Feb. 18th, 2012 01:30 pm
amorpha: White text on black, with a grey border.  The text says "I don't think I'm one of them either.  I'm one of mine." (one of mine)
"When someone with the authority of a teacher, say, describes the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing."

— Adrienne Rich, Invisibility in the Academe

I... yeah, this. Just, this. Brain is not good for word making right now, so yeah, just this. Except that I think for us it was sort of more like we spent a large portion of our life staring into what we thought was a mirror with nothing in it, except it turned out it actually wasn't a mirror at all, it was a painting someone had made of the world behind us that we mistook for a mirror because everyone else around us seemed to think it was a mirror, and we weren't in it. Or people forcibly holding it up to us to "show" that we weren't in it. But it was a picture. Not real. So couldn't be used as a guide to judge what really was and was not there.

words argh

Feb. 7th, 2012 03:17 pm
amorpha: (Default)
bottleneck of ideas. backing up. we write when we write. usually on inertia of motion. then afterwards we can't edit it or even always fully understand what we wrote because the necessary skills aren't lined up and pointing in the right direction.

so many things. world goes by. world words. world words words words. people who think reality bound up in words. Off here to the side somewhere, speaking different language at base cognitive level. Trying to reach out when we can, but sometimes often lately words not there. spoons not there. skills not pointed up and lining right direction. all or most need to be lined up and pointing in same direction for words to come out or even to edit existing words. instead the skills, instead of lining up towards one direction, spin and spin and spin in space. somewhere inside our head where there's just shapes synaesthesia direction and motion, which seems to be most fundamental baseline of thought.

people with their words. talk talk talk. world moves so fast. discussions move so fast. watching helpless as words go by as skills spin and spin in space, skills we need to make words to reply to words of others. no direction no ability to form them together.

but thoughts. real ideas. real valid ideas. no way to articulate. feeling of crushing helplessness. like world is giant moving thing with lots of wheels and metal that will run us over and crush us if we don't jump out of its way when words don't come enough or fast enough. frustration that we get left out of formation of ideas of rightness justice and how world works because while everyone else pumps out words and words and words, the word making word joining skills in our head still spinning ungrounded in space.
amorpha: (Default)
Seeing autistic people make the argument that autism is worse than cancer because people can be cured of cancer, in trying to explain why it's legitimately a disability.


I don't remember where we first read it. But we've seen it brought up in several different places. That disabled people who can be "almost normal" can be more unhappy than those who couldn't, or never had a chance of looking like it in the first place. Partly because a lot of people, as long as they keep thinking they can look "almost normal" if they just try hard enough, will keep trying to grab what they think is the prize being dangled in front of them, the passing-for-normal, no matter how much it takes out of them and how little they actually enjoy it. Partly because the realization that you'll never be "normal" no matter how hard you try can make you look deep down into yourself and re-evaluate what you had defined happiness to be, or what you let other people define it as for you. And some other things I can't describe in words right now.

(And because I'm feeling a little filter-beaten tonight, some disclaimers: This doesn't happen instantaneously, for anyone. Support from other disabled people who can't be Almost Normal either can be one of the most important things in getting to that point. I'm not saying that if someone can't look normal and is suicidally depressed or something, they just need to suck it up or it's their fault or whatever. A lot of us were beating our heads needlessly against that wall for years, decades even, because everyone and everything around us was giving us the message that there was no future for us if we couldn't become Almost Normal.

It took coming into contact with various people offering us different views of the world, radically different ones that said we could be happy even if we couldn't be Almost Normal-- not just about disability-- over several years for us to get to the point that we're at now. And no, I am not saying every single thing labeled as a disability is just a different way of being with no downsides. We'd be rid of several of our chronic health problems if we could. It's just better to assume common sense and assume a person does NOT mean the most ridiculous, extreme extrapolation of a concept you can imagine.)

But anyway, we have seen a few discussions going around lately about how non-autistic professionals tend to say autism is about impaired socialization, "theory of mind," stereotyped repetitive behaviors, etc. While autistic people say that it's about profound differences in cognition, perception, and communication. (And often the autistic people disagreeing with the professionals about this, are the ones who've been labeled as severely affected or low-functioning or thought by other people at some point in their life to be incapable of understanding what was going on around them. And no, these things are not mutually exclusive with having been labeled high-functioning, mildly affected, etc at some other point in a person's life.)

And... one other thing we've noticed is this:

Autistic people who believe that autism is primarily a deficiency in social skills, "theory of mind," etc, often tend to be more unhappy than autistic people who believe (as we do) that the most important aspects of it are profound differences in perception, cognition, and communication. To actually have a lower "quality of life," when it comes to what they want versus what they have.

And this probably has a lot to do with the fact that they have been taught to believe that their entire life is going to consist of trying to strive after Almost Normal even though they will never quite get all the way there.

That their life is going to be defined by what it lacks, rather than what it has. That their personal relationships, with friends, relatives, and partners, are always going to be defined by inability to really understand and relate with other people, in a way that everyone else can do effortlessly. That they'll constantly be having to strive after pale imitations of "real" relationships in which they must constantly pour forth immense effort into "interpreting other people's emotions and facial expressions," and that this will be the best they can ever do as far as having meaningful connections to other human beings.

That whenever things go wrong, whenever they accidentally upset someone, whenever they mess up, it will be blamed on their autism, their deficiency. And they have probably experienced this plenty of times, experienced being scapegoated as the one who causes all the problems by being "different" even before they were diagnosed, in many cases.

Looking back, I realize that for everything our family did wrong, they did give us one thing that was very important, even if it wasn't something they deliberately set out to do. Namely, there has never been a time in our life, from the moment we were born, when we were not in contact with other neuro-atypical people (even if they weren't necessarily autistic).

Growing up with several neuro-atypical people in our immediate and extended family, we experienced the profound connections and the deep beneath-words communication and, yes, even the body language that can exist between us. The everyday acts of kindness done by our relatives. The fact that they had the capacity to do as much good, and as much wrong, as anyone else. (And that when they did wrong, they did it for the same reason "normal" people did it-- not because they "couldn't imagine other people's mental states." We learned that there are neuro-atypical people who are perfectly aware that they're hurting another person but just don't have a problem with that fact. We can be as good or as evil as anyone. Our evil is not a special type of evil, contrary to what Famous Researchers would like to believe.)

We did often feel that the overwhelming majority of other people, in the dominant culture around us, were just completely alien to us and that we would never understand them. There were many years when we despaired of ever having friends at all, and considered suicide because of it. But then we also had our connections with the other neuro-atypical people in our family, the ones that went so deep that we could often tell things that hadn't been communicated in words.

