Author : Peter Wynn
76 years ago, today, one of the most evil despots in twentieth century history shot himself in the head rather than being surrendering to the British, Americans and Russians. Allies who knew this, anti-Nazi Germans, political prisoners and probably even some ordinary German military personnel must have felt relief at this. The same kind of relief that I feel that the month of April is over.
Whilst I fully support April 2 being Autism Awareness Day, I agree with Paul Micallef, that the approach needs to be changed. When the UN did it, autism was little understood. I would like the UN to issue a statement calling for campaigns such as, Light It Up Blue to be abolished and replaced with Autism Acceptance Day, instead. But Autism Acceptance should not be for one day a year, it should be for 365 (366 in a leap year) days a year.
Why is Light It Up Blue offensive? Well, historically, blue has been a colour associated with males, and pink with females. For example, Breast Cancer Awareness symbols are pink. A colour traditionally associated with males undervalues autistic females and non-binary folks. I mean, I don’t grow a moustache in November for several reasons. One, I don’t have a lot of whiskers on my top lip, so I’d look more like Toothbrush Charlie (no, not Hitler style) than anything else. Two, I don’t like the sensation of whiskers. And three, I don’t need to grow a moustache to raise awareness of prostate cancer and depression. The former, I see my doctor for a PSA blood test about and the latter, I have been seeing my doctor about for 16 years.
Furthermore, the chief exponent of Light It Up Blue is Autism Speaks, a charity that does NOT speak for autistic people and had to be dragged kicking and screaming to even have autistic people on its board! What this charity doesn’t understand is, many of us autistic people do NOT want to be cured, and a cure is its mission statement!
I am eternally grateful to St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital for hiring a new nurse, who has an autistic goddaughter, and having her in the Day Infusion Unit when I go. The latter is by circumstance, not by deliberate actions. She understands me.
What we aim to do is improve understanding of autism in the community and have autistic people being consulted regarding autism research. I have had people say, “But what about those who want a cure?” and I say, “Unless they’re autistic, they should not have any say in it.” Why? Well, if you had some idiot say to you, “Imagine if you had a bump on the head and you changed? (Only an idiot would say that, as a bump on the head can leave you at risk of dementia, seizures and many other negatives),” surely, you can see what this is about! Other people wanting to change you!
Many autistic people dislike functioning labels and some even dislike the term Asperger’s because it was named after Hans Asperger, who was a Nazi sympathiser. And let us not forget that people who advocate a cure for autism are actually advocating the same thing that Hitler had people like Josef Mengele doing, eugenics.