In early 2005, Bob and Suzanne Wright founded Autism Speaks with the intention of giving autistic people all across the spectrum a better quality of life. I was 11 years old and in the middle of 4th Grade when I first heard about this organization, and I thought that they were going to help me and my kind teach neurotypical people to accept us as we are so that we can live in harmony. Now, ten years later, we are in the middle of Autism Awareness Month, which should be rewritten as Autism ACCEPTANCE Month because guess what. All Autism Speaks wants to do is “cure” autism by wiping us off the face of the earth.
I know it sounds very dramatic–I can be quite the drama queen at times–but allow me to explain what’s going on here.
For the past decade, Autism Speaks has been advertising propaganda in which they claim autism is a “growing health crisis”; autism is a disease that “spreads faster than diabetes, cancer and AIDS combined”; and that children with autism and their families “are alive but they’re not living.”
What’s more, Autism Speaks calls on every country in the world to Light It Up Blue–from the Empire State Building in New York to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Their so-called autism awareness campaign makes it all the more reason for me to call Autism Speaks the Nazi Party of the 21st century. All they’ve been doing is adding more fuel to the fire of persecution that we thought we’d leave behind after graduating public school, where the bullying of autistic students is rampant simply for being lions who don’t concern themselves with the opinion of the sheep–in other words, not acting or behaving the same way as everyone else.
Even worse, Autism Speaks had famous celebrities sponsor their campaigns–Toni Braxton, Tommy Hilfiger… Shit, they even dubbed Yoko Ono, widow of “Imagine” singer John Lennon, their Global Autism Ambassador! Need I mention that, in 2009, they got future Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón to create the ever controversial short I Am Autism? In the short film, a narrator personified as the Grim Reaper gives the audience a negative portrayal of what life is like for children and families with autism, with statements such as “If you’re happily married, I will make sure your marriage fails,” “Your neighbors are happier to pretend I don’t exist–of course, until it’s their child,” and “I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams,” among other awful things.
So, now that I got those facts out, I got a few things I want to say to Suzanne Wright, the female Nazi leader of Autism Speaks:
First, autism is NOT a growing epidemic, obesity is.
Second, autism is not as terrible as diabetes, cancer and AIDS, the real diseases that require the most medical attention.
Third, autistic people like myself and their families are alive and well and living in Paris, London, Tokyo, Miami, the world over.
Lastly, I lived my entire life believing that autism is a curse. Now I see that the only thing that makes autism a curse is people like you who endlessly persecute me and everyone else on the spectrum with your damn propaganda brainwashing neurotypicals into thinking that we should be dead in order to be relieved of our “disease.” Autism is a gift that makes whoever it chooses to use it to their advantage to achieve greatness on their own terms. Here’s a list of famous autistics (confirmed or debated) who are living proof of that statement:
– Satoshi Tajiri, game designer creator of the Pokémon series (which I’m an avid fan)
– Heather Kuzmich, contestant on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 9 (she still models but is now studying video game design)
– Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University
– Daryl Hannah, actress
– John Elder Robison, author of Look Me In the Eye and engineer
The last person on this list, Robison, resigned from Autism Speaks in November 2013 after you published an op-ed piece in which you laid out your views of autism that were severely different from his. And for that, I applaud him for standing up for his own people.
We don’t need to be cured. All we need is ACCEPTANCE, not awareness along with persecution.