's no right or wrong way. Everyone has to do what is best for them, but it does kinda suck for me because I want my friends back - both types, the vocal ones and the quiet ones. Both are hurting. Some express it outwardly and some keep it inside, but April is a tough month. Either way, we're getting hurt because we know there is so much work to do to change attitudes and we are bombarded by messages.

Please understand while many of us are proud of our neurology, proud to be Autistic, and even proud to have your support, this month can be overwhelming and we might be tired of hearing any more about it. Some of us are also without the friendship of the people who understand us best during this time, and that's not always easy to handle either.

Hoping for a day where this month does more to help us than harm us. 

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