The reality of how cure culture interrupts the neurodiversity movement
The above scene is quite poinient to the topic of this article. Here we have Rogue, a mutant who kills everything she touches, and Storm, who can control the weather.
One might be forgiven for not necessarily seeing the connection between this and Autistic experience, but it is in fact a very good allegory for the battle between the normative violence of cure culture, and the neuroqueering approach of a lot of the Autistic community. Rogue and storm disagree on the benefits of a cure because they both have different profiles of how they embody their Self and experience the world.
In much the same way, Autistic people who support cure culture are ostracised and spoken poorly of. I’m going to let you in on something, I used to be one of then. I longed for someone to make me “normal”. I was tired of being the outsider. I, of course, was lucky enough to discover the Autistic community. I learned how to co-exist with my particular profile of traits and intersections. I was taught how to make the best of being a marginalised person, and came to see the harmfulness of cure culture.
Not everyone has had the access to the community I have had.
There in lies the crux of the matter. The cult of normality, peddlers of normative oppression, face less scrutiny while our energies are spent fighting amongst ourselves. While hearing the harmful views of those who are yet to dismantle their internalised ableism is difficult, we need to give them the space to learn and grow with us. If we are fighting each other, we are not fighting the system.
This isn’t to say that we should excuse or accept harmful words or behaviour, more a commentary on the idea that everyone is at a different stage on their journey of discovery and growth. Much as we were brought in from the harsh cold of society, we need to create a space where those with less knowledge and self-acceptance are willing to listen to us and grow alongside us.
Cure culture has done so much harm. From the children being fed bleach, to the trauma Autistics experience hearing those stories, to the civil wars in our own communities. We need to find a way of showing that we understand.
This is what we need to understand; all of us have our own unique experience of being Autistic. Much as Rogue and Storm has vastly different experiences of being mutants, not every Autistic person has a profile of traits and intersections that is congruent with our own. Some of us have been so traumatised that we can not come to terms with our Self. We need to help people come to love who they are, even if that person has more negative experiences than we do.
We need to consider how we create a world that truly accommodates diversity, and not just the pretty, idealistic version of diversity that sells t-shirts and pays lip service during company diversity campaigns.
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