I am gay.
I know that is important for me to tell you that I am gay because of this graph:
thAutcast Facebook pages Likes and Dislikes, August-September 2011
Most days, two or three people unlike it the thAutcast page on Facebook. I can look at this graph and tell you which days I mentioned something about being gay because every time I do the number of unlikes spikes up.
Lots of people are uncomfortable being part of a Facebook page run by a gay person. Or maybe just being reminded that gay people exist.
And we do exist.
I am autistic.
I know that it is important for me to tell you that because of something that happened yesterday. A Facebook friend of mine linked to an essay she had written about how she thinks autism is probably made up. I wrote back that this made me sad and angry, and people responded that, since I work with an autism website, I should help people learn about autism and be grateful for their interest.
Yes, I run this website and have professional experience as a teacher working with people who have autism.
But that's not why I was hurt and angry-- I was upset because one of my supposed friends thinks it's okay to question my existence.
I have autism.
And I am gay.
And both of those things make me invisible to some people.
And that is why coming out matters.
Julia at Just Stimming wants to talk to us about Quiet Hands:
Flapping your hands doesn’t do anything for you, so it does nothing for me.
I can control it.
If I could just suppress it, you wouldn’t have to do this.
They actually teach, in applied behavioral analysis, in special education teacher training, that the most important, the most basic, the most foundational thing is behavioral control. A kid’s education can’t begin until they’re “table ready.”
I need to silence my most reliable way of gathering, processing, and expressing information, I need to put more effort into controlling and deadening and reducing and removing myself second-by-second than you could ever even conceive, I need to have quiet hands, because until I move 97% of the way in your direction you can’t even see that’s there’s a 3% for you to move towards me.
I need to have quiet hands.
I know. I know.
Julia's hands, when she writes like this, are LOUD.
And that is a wonderful thing.
This 2007 episode of MTV's series True Life shows the lives of three young men with autism:
Jeremy is nonverbal, and we see his social life explode when he begins using an AAC device. Will his classmates come to his party?
Jon is a gifted artistic savant with troubling fits. Will they prevent him from creating his work or attending his own shows?
Elijah an aspie who wants to be a stand-up comic. Should he talk about his autism in his act?
Each young man is shown with depth, humor, and humanity. You won't love everything about it (Jon's doctor is a jerk) but it's a chance to see real autistic guys, living their lives.
Warning: Tourettes, not safe for work.
Guy from Tourette's Karaoke talks about "the people quota" in this video about how he needs to spend a lot of time alone in a dark room in order to be able to tolerate the sensory pain that being around other people causes.
I love this video because I know exactly what he is talking about. And because it's great to hear someone with Tourette's talking like this: like everyone else, except for the tics.
And here's Guy's latest music video.
Addicted to the Civil War
This sketch from all Aspie comedy troupe "Aspergers Are Us" treats special interests (in this case the Civil War) as an addiction. Funny!
No, I don't know why it starts with someone singing "Jingle Bells" in the dark.