First, I’m not planning any violence. And that’s exactly why I’m angry.
I’ve learned that if I say I’m upset, I have to also explain “but that’s okay, I’m not going to kill anyone.” I have to give disclaimers when expressing myself, lest someone misinterpret what I say. And, yes, that makes me angry! Still, I’m not violent and don’t want to hurt anyone. You can be angry without that. See, I had to do it again.
I’m angry because of the power imbalance autistic people have to live with every day in advocacy. If we advocate for autistic people, we have to be particularly careful to let parents of autistic kids know that we understand life is hard for them, even when that has nothing to do with the particular point we’re advocating. We have to be careful to state that we know that there are wonderful parents, and we’re glad about that. Only then are we allowed to talk about the critical issues that affect our lives and the lives of other autistics. But, even then, we’re subjected to inferior status – we can advocate, so long as it isn’t something that any significantly loud group of parents dislikes. Again, more need for disclaimers! Heck, this even happens to those of us who are autistic and parents of autistics both (I’m not, but know many who are).
I’m angry because people want to classify and segregate us into neat little categories. Is he an angry autistic? A quiet autistic? A vocal autistic? A typing autistic? A competent autistic? An incompetent autistic? Low functioning? High functioning? Angelic autistic? Evil autistic? I’m probably all of these and none of these, depending on when and where.
I’d like to be able to just be me! I shouldn’t need to explain why I don’t fit into a certain box, or that someone might be a wonderful parent, or that if I’m upset that this isn’t the same as being violent. I should be allowed to have my emotions, my points of view, my ideas, my being.
Sure, I recognize that I live in a social world with others that have emotions, points of view, ideas, and being all their own. I’m not suggesting that we get rid of that (in fact, I believe it is often a wonderful thing). But I should be able to say, “I’m angry about X” without people looking to see if I am carrying a gun, just as anyone else can say this same thing. Being autistic doesn’t make me dangerous or any of the other things that people might assume about an autistic person. I should be able to say that I’m angry about how some autistics are given quack medical treatments to cure them – without needing to immediately say “but not all parents are bad!” Of course they aren’t – I never said they were!
So, yes, this makes me angry. Again, angry. Not murderous.