So with that foundation established, it was difficult for ideas like "autism is primarily a disorder of empathy" to get too deeply into our head and break us apart. By the time we heard that line, we had already connected with several other neuroatypical people through the Internet and formed friendships with them, when we didn't know we weren't supposed to be able to do it.

And we see people talk about how wonderful it is that children are being diagnosed at younger and younger ages. And we see people who have grown up, or are growing up, in the shadow of "intervention"-- of being told that the goal of their entire life is almost becoming a person, even though they will never be able to make it all the way.

And thinking about that, we can see how a person could believe that being autistic is worse than having cancer, if that's what they're being raised to think. Because there is no cure for "almost being a person but not quite"-- except to realize that there is actually no such thing as a non-person person in the first place, a person who is not really a person.

Which is the crucial piece of information being denied to them.

Along with the knowledge of the deep bonds and friendships that can form between autistic people, where it's okay if there aren't always words because words aren't always needed.

And seeing how that affects people, especially people who are in a phase of their lives (adolescence) when most people crave some sort of acceptance and validation by people around them, is saddening. Heartbreaking, even. And if someone believes the entire goal of their life is to try to be as much like other people as possible even though it's an impossible goal for them, to strive after something they can't attain, to be forever separated in some way from the rest of humanity, it's more surprising if they don't respond by becoming depressed, despairing, and thinking at some point or another they'd be better off dead.

We've seen people throw off the shackles of these ideas, and suddenly start being a lot less miserable, even when there are still various non-autism-related factors in their lives making things difficult. We've seen people who could not by any means be called "unimpaired" or "only mildly impaired," start feeling better when they realized they were autistic, or atypical in some other way, when conceptualizing it as a different way of perceiving and interacting with the world rather than as a series of deficiencies. It can be an incredibly powerful force for change.

But even if you know this because you've lived it, and seen other people live it, it's hard to talk about it when people constantly try to shut you up about it-- to insist that the only reason anyone would ever see autism that way rather than as a series of deficiencies is that they're "too high-functioning." Even if, again, a lot of the people saying this most vocally are autistic people who need a lot of help to survive in their everyday lives. And a lot of the people who are talking about how miserable it is to be autistic are the ones who have been deemed "high-functioning" and told they have a disorder of empathy.

...and I don't really have a conclusion because language is kind of disintegrating all around us now, has been for the last two paragraphs. So I'll just end it here.

-S/Tamsin/Julian and maybe various other blendyish contributors

So... [S.]

Jan. 23rd, 2012 04:46 pm
amorpha: (Default)
How do you show support for a person who's one of the kinds of people regarded as hateable, who has been harassed and cyberbullied constantly and relentlessly to the point where they're having horrible nightmares, and doesn't seem to really have a great support network, but you don't even know them and have just sat back watching this all unfold at a distance, not knowing what to do?

This has been bugging us for a long time now. I've seen it happen to several people but one in particular, who is still fairly young and doesn't seem to know any better, or didn't until recently, that continuing to stay in the places where you are being bullied to "show the bullies you're not afraid of them" is not going to help you. (FWIW, there was a time when we did that too. And we weren't even "out" as anything considered particularly hateable-- just in a place where people frequently said we were crazy based on our atypical reactions to various things, especially when under stress, and a couple of people started declaring we were a troll because of it. And a couple of bullies decided they were going to "get rid of" everyone they considered undesirable in the community by flaming and trolling them constantly, and we were one of them. And we ended up having the horrible nightmares from it too eventually, even after we stopped going to that community-- dreaming that the bullies had tracked us down and knew everything about our life, and managed to convince people in so many places we were hateable that there was no longer anywhere we could go and be taken seriously, and that people were coming to our house threatening to kill us, things like that. And this is scarily not too far off from the reality of what has happened to some autistic people who spoke out very vocally against certain things.)

I keep thinking about the "Make It Better" stuff. And that it shouldn't apply just to queer and disabled people but to everyone with an identity that is considered hateable by society for some reason or another. (And I don't have the spoons to engage in an argument here of trying to make fine divisions of who does and doesn't deserve protection. Speaking just for myself, I refuse to make a bunch of ideology-based distinctions about who does or doesn't deserve protection from being treated like shit, regardless of whether you agree with their beliefs or not. I tend to apply a rule of common sense here, rather than deciding we must all construct and agree on a giant complex ideology of Who Does And Does Not Deserve Protection before actually doing anything while people continue to get hurt. And I think from a common sense perspective, people should be able to agree that going on a giant bullying campaign against a teenager who committed the "crime" of having an unusual identity, trying to spread as many lies about them as possible and encouraging other people to troll them, is never okay.)

(oh yeah, comment screening is on here, so if you want to say something privately to us about this kind of stuff, go ahead.)


Jan. 6th, 2012 01:36 pm
amorpha: (Default)
It's in common memory that we read this post at some point before, but we recently had one of those time-divide walls come down in our memory and now everything behind it seems like longer ago than it was. (This seems to have more to do with how our brain works than with being plural, as we've heard singlet autistic people report experiencing something like this, too.)

Anyway, from this post.

Marginalized groups must work to resist the tendency to devalue or bristle over any member whose actions might be viewed as “making the rest of us look bad”. The work to end all forms of oppression does not involve policing group members to ensure they are “on message”. Ending oppression – be it fat or racial or gender or whathaveyou – requires an active commitment to resist any cultural messaging seeking to frame one member of a marginalized group as representative of all members – regardless of whether the framing presents the members in a negative or positive light.

Yes. And yes. And yes. And yes. And yes again.

I was thinking about this not just because of recent Tumblr clusterfucks (if we had a Tumblr, I would totally post this to it, but we just can't deal with the social climate there). But because one of the first times we really tried to actively commit ourselves to a cause in a self-advocacy group, the entire group ended up being focused around, as the author of the post puts it, policing all group members to make sure they stayed "on message."

And going along with this was a certain amount of ableist crap about people needing to "prove they were functional" (read: university degree, job, living independently, everything people read as you having "made it" by dominant culture standards).

At the time we understood a lot less of oppression and prejudice than we do today. Or rather, we could see the patterns of how certain dynamics played out, and how certain problematic patterns tended to repeat, but we also thought that we were so socially inept and so bad at anything having to do with understanding other people that we ended up lying down and letting ourselves be walked all over eventually. At first we'd try to point out problematic patterns when we saw them, but we got told that was "disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing" and if we kept doing this we were going to kill the movement singlehandedly. And someone we were close to got manipulated into doing various things to shut us up.

