Apparently Autism needs preventing?

The world is not okay.

We are not okay.

Autistic people are not okay, S10k has served as a stark reminder that we are treated as a burden upon not just the people that we love, but society as a whole.

Autistic people are subject to woefully inaccurate and outdated stereotypes that do a great deal of harm to us as a community. For a long time the Autistic community has pushed back against the idea of a linear spectrum, with the “severely disabled” at one end, and bright young mathematicians at the other end. Despite this we still have the likes of Simon Baron-Cohen espousing the need to preserve the young men who have mathematical skill, should a cure or pre-natal test be developed. This says a lot about his views on Autistic people as a whole. It’s eugenics, funded by a capitalist society that decides the value of our lives based on our financial productivity. Eighty years since Hans Asperger “saved” the useful Autistics, while dispensing the lives of those he deemed unworthy, we are still fighting for the right of all Autistics to exist, regardless of special skills or capitalist worth. In 2021 are we witnessing Simon Baron-Cohen morphing into the Hans Asperger of the 21st century?

The truth is, Autistic people are more than a medically diagnosed group. We are an identity-based minority, with a rich culture. A culture that we are excited to share with the world, even in the face of the worlds abject hatred of all that diverges from the neuromajority.

We are everywhere, we are your doctors, your lawyers, your shopkeepers, your shelf-stackers. We entertain you as artists, actors, directors. We are your friends, family, neighbours. Even if we aren’t yet identified (largely thanks to those inaccurate stereotypes skewing the diagnostic process).

We are human.

We have thoughts, feelings, emotions.

We have deep empathy and compassion. It can be overwhelming. S10k is overwhelming, which is how it felt last week when Spectrum 10k was announced, by non-autistic researchers, led by two non-autistic men who have strong links to organisations abhorred by the Autistic community, and supported and promoted by white men, cure culture, and an all round attitude of being pro-eugenics.

S10k has been peddled by people who are not autistic, don’t understand autistic culture, and don’t even understand the nature of this research. Indeed, nobody understands the nature of this research because of the secretive nature of those in control. The truth has been obfuscated in an attempt to gaslight Autistics into giving their DNA to those with ill intent, or for future use by those who mean us harm.

“There’s no way that we can ever say that a future political leader or a scientist won’t use the research for eugenics.”

Simon Baron-Cohen

Are we really at the point, in 2021, where we have to beg for our right to exist?

Because if that is the case, we are collectively pleading with you to boycott this study.

How can we ignore the fact that Baron-Cohen and Gerschwind have previous ties to Autism Speaks and Aims2Trials. Both of these groups are known to either look for a cure, or fund those who are.

Why are we pleading? The effects of this betrayal by society have taken a huge toll on our collective mental health. In the week since this has launched, the damage that has been done has been immense, imagine what further damage this study could do if left to fulfil it’s aims.

The study claims to be looking into the causes of poor wellbeing in Autistics. They already know what causes it, and it’s not in our DNA. It is, however, quite possible that the thought of our parents having the choice to abort us does cause the poor wellbeing they claim to be so invested in preventing.

Imagine what the Autistic community could do with that money; We could train the whole of the U.K on improving mental wellbeing for Autistics, training on supporting us in a disabling environment.

Are you Autistic? What would you do?

Will you stand by while our DNA is misused by those who seek to destroy us?

Please, do not give your DNA to these people. Do not allow them to destroy the rich culture that we have spent decades cultivating and nurturing.

Sincerely,

The Autistic Community.

This article was a collective effort by the team at Boycott Spectrum 10k and the Autistic community at large.

Please join us Twitter tonight at 7pm BST by following the link below.

@BoycottSpect10k

To read and sign the full statement against S10k, click here.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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