Being Autistic doesn’t automatically make you a good person

When I was new to the Autistic community, I was somewhat naive. Compared to the circles I had existed within during active addiction, everyone seemed very supportive and generally decent. Unfortunately, I had a rude awakening. Not all Autistic people have good intentions. We are human, and thus subject to making the mistakes and bad choices that most other humans do also.

One of the primary ways that Autistic people are infantilised is in the assertion of our perpetual innocence. The truth, however, is far from that. We are a community that has been traumatised time and again; subsequently reacting to things through our trauma. Beyond that, we have a fair share of bigots. BIPOC, Queer, and gender diverse communities within Autistic circles know this only too well.

Despite a huge part of our community being multiply marginalised, we are a community where those with privilege still speak over others. Even as a write this, I am aware of my cis-, white privilege. Despite the intersections I exist within, I have a great deal of privilege because of the colour of my skin and gender identity.

It was a great disappointment to me to discover the bigotry within our own community. Having come from a life where I was surrounded by bad people, and in fact could probably have been one of the bad people, I had hoped so desperately that there was a place in this world that was untouched by hate. Sadly, hatred is insidious and seeps into the cracks that are available.

It did teach me the important lesson, though, that Autistic people are not inherently good or bad. It helped to humanise not just other Autistic people, but also me. It showed me the pervasive attitudes towards Autistic people that we are trapped in childhood, incapable of having agency over our lives. So, while I cannot stand the bigotry, there is value in the lesson I have learned.

In order to fight back against hatred within our own community, we first have to acknowledge that it is there. We have to acknowledge that Autistic people are capable of hateful behaviour. We are human beings, and we will not fix our problems without acknowledging they are there.