I'm not saying this to demonize anyone, or suggest that everyone go hate on the people who were responsible for that attitude. It was years ago. But I think it does do a good job of illustrating how hard it can be for members of marginalized groups to sit down and unpack all their internalized self-hate baggage about themselves and people like them. To be careful of how easy it can be to throw other members of your group under the bus, to try to appease dominant groups by maintaining that "good X/bad X" dichotomy.

And the thing about people dangling other members of your own community out for mockery can be one of the most horrifically insidious ways to perpetuate this stuff. Because in the best-case scenario it's basically saying "Join us in condemning them, or we will treat you the same way."

And a lot of the time it's hard as hell not to. Even if you intellectually know that that person faces all the same kinds of oppression you do, whether or not you approve of how they're dealing with it. We've actually, for instance, seen some autistic people bragging about how they got in on trolling/snarking/etc other autistic people online who were "using autism/Asperger's as an excuse" or similar.

And I always want to ask them "In a world where that type of oppression didn't exist, where no one went around complaining about the alleged huge problem of 'people using autism/Asperger's as an excuse,' how much would you care? Would you treat them differently from any non-autistic person who did the same things? If someone pointed them out and said 'this person did this awful thing,' while holding them to the same standards as every other person out there, would you run over as quickly to join in on bashing them?"

And we have definitely seen instances where autistic people, and members of various other marginalized groups, were really definitely acting badly towards others. Just... I think it's that we know too well the panic, the paranoia, the gut-clenching terror of seeing someone hold up a member of your community to tear them apart. Not because they did something wrong as a person, in the way they treated other people. But because they did something that played into someone's prejudices about THEM, THOSE PEOPLE, and now you're terrified that if you don't run in to bust up the scene now with something like "We're not all like this! Seeing people like that represent the rest of us is so embarassing and they really do deserve all kinds of humiliation/criticism/mockery/etc for it!", the axe is going to fall on all of your heads.

And also... the idea that people who are badly behaved who deal with various kinds of discrimination already, somehow deserve worse treatment than badly behaved people who don't experience very much discrimination at all, makes no sense and is really sick if you think about it.

I mean, not that anyone treating others badly is ever good, but at least from my perspective, I can understand how years and years of marginalization can push someone to the breaking point. Or even just to saying "fuck it, I've tried to do all the changing I could to appease the dominant groups and I can't change any more, now it's time for them to be the ones to change," and have that called "rudeness" and using your marginalized group status as an "excuse." (And I also know too well the kind of angry panicked cornered animal lashing-out instinct, when you think you're all alone in the world and that you have no allies and no one else like you willing to help defend you, that can reduce a person to incoherency and flaming even if they're not normally like that.)

And finding that a bunch of people who are supposed to be in this with you, are more concerned with making sure you stay "on message," and shutting you up and beating you down if you step too far over the line of what they've called "acceptable," can make it worse.

I'm not saying some things aren't wrong. I'm not saying that some marginalized people don't use their status as marginalized to abuse others. We've seen it happen. It's just that 98% of the time when that instinct kicks me in the gut, that "No! No!! People outside our group must not see this person! We have to condemn this person now in public so they won't condemn us all!" feeling, it's about a person who is completely and totally within their rights to do whatever they're doing, saying, believing, etc.

And in the past, some of us have been passive-aggressive or acted like outright dicks to others in the plural community because of that. And I know I can't undo it, but I'm sorry. Because you are all my sisters too, and my brothers, and... whatever kinship terms you prefer, if you're non-binary-gendered.

And when I see people mention multiplicity in the same breath as something else they're holding up for mockery-- usually some form of not identifying with one's body-- it sometimes feels like I'm being baited to condemn. Like, go on. Prove to us that there are some Good Ones out there.

And I can't do it, because... for one, we've got more "weird stuff" going on in-system than we generally talk about, even if it doesn't resemble much, if at all, the snark interpretation of those things. (And people also shouldn't use this fact to draw conclusions about what individual ones of us believe about the external world as opposed to our subjective, in-system experiences, since we have varying beliefs about it.)

We don't talk about most of it because we realized fairly early on that it was the kind of stuff people would latch onto most and try to use it to destroy your credibility. As a result of selectively not talking about it, some people gave us privilege under false pretenses for being one of the Good Ones as opposed to the Bad Ones. Privilege that they didn't give to people who thought they had nothing to lose from talking about their "weird stuff."

Which made us feel... horrible. And I don't mean in the sense of "our feelings are all-important" or anything. It was horrible. That we were getting "cred" that some groups not actually too different from us, internally, weren't getting; that we were being regarded as sane, accurate, reliable reporters of our own experiences; that we were one of "the good ones who could be reasoned with." Regard that others weren't getting. Because people thought we didn't have particular elements in our system.

And it actually backfired in the sense that some people believed we were actually against certain things in plural systems, because we hedged and left so much out and used such detached language sets when we talked about those things. Because we were afraid if we didn't, people who were just out to snark would catch that we had some things they associated with the Bad Ones. And we also-- inadvertently, I think, but that doesn't negate that it had real effects on others-- absorbed some of the language sets of people who talked about those things in dismissive, unbelieving (by a dualistic view of reality, anyway) terms, and used them ourselves, and that set some people off into thinking we didn't approve of particular things.

(But it was also kind of a mess because... well, I know Amanda Baggs has talked before about people seeing her as this big leader in the autistic self-advocacy community online when she didn't ever want to be seen that way or think of herself as one, and we've encountered some people who seemed to perceive us in similar ways in the plural community. So, seeing our words as carrying more weight than we realized they did, because people had artificially elevated us to this leader status when we weren't aware of it. When at the time, we actually felt incredibly impotent power-wise despite the fact that we were co-moderating a community, and didn't want to be any kind of official voice of... anything. But we're writing another, separate entry about that and I should leave the rest of it for that.)

But... yeah. Having to constantly, constantly, constantly fight that temptation to take the bait, to give in and put down the Bad Ones because someone wants you to believe that you must be one of the Good Ones and condemn them, in order for them to throw you even a scrap of respect. It's a constant battle. It has just as much to do with why we rarely go in arguing with people bitching about "homg, people claiming to have DID" nowadays as overall burnout and lack of verbal spoons. And it seems to be universal across all marginalized groups, in some way or another.

-Tamsin and S. (one of those "start/end with different co-writers" things)
amorpha: (Default)
(Please note that the vast majority of this post was written through a crapload of brainfog whose exact source we can't figure out, and may have something to do with recent medication adjustments, but is not responding to any of our usual techniques for even mitigating it. Please bear with us. Thank you.

Also we are not actually on Tumblr because we can't figure out how to use it, and are kind of glad we're not at this point, but have noticed the existence of various clusterfucks going past various people we know.)

There are certain things in the world which other people insist are there, that we don't seem to be able to perceive.

The most significant ones aren't actually the ones that most non-autistic people would assume are there-- like certain kinds of body language, "that person was signalling all through that conversation that you were being rude and you didn't see it!", things like that. Which isn't to say those things haven't happened to us-- especially being torn up after the fact because we didn't pick up a certain "indirect" message someone else insisted was there.

But all those things seem to pale into insignificance when compared with the ones we're thinking of.

One of them is the idea that there are people in the world who don't really qualify as people. That although they may seem to us to be communicating and doing things meaningfully, they're just some kind of shell without a "real" mind in it-- that everything that looks purposeful is just a "reflexive" movement, or "imitating others." (And somehow it's assumed that they can imitate others without really having a mind in the way other people do, when imitation in mammals is generally considered a pretty sophisticated behavior which absolutely requires some form of self-awareness and reasoning.)

We have also experienced this when trying to write about our problems with the stuff we've called language dickery before, when someone else thought we were seeing the same thing they did, but we couldn't perceive the thing they were comparing it to at all. Like with people who are seen as having no minds and no personhood, there's this entire category of people someone else is telling us exists, who have specific ideas and attitudes, but we can't perceive them as existing.

One of the reasons we don't like to talk about our problems with the way language is handled in some communities is that people will come in and use it to soapbox about how much they hate a group of people whose existence or attributes we can't perceive. Talking about how much they hate "politically correct people," or "the activist mind," or some particular group (feminists, GLBT self-advocates, etc) that we may have our own problems with but NOT for the reasons another person does and is wrongly assuming we share, with various alleged attributes that we... cannot see, and have never really been able to. (As an overall group thing, not in individual people.)

And we avoid it because over the last few years of our life, we've found it really difficult to engage in arguments with people who insist that X group of people all have a certain attribute, when we can't perceive this, and we don't enjoy being put on the spot just so someone can declare us to be somehow defective because we can't perceive these things.

But there's another kind of person-- or more specifically, a certain attribute to various groups of people that we know exist, even if they are not much like the people who insist they have this imperceptible attribute are saying they are.

We were talking recently with someone who was trying to come up with a word for it, and the best they could come up with was "hateability." That certain groups of people, by virtue of something intrinsic about them and what they believe about themselves and how they express themselves, are just inherently hateable. And do not deserve any better treatment than to be mocked, kicked and spat on by the rest of society.

And I'm not talking about, like, rapists or child molesters or terrorists or any of the kinds of people that many people would list if you asked them which kinds of people they consciously believed were inherently hateable. This seems to be something that takes place on a mostly subconscious level and then just explodes out of people when they're exposed to a certain person or idea, even if up until that point, they wouldn't have thought to put that person on the list of people they thought were inherently hateable.

I can name some well-known groups that seem to get the hateability treatment. Disabled people who dare to "act weird" in public, to stim or make the same noises repeatedly and do it in such a way that nobody around them can pretend they don't exist. Homeless people get it too, and people on welfare. The idea of a person ending up in a bad situation because they were "just lazy" or "didn't want to work/clean their apartment/stay clean/etc" (whether that was what really happened or not) seems to turn on the hateability thing full blast, at least for a lot of people in Western culture (or at least specifically mainstream US historically-Protestant culture, as that's the one we have most experience with; can't speak for people in other countries). So does the idea of a person who deliberately behaves in an unusual way to "get attention" (again, whether this is what's really happening or not).

But I've also seen this thing, this angry, raging wish that another group of people would just stop existing, or die in some horrible way, explode out of people at groups that aren't remotely as well-known. Or just the idea of them.

We've encountered it because, among many other groups, there are a lot of people who seem to perceive plurals in this way. Any form of "more than one identity," really. We've seen it directed against trans people who have an identity that doesn't uphold traditional Western gender binaries, even from-- sometimes especially from-- other trans people. Anything that is about people who do not identify with their bodies or culturally/socially-assigned identities seems to trigger it in A LOT of people. Even those who can put aside a little bubble of separate logic in their mind for some kinds of trans people. (Often justifying it to themselves with "well, it's okay, but it's okay BECAUSE some research suggests there's a biological difference between cis and trans people's brains and so they can't choose it." Oh, and raging exploding hate from some GLB people against people who say they consciously chose to have a non-heterosexual orientation.)

This post summed a lot of it up pretty well here, about how this plays out in the trans community: http://youneedacat.tumblr.com/post/6765109417/long-ramble-about-tensions-in-the-trans-community-and A lot of that matches our views/perceptions of this stuff very closely. One of the things we've seen the recent Tumblr fail being directed at is people who identify with the labels of BIID or transabled. And at people whose self-identity and body map corresponds most closely to some kind of nonhuman being, whatever word they choose to call it by.

The thing is that much like some of the more failtastic debates we've seen over trigger warnings, the making of snarky predictions, "what next, being told I can't mention the color pink because you claim it triggers you?" (hypothetical example, but based on similar ones we've seen)-- we've seen all this before. And most of the people involved in it right now apparently haven't. Which makes it exponentially more frustrating for us to deal with, because we have seen all this play out before, with no resolution, with similar angry accusations on both sides, from people who claimed to care about upholding justice/protecting survivors/ending abuse/etc. There were some pretty vicious debates about it in (mostly) MPD/DID-focused multiplicity communities about ten or twelve years ago. And a lot of flaming, a lot of insulting, and... no resolution, in the end. (And we weren't innocent of being overly snarky on the "but any random thing you could think of is probably a trigger for someone SOMEWHERE" side, either, back then.)

But also...

It's like periodically, whole groups of people will discover the existence of people who identify as multiple but not in the MPD/DID model, and people with self-images and body maps that aren't human, and people who don't identify with their bodies or a culturally normative identity model in some other way.

And act like they are the first ones ever to discover these people exist.

And also jump to the conclusion that these people have only come to exist very recently, that if they had existed before they would have known of them.

And get ragingly outraged about their existence for some reason or another, and point them out to other people practically bludgeoning them over the head to laugh at, hate, and be outraged by these people and wish they would die. (I can't easily convey everything that we're using the term "hateability" to mean, but it incorporates all those things and then some.)

Flashback about nine or ten years, we were in some social groups where some people would periodically "discover" all of these same things, often through snark websites that misquoted or paraphrased them, and link us to them with "clever" commentary like "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" or "THESE PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST, THIS IS NOT A JOKE."

And expect us to react to...

