June 18 is Autistic Pride Day, a confusing moniker during Pride Month for a day apparently not created for autistic people who are LGBTQ+ but for autistic people in general to celebrate pride in their neurodivergence.
As both an autistic woman and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I was surprised to learn about the non-queer nature of Autistic Pride Day. It’s during Pride Month, which is a queer-specific thing, so it makes no sense that it isn’t a queer autistic celebration.
And so, in an effort to make a clarification, I propose that April 3 shall be celebrated as Actually Autistic Day for the first time in 2021, which is next year. The #ActuallyAutistic hashtag has existed for years, created as a safe space for autistic people to communicate with one another without the involvement of allistic (non-autistic) people. [The “actually” part of the #ActuallyAutistic hashtag is not to exclude autistic people who have no formal diagnosis or people with different support needs – it’s meant to exclude people who aren’t autistic themselves, like parents and siblings of autistic people or professionals who provide services for autistic people, as these allistic people talk over us in almost every other autism-related space.]
April 3 makes the most sense to me for a day to celebrate our particular type of neurodivergence, queer or otherwise. April is Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month, though it is often quite traumatic for autistic people because allistics have appropriated and co-opted the narrative to center on them, not us. April 2 is World Autism Day, which is the worst barrage of people talking about us without us. So April 3 would be our day, specifically, as autistic people. Truly a Nothing About Us Without Us day.
Let those of us who are queer autistics reclaim Autistic Pride Day as a queer-friendly, queer-centered celebration during Pride Month.
Let all of us who are autistic reclaim a day during Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month for ourselves and move the “proud to be autistic” day to April, when it makes more sense, and give it a name that does not appropriate LGBTQ+ pride.
Next April 3, I hope you join me in celebrating Actually Autistic Day.
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