Hope you’re doing ok. I was trying not to write this blog as I’m a bit exhausted, but I couldn’t not. My brain wouldn’t allow me to switch off otherwise. It’s going to be a bit shorter than usual, for that reason.
So today, I’m going to give the latest news!
- Bad Gays event
On June 10th, I went to the Bookhaus Bristol, for a reading from Huw Lemmey and Ben Miller. I hope I behaved appropriately and not too much like a fanboy. I’m reading their book Bad Gays: A Homosexual History now. I’m getting a lot out of it while I’m making notes for the novel. Get it from Verso Books, the most important left-wing publisher in the UK.
Unfortunately, I relapsed with porn on Friday and Saturday. My brain was exhausted. I’m feeling pretty empty now. I took Sunday off. My intention was to take today (Monday) off as well. I’m clearly failing at that, though I’m at least not writing a full 4000+ word blog. I know that I need to rest, I will when I’ve posted this. At least it’s a beautiful day outside.
- Conversion Therapy ban?
Bad news again: the conversion therapy ban was debated. It was solely about the potential inclusion of transpeople – a shame, but not a surprise. It is important that transpeople are protected. I am just obviously concerned that by limiting the ban to gender and sexuality we are allowing providers to rebrand. The word ‘autism’ fell only once. It was mentioned by Jackie Doyle-Price, a Conservative MP with a record of anti-queer activism and transphobic utterances. She first said the following:
Notwithstanding some of the experiences we have heard about, I could find no evidence of anything happening in a clinical setting after 1970. It became very clear that we were talking about practices that were often based in religious institutions, and very much based on an ideological belief against same-sex attraction and transgender. That is why we need to hammer down on outlawing exactly those things. That is the harm that we are trying to eradicate.
She is wrong. Clinical settings are using ABA and PBS – this is conversion therapy, just by another name. It just affects disabled people. Denying autistic people’s gender and sexual identities is par for the course within these ‘therapies’.
It is also worth noting that the term “trans” can mean any number of things, from declaring oneself non-binary to wanting to go the whole journey of medical and surgical transition. This is where the therapeutic care pathways are so important, because for some people gender dysphoria is a permanent condition that needs to be alleviated with treatment, but for others it can be a symptom of something else. This is not a straightforward condition that has the same pathology in all the people who experience it. We know that it is prevalent among people with autism and that it is very commonly experienced by girls going through puberty.
She is not necessarily wrong if you look at the literal text. That is, until she says “for others it can be a symptom of something else.” She then calls being trans “a condition” with a “pathology” which is gross. The term “with autism” is a dogwhistle. As we discussed last week, in the anglosphere, person-first discourse is used primarily by those in favour of conversion therapy. Together, this adds up to a pretty disgusting subliminal message: the transphobic view that young autistic transmen and trans-nonbinary people are being manipulated into transitioning. That is shared widely by transphobic so-called Trans-exclusionary “feminists.”
She then gets called out for this by Kirsten Oswald, an SNP MP, though not in a way that recognises the severity of what she’s saying:
May I ask the hon. Lady and any other Members in the Chamber thinking of making that connection between trans and autism to be more thoughtful about how they express it? A number of people watching and listening to the debate will find it particularly unhelpful. I think that we can probably be a bit more nuanced in our language.
I felt pretty down after this. My own MP never mentioned autism or neurodiversity. Ah well. It’s pretty disheartening to have to wait 20 years for our rights to be taken as valid, even by the left. All this while the right has already started using us as pawns in their ideological warfare. Let’s continue to count the body as the providers continue to get in via the backdoor. AH WELL. #eugenics #lol
- Pride events (parades etc.)
I forgot to include this in last week’s blog, but it bears mentioning. Making any Pride parade accessible to neurodivergent people is difficult – They’re supposed to be loud, bright and everywhere. We are there when we have the energy to be. They take a lot out of me. My partner even had a meltdown back in 2019 when he was in town at the same time as Pride in London. It was too loud.
We need a better way of including neurodivergent people in Pride. I don’t currently have a solution to this that doesn’t involve changing how Pride works. It should be loud. It should be gaudy and sensorily overwhelming. That’s because queer people need to be undeniably visible. I do know of some ways that will make Pride safer for everyone: no more corporate sponsorship, no more large companies in the parades, no more cops at Pride. The army, the police, financial services, oil companies, politicians that support transphobic, racist, ableist and reactionary politics; as well as other for-profit organisations seeking to pinkwash themselves need to be out. That will make the parade safer already, since these organisations prey on people like us.
Having an Autistic Pride parade that’s distinct from Pride on the whole, like UK Black Pride or Trans Pride in Brighton is not a bad idea. The focus here should be on neurodivergent people, rather than white cis NT gays and lesbians at Pride. They are still welcome, but their voices shouldn’t drown out those whose lives are actually celebrated. The events will have to be made bespoke by the organisers and include a wide range of queer autistic people – especially those who are not white – and their allies. Since Autistic Pride falls in June, this could work well.
- Contact Form and Newsletter
Unfortunately, I am only receiving spam messages from the contact form and the newsletter sign-up. Instead of using those, please use my email to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you if you want to join the blog subscribers.
- Excellent videos I saw this week:
I’ll see you next week.
Lots of love,