Well, to one of those things we can't perceive. Whatever it is that is causing other people to have the "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, GO DIE NOW" reaction. Because whatever the hell it is, we can't remotely perceive it. The worst thing we could ever even come up with to say about Otherkin, one of the groups that frequently get this reaction-- the worst thing we actually had to say, that is, not just when we were talking shit about people out of fear of what would happen if we didn't-- was something like "Well, I think some people may be deciding they aren't human because they think some of the things they do aren't traits that humans can have or do, and I think the human condition is more diverse than they think it is."

Although it's damn hard to manage even that when you're hiding in the closet about at least one of your own "weird" forms of identity, and terrified that if you do come out, your alleged friends will respond by making snark pages about you and saying you deserve to be beaten to death in a gutter somewhere. (For the curious, we were in the closet as plural at the time. Which was one of the things that we saw snarked about on various websites that everyone except us seemed to think were so funny. Usually with either an approach of "these people are making this up for attention, and if someone does that, they deserve to be laughed at and die" or "that's not what REAL MPD/DID is like, I have a relative who works with Those People, these people are all clearly faking for attention.")

Some people will probably be surprised to know that there were communities ten years ago for people who identified as multiple but not with the MPD/DID model. Or started out identifying with it initially but later decided it was inadequate to describe their lived experience. Or even who did identify with it but just didn't want to integrate and had decided they worked better as a team than they would as one person. (There were pretty epic flamewars in some of those communities, too. We kind of WISH we could forget those at times.)

And people being surprised over that is... it's another one of those things that baffles us. There's something bound up in the surprise, something underlying the conclusions, that we can't perceive, or never really considered seriously. The whole idea that if you have never heard of this group of people before, they must be some extremely new, frivolous, attention-seeking phenomenon. (I don't know how many people would be surprised to know that in the 19th century, there were some doctors who wrote about co-conscious plurals-- that the idea that "if they can communicate with each other, it's not REAL MPD!" is a modern myth. Or that in the 60s and 70s, there were communities for people who identified as what would be considered Otherkin today. Or that there were 19th-century cases of people whose primary identity was as someone they believed they had been in a past life, who made this their full-time identity.)

Because for some reason, one of the other gigantic piles of fail that seems to go along with these reactions, is the idea that anyone identifying as multiple or Otherkin or transabled or whatever basically just pulled the idea out of their ass or someone else's, that they have no interest in and don't care about the historical context of this stuff, or its social implications. That no one is ever in the closet, for some reason. (Which is incomprehensible to us. We have close relatives who've been badly abused in the psych system-- please note we are not saying that people can't have therapy or medication if they want it, we're just saying that the psych systems of most "developed" countries are horribly broken power-wise-- and have had bad encounters with things like therapists who wanted to integrate us, and were terrified of things like involuntary commitment. To this day, our biological family do not know about us, not as us.)

That none of us can see that "the personal is political," that whether we like it or not, our identities-- the ones we could choose and the ones we couldn't-- ripple outwards and have repercussions in everything surrounding us. Or that if we "really" understood this, we would immediately give up all the forms of identity that other people consider hateable, whether it would be easy or even plausible for us to do so. (Integration didn't work for us, and made us a lot more messed-up than we were before we tried it.)

But anyway, yeah, the idea that no one who has a self-identity considered hateable by the dominant culture would ever possibly, gasp, be HIDING it from others. Because they've seen too many people going "OMG, OMG, LOOK WHAT I JUST FOUND. LOOK WHAT THESE PEOPLE BELIEVE. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I HOPE THEY ALL DIE IN HORRIBLE ACCIDENTS OR AT LEAST GET STERILIZED."

And somehow, joking about sterilization is not at all unfunny, ableist, offensive, or sick in this context, when the inmates of asylums and people deemed insane, feeble-minded, etc were among the many diverse groups of people subjected to involuntary eugenic sterilization in the late 19th and 20th centuries, in the US and other countries. Especially when the people who have decided you're hateable will swing wildly back and forth between declaring that you and people like you are "really mentally ill," or that you're "just faking it" and therefore "insulting real mentally ill people" (never mind how many symptoms they'd consider signs of Real Mental Illness you may have experienced about other things). It seems to come down to people choosing whichever view of you they think makes you look more hateable.

Another thing that has bothered the hell out of us: seeing POC who identify as otherkin or plural being told that they are either just pretending to be POC, or that it's apparently intrinsically somehow wrong for them to be POC and identify as these things. Much along the lines of "you can't be trans and otherkin at the same time, and if you do you're doing trans wrong!" attacks. I've actually seen some very thoughtful analyses of the ways these identities intersect, by people who experience them. But you'll never actually be able to see what a person is really saying or who they even are when you have a giant block of hateability sitting between you and them.

For whatever it's worth, some of the plural systems we've been closest with have been bodily POC or from multiracial backgrounds. And yes, we've visited or lived with them enough to know that they are not homg a fakin white person. (Though people who are multiracial already get enough crap if other people decide they "look too white," as though skin color is anything remotely close to a good proxy for judging what someone's genetic background is, and that they must therefore be faking, appropriating, etc. And we have seen people use this as a form of hateability too, like "ha ha you faker, you're just another privileged white person claiming to be 0.001% Native American 'cause you think it's cool," even when they have documented family history supporting what they say about themselves.)

This seems to be a concept that astonishes people who believe any form of plural identity ever must be connected intrinsically to a very specific psychiatric model that was popular for a few decades and mostly applied to white middle-class women (some of whom were really multiple, some of whom were just talked into it by their doctors). Or that anyone who can say, when they think they're safely protected on the Internet from having their legal identity discovered, "I'm multiple and it's not a disorder for me" is just frivolously seeking attention, or "appropriating the experience of mental illness." (Except when they HAVE been through absolute fucking hell with various other things considered to be mental illness, y'know.) And is never, ever shit terrified that one day, someone just might connect it to their legal identity, but they keep saying what they can, when they can, because the alternative is silence.

It would also probably surprise many people to know that there are closed communities in which people who identify as plural discuss the social and ethical repercussions of having identities that don't match their bodies. Like having system members of a different sex than the physical body or the system's overall front gender identity, or people who are disabled in the way the body is not, or who identify with ethnicities or cultures that the body is not part of. (Despite the fact that plurals with system members identifying with other cultures have been described in medical literature at least as far back as the 18th century. But again, when people decide someone is inherently hateable, they also often seem to assume that no one ever does extensive research into the history of people like themselves. Which is again weird and incomprehensible. We've been digging up stuff like this from old medical journals from the moment we realized our identity was political whether we liked it or not.)

