The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s this essay going around, in the Washington Post, hailed as brave and courageous. A non autistic disabled meetup groups of an autistic young person wrote, triumphantly, about the time ten years ago she physically forced her kid into a crowded arena to see a show featuring one of their favorite characters, not despite their terror of big crowded indoor places but because of it so she could forcibly expose them to it.
The other parents were upset not because they don’t understand autism but because, shock, they were minimally decent people who recognized abuse when they witnessed it. She literally described the moment her kid got inside the arena as being “indistinguishable from his peers. That is the exact phrase word for word that Ole Ivaar Lovaas used to describe the goal of behaviorism. He founded what we know now as ABA, the supposedly evidence-based treatment for autism that every single autistic adult I know who survived it describes as abuse so traumatic they ALL have PTSD or CPTSD from it.
And she literally calls her kid and every other autistic young person “a burden. She out and says it, directly. What we know most of you all already believe but think it’s politically incorrect to voice. I won’t dignify that article by linking to it here. This parent is publishing a book. Every time you think we have gotten somewhere, we must be reminded, quite violently, we have not. This kind of bile is still worthy of publication more than ten years after I Am Autism and Autism Every Day, and it never really went anywhere in the meantime.
Books and memoirs and fiction and chapbooks we’ve created about autism as autistic people? Back to business as usual. I dread March 1 next year because I know the list will only grow longer. People like this are only worsening the conditions that will get us there. TW: Discussions of involuntary sterilization, abusive parenting, mentions of Nazis, eugenics, intense anti-autistic ableism in general. This is meant for Judith Newman, though I have no idea whether she will ever bother to read this blog post, and frankly, I would be terrified of whatever response she might have. She said that she is “counting the days” until her son turns eighteen so she can gain medical power of attorney and have him sterilized.
She described in graphic detail the contents and types of porn that he watches. She said that she can only imagine him ever having sex with the Benny Hill soundtrack playing along with her mental image of it, and that that means it would have to be going horribly wrong. Yes, it is that bad. Autistic people are human beings.
We can and must make our own medical choices, especially about procedures as invasive and permanent as sterilization. Direct and clear example of modern eugenics. You can’t imagine your son in a sexual situation because he is autistic? You have a serious lack of imagination. Autistic people span the entire sexual and asexual spectrums.
You publicly talked about what kind of porn your son watches. In a New York Times “bestseller. I am so, so horrified, angry, and betrayed on behalf of your son. You are convinced your son will die alone because no girl could ever possibly be interested in him.
That is blatant, horrifying ableism. You are counting down the days until you can involuntarily sterilize your son, which you want to do because he is autistic. I hope he escapes your house. This time next year, I’ll be a licensed attorney. Many actually autistic and other disabled people are too. Believe you me, we will line up to fight you if you try this against his will. I am TERRIFIED for your son, because he has to live with you.
Your book shows your true self. What kind of parent you are. What kind of person you are. And it’s scary as fuck.