And questioning whether it is wrong, whether it is appropriation, if a person's identity can be forcibly changed, how voluntary any of this is to begin with. But, again, if all that people are seeing is attempts at developing clumsy makeshift words like "transabled" or "transethnic" (which we saw, YET AGAIN, more of the "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA LOOK WHAT I FOUND" response to recently, from people allegedly deeply committed to "justice"), rather than the extremely complex and nuanced and often productive thoughts that can come out of sharing your experience with others-- including people who are bodily something you're not-- they won't perceive any of this.

And it's not that we haven't seen this manifest in problematic ways in the plural community. Definitely not. Absolutely not. We HAVE seen groups who had system members who were basically walking talking stereotypes-- including of some things we were and they weren't, bodywise, like autistic. And have had discussions with other multiples about how we as a community should address those things. But it's damn hard to even develop a working plan of how to address it when it has to be mostly done in secrecy, so people won't link to you going "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, THESE PEOPLE SUCK."

Or people who link selectively only to certain things in order to create a very specific image of your group-- who link to the worst examples, the most extreme examples, the people claiming they're being persecuted on levels they're really not. It's ironic (in the real sense, not the snarky hipster sense) that people use this technique in the process of claiming we aren't a real valid marginalized group, when it so often is used against various marginalized groups to shut them up.

For instance we recently saw a few people talking about discussions in the Otherkin community where the term "human privilege" had supposedly been used. But no links to where it had actually been used, or estimates of how many people who identified as Otherkin had actually used it, versus the total number of people who identified that way.

And we have definitely seen people grabbing really clumsily onto various aspects of "social justice" language, especially from the trans community (and using overly binary/dualistic models) and trying to apply them to all other forms of not identifying with one's body or assigned identity. And we have looked at it and thought, "This isn't the right way to do it."

But we also ended up with the impression that part of the problem was that those models and ideologies were inherently imperfect and being strained to their breaking point.

And actually the first time we had that thought was not when we heard a rumor that someone had used the term "human privilege," it was when we saw someone use the term "non-survivor privilege." (And we actually do identify as abuse survivors.) And had an... overall pattern problem with how groups and divisions of privilege seemed to be getting cut down into smaller and smaller divisions, rather than understanding that power and privilege are things that are constantly dynamic and changing depending on what situation a person is in.

And that the existing models and terminology simply don't work past a certain level of how complicated and fluctuating things can get, although we continue to use it anyway because the alternative, for now, is silence. And writing all that dynamic/fluxing stuff off as "intersectionality" and "kyriarchy" doesn't do it for our brain either, though we have used the word intersectionality for the same reason we use a bunch of the other ones.

And we think one of the reasons it's difficult for us to perceive this nebulous attribute of hateability that so many people seem to see, is because our brain just doesn't do well with general binary, dualistic, models that are based on resolving everything down to small boxes and rigid divisions. And trying to capture the entire dynamicism of how power and prejudice work, with word sets inherently based in that kind of worldview, is like swimming against a very, very strong current, one that will push you under eventually if you keep trying to swim against it for long enough.

Basically our brain seems to do better with complementary thinking than with dualistic, hierarchal-style thinking. And after a certain point of trying to shove it into our head, everything just falls apart into a total mess where we can't even use language clearly any more.

(That paper, BTW, is very worth reading even if we don't agree with every single last one of the author's conclusions, and at times he uses language in ways we can't understand. We've been making some notes about how this stuff applies to plurality in general, and about how we often have to reduce our experience to an oversimplified dualistic model rather than, as the paper puts it, "the holistic, relational diversity of being and becoming"-- which is much closer to how we really experience each other in-system, than psychiatric models of discrete "splits" and rigid boundaries.

Some people who work best within that complementary kind of thinking are okay with something resembling a unitary "I" (which does not necessarily entail making rigid self/other distinctions), and for whatever reason, we were not-- all that was in us, that has been in us, that will be in us, in this body and brain and (if you believe in them) our soul(s) and their various components, are best lived as many people rather than even a vague-unitary I. It's the right way for us to live.

And I also want to mention because of the accusations of appropriation we've seen flying around in this recent stuff-- in saying that, we aren't claiming to totally understand, or be part of, any of the cultures the author cites as contrast to Western scientific thinking. Just pointing out that complementary-style thinking works for other stuff as well, and saying it works better for you doesn't necessarily equal claiming membership or total understanding of cultures that tend to work from it, or that you somehow qualify for honorary membership in them because of it or anything like that.)

But one thing I have noticed is that a lot of the experiences and identities that people seem to regard as hateable in Western culture, are often best approached through complementary rather than hierarchal, dualistic thinking. That after a point, any attempts to apply it to them will crumble and fall apart because of the intrinsic nature of what the experiences are.

So yeah, I think that some Otherkin we've met, for instance, would do better with a less dualistic model of themselves. On the other hand, many of the people we've seen raging about them, and similar groups, could stand to calm the fuck down and consider that some of them are basically fumbling around with words trying to badly describe an experience that the culture they grew up in, hasn't handed them the best models for understanding.

And... that's about all the words we can string together about it. For now. We have more but we need to edit them into something understandable and currently because of the brainfog we can write a lot more than we can read, and being able to edit would require having reading comprehension we don't have right now.

(And we are screening comments on that post, but that does not mean we don't want people to comment, or to link it if they think it would be genuinely helpful to link it somewhere. I just am not going to let people use the comments here as a soapbox to spew hate against any of the kinds of people mentioned in this post, or for people pity-mongering with otherizing descriptions of various people they've known. We will not do dueling "I suffered at the hands of My Mentally Ill Exes/Relatives more than you did!" oppression olympics crap. And we know from our personal experience that even describing our psychiatrically labeled relatives in what we thought were relatively neutral terms, can bring people swooping down on us to go "oh you poor thing, how terrible that you had to live with that," which is NOT the view we take of ourselves and our life, or want others to take.)

-Tamsin, Julian and Riel (with a lot of echolalic "I" thrown in for good measure, when we had views in common. That's what happens when your brain doesn't primarily navigate the world with words to begin with and your identity isn't acknowleged or validated by the culture around you.)
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If anyone would like a DW invite code, we have a few. Also, this is our direct response to the actual failness (we somehow wrote it while not even being able to understand all of what we were writing, but it hangs together somehow).
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So, uh. Today's Writer's Block on LJ asks about "one thing you can stop or do to prevent bullying." This is a topic that... hits very close to home for us, even though we don't talk about it a whole lot publically; I'll just leave it at that for now. But we can give you, in fact, an entire list of bullying prevention tips guaranteed to work. Inspired by, but not as clever as, Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed To Work.

1. If a kid is different in some way from the other kids in your class, don't bully them.
2. If someone in your workplace is different in some way, don't bully them.
3. If you meet someone online who is different in some way, don't bully them.
4. If someone seems vulnerable and to have no friends or allies, don't bully them.
5. If there are a lot of nasty rumours being spread about a person, don't help spread them.
6. If someone is interested in something you think is weird, don't bully them.
7. If someone doesn't wear clothes that are considered cool, don't bully them.
8. If someone looks, speaks, or moves in an unusual way, don't bully them.
9. If you don't like someone else's sexuality or gender identity, it is still wrong to bully them. Don't do it.
10. If someone has a self-identity or beliefs you think are weird, it is still wrong to bully them. Don't do it.
11. If everyone else is bullying a certain person, don't join in.
12. If all your friends are bullying a certain person, don't join in.
13. If all your friends or all the cool kids are saying it's cool to bully a certain person or group of people, don't bully them. Find some real friends who won't make bullying the terms of their friendship.
14. If someone is bullying you and promises to stop bullying you if you will help them bully someone else, don't do it. Find some way to get away from them and find allies and safe spaces.

...the last one, I guess, is particularly relevant because within the past two years, we have seen several people who were doing really strong self-advocacy work shut down their blogs, journals or Tumblrs, or minimise their posting, because of bullying. And in some cases, the bullying was perpetuated by bullies promising to leave some of their victims alone if they'd join in on bullying someone else. We also have some close friends who were basically terrorized into hiding online and disconnecting from their former online names because of bullying. We had that happen to us once, too, though it was many years ago. I think the point I am trying to make here is that many people appear to believe that bullying ends after high school/secondary school, and unfortunately, it does not. When we worked on the newspaper staff at our first community college, we were bullied and harassed by the head editor to the point where we ended up crying or having a meltdown at nearly every staff meeting. (And don't ask "Where were the faculty?" They were there. They didn't do anything. Much like the faculty who didn't do anything when we got bullied in pre-college years.)

...this is also, incidentally, why we don't like the much-touted "It Gets Better" campaign. Partly, we don't like it because of Dan Savage and his general privileged assholery (examples of which can be found here, along with other people's explanations of why they don't like "It Gets Better," which are more coherent than anything we could write right now). For too many people, it doesn't get better just because of that magical high school/secondary school graduation. In too many ways to count. Especially when "intersectionality" stuff enters the picture. It doesn't "get better" for trans people murdered for being trans. It doesn't "get better" for people who are turned away from hospitals or die in the ER because they had the "wrong" gender presentation or because everyone was more interested in what was between their legs than in the fact that they were dying. It doesn't "get better" for GLBT disabled people, people of color, and poor people who are already at higher risk for being assaulted, and may deal with discrimination within their own communities on top of that.

It also does not "get better" for people who are locked in institutions and drugged because they committed the "crime" of having a self-identity or belief system their society didn't approve of. Our high likelihood of having a potentially fatal reaction to certain kinds of drugs did not go away when we got our high school diploma. Every time someone joins in on or fails to speak out against "lolz crayzee multipuls, let's SPREAD THE MESSAGE OF THESE WACKOS AND HOW CRAYZEE THEY ARE SO MORE PEOPLE CAN LAUGH AT THEM" mockery, that's another chip on the pile of what makes the world more dangerous for us to live in. It becomes even less funny when you know several people who have almost died from drugs given to them because doctors considered their personal belief systems delusional.

...so, yeah. Stopping bullying, it's a lot like stopping sexual assault. I'll even admit there were times in the past-- not a lot, but they happened-- when we joined in on bullying someone else. On some of those occasions, we did it because of peer pressure, or because we were afraid we would become targets if we didn't actively direct the bullies towards other targets. The thing is that those are not excuses. None of those things made it okay. Nothing made it okay, because it is not okay, ever.

(By the way, comments are going to be screened on this post, but not because I want to discourage people from commenting. I have chosen to screen them in this case because I don't want anyone trying to start widgety arguments about whether there are situations in which someone forfeits their right to not be bullied or assaulted, or trolls trying to spam up the comments with reductio ad absurdum crap or worse. When you've seen people attacked in their journals by others "commenting" to post repeated pictures of dead cats and telling them they deserve to die and should commit suicide, for the "crime" of saying they had meaningful relationships with fictional characters, then yeah, that tends to kick us really intensely into "get the fuck out, not okay, not ever" mode about defending our own spaces and people's right in general to not have such things inflicted on them.)

-j mostly
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Accessibility! Cause that's always a great thing to talk about in the disability community, right? Because the society most of us live in most of the time kind of really sucks when it comes to making many things accessible to people whose bodies, brains and/or senses aren't configured in the expected way.

So, uh, there's a new issue of Disability Studies Quarterly out. They did an issue on autism last year, and it had articles by, gasp, actual autistic people in it. Anyway, we've seen a few people plugging the latest issue of it. There's an article about closed captioning which we saved to read later, because it looks interesting-- even though our hearing isn't impaired, due to our CAPD we often find it difficult to watch/follow shows without subtitles.

This got sarcastic. I'm sorry. If you don't like sarcasm used in discussions of disability and writing, you probably shouldn't read this. )

...this is not to globally put down Disability Studies Quarterly or people who can understand the kinds of language in question. Just... venting frustration about language that shuts our brain out. Actually, there is a great article in the same issue that we would recommend everyone read, Infantilizing Autism. No, really, it's good, read it.

Now we should probably post this and go to SPACE BED.


oh gods.

Aug. 8th, 2011 11:36 pm
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not another one of these. please no.


Some people might see it as a "step forward" because it's the school system being blamed, rather than "the stress of raising a child with autism." I don't. There are no excuses. Margaret Jensvold committed murder, plain and simple. As much as Karen McCarron or any other parent who has taken the life of their autistic child. The fact that she killed herself too doesn't make it any better.

we are just. so tired of sympathy being poured out for the parent no matter what the pretext. and not for the child whose life was taken away. and the emphasis on need for "more services" rather than on the child. Yes, families raising disabled children often need services that non-disabled children's families don't. (Or things that are framed as special extra services, anyway, because our society doesn't expect people to need them.) we are just really disgusted because every time an autistic child is murdered by caregivers, it seems people talk a big show about "the need for services" and still nothing ever changes, but the murder is still treated somehow as being a "meaningful statement" and not as, well, murder.

amorpha: White text on black, with a grey border.  The text says "I don't think I'm one of them either.  I'm one of mine." (one of mine)
There is a guy on Tumblr who's going around concern-trolling trans people and plurals, and anyone else who has a self-image or body map that doesn't match the body they were born with. Apparently there are a couple of people doing this, but this one guy in particular has been really persistent about it. His account name is "convertedinvader," or some variant of that with a space in it somewhere. So if he starts concern-trolling you and going on about how your identity is a "delusion" so he doesn't have to respect it, just know that he has a track record of doing this to other people. He doesn't want a real debate, he just wants to troll and namecall, so you're best off blocking replies from him, I think, and warning others that he does this.
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A woman we know in Chicago, Illinois is being locked up in a psychiatric ward and given drugs against her will. She has been a revolving door mental patient since she was a teenager and has no one in her local area to advocate for her. Her doctors are putting her on heavy doses of neuroleptics which are making it very difficult for her to move or communicate, and want to continue keeping her on these high doses. She already has severe ongoing health problems as a result of being put on toxic levels of these kinds of drugs by one of her past doctors, and, as a result, has a great deal of difficulty with mobility and self-care. She could live independently if she had someone to assist her with this stuff-- especially someone who could drive her around-- but is at a point where she's very suspicious of most offers of "help," due to how she's been treated in the past. (She had transportation at one point, but her caseworkers refused to take her anywhere after she lost bladder control in their van. She needs a consistent supply of Depends, but her caseworkers won't buy them for her.)

Our housemate& have already tried contacting Mindfreedom and the ACLU. Mindfreedom basically said they couldn't do anything because they're an "awareness" group, and the ACLU gave them a list of other groups to call. They've tried leaving messages on those, but any kind of other help she could get, regarding both getting her out of the psych ward and getting a place to live and disability services on a long-term basis, and transportation, would be very appreciated.

(Also, I would hope that this would go without saying, but any replies along the lines of "if she's in the hospital, you shouldn't interfere, it's probably the best place for her and her doctors know best" will be deleted. SHE WAS NOT HAVING ANY EMOTIONAL CRISES, SHE IS NOT VIOLENT, SHE IS NOT "DANGEROUS" TO HERSELF OR ANYONE ELSE. She was evicted from her apartment because she wasn't able to clean it and has nowhere to go. And she is not benefitting in any way from having levels of drugs in her system that make it almost impossible for her to speak or communicate verbally. And given that one of her past doctors almost killed her with toxic doses of drugs, and her life has been endangered many times since then by the ongoing health problems they caused, when no one was helping her with self-care, we don't believe it's the safest place for her to be right now-- far from it.)
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[Disclaimer: Does not express system-wide opinion.]

I don't know whether it's some kind of vestigial attachment to words or whether it's because of some pattern I'm sensing underneath them that I dislike, but I have a rather bad reaction to some neologisms in various marginalized communities. Like, irrationally bad. Some of them irritate me to... a degree that doesn't really make sense. Maybe it's a pattern of how people pick them up and use them and what their spirit of intent seems to be in doing so, that's actually irritating me, but I keep having responses to the words themselves. But extremeness to the degree where... like, we don't even want to look at/read something that might have certain words in it, because we haven't figured out how to regulate our emotions around them yet.

And I know that it's really not reasonable, as in, the extremity of the emotion is not justified by what it's a response to. I am not trying to justify or excuse it. On the other hand, because I think there is something in me that's being set off by the patterns of how people... turn words into symbols sometimes, if anyone ever has a bad reaction to some kind of neologism we've coined, if they really dislike it, I want to make ourselves open to discussing it with them. Because even though the nature of our existence is such that we have to coin words from time to time because none exist in the language of the dominant culture, I want all of the words we coin-- if we mean to suggest them for others' use and not just our own shorthand-- to be logical, pronounceable, and reasonable extensions of how English is currently used and pronounced. And I also don't want to justify them, or our use of certain words over certain other words, with anything widgety.

(After running into the sharp corners of various other people's widgets-- people in groups we ourselves belong to-- about "You must use X word instead of Y word, because if you use X word, it always universally necessarily implies this!", and... not agreeing with them, we're even starting to have misgivings nowadays about things like "you must not say 'alter' because it implies that we are merely 'alternate' to some more real person!" Because... who the hell are we to say it implies that for everybody? It's not a word we want to use for ourselves because it has a psychiatric history we don't like, but if another plural system wants to reclaim it for themselves, even if we don't agree, nowadays we can't really get up in arms about "no, you must not use it because it ALWAYS NECESSARILY IMPLIES THIS!" No, actually, it doesn't necessarily. We're not going to be presumptuous about language and cognition and what connotations words have in others' brains, given how often ours is at right angles to the apparent norm. Though by the same token, if we don't want to use it for ourselves, we don't need a great widgety justification for it-- no more justification than "we don't want to use it for ourselves.")
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This rather hilarious Tumblr is shutting down, from "lack of submissions"? It's... not exactly a mainstream topic; I wouldn't expect people to be submitting new ones every week. :\ Despite our previous statements that we really don't understand how Tumblr works (which is true when it comes to all the "reblogging" stuff, not so much when it comes to just using it to link to things you've liked or found interesting or meaningful), we'd... actually be willing to take over maintaining it, if the person doing so gets upset over no submissions in a month. (We've, er, worked on maintaining websites where submissions for various types of things came in at a rate of much less than one a month.)

Not really sure what to make of the assertion that this type of image macro is dying out-- we didn't realize, I guess, that Privilege Denying Dude et al were posting every single image that got submitted. I thought they were... at least screening out nonsensical or bigoted ones.
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John Elder Robison is a privileged douche. Ugh. Just, ugh. (Also, Shiny Famous Autistics, PROTIP: if you want to help all of us whom you see as being more tragic than you, you could start by not saying douchey privileged things that make me want to hit my head against a wall. Unfortunately, most of them are currently doing a very bad job of not saying such things.)

Also, in the comments to the interview itself, we agree completely with Michelle Dawson. I just hate that so many of us (and I include our system in this statement) are too busy and/or have too much difficulty putting together coherent statements about it to actively rebut this kind of crap, when it appears.
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The noise that cats make when they stand up and sort of shake their head, or shake themselves off, after they've been sleeping or lying down for a while, or if they've gotten wet, or something got in their ear. It's harder to hear if the cat has bells or metal tags on their collar, but there's definitely a distinct noise they make-- some of it is their ears flapping, I think, but I'm not sure what the rest of it is from.

Anyone else know what we're talking about here? Can you think of a good way to transcribe the sound?
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Low on spoons and tired and sick right now so just posting links that contain much of what we would have said anyway.

Don't Blame The Shooting In Tucson On The Psychiatrically Labeled
On The Questionable Wisdom Of Pathologizing Criminality
What creative responses can prevent future tragedies like the Tucson, Arizona shooting?

BTW we might open this entry up to comments later, but for now we're disabling comments because we don't have the physical or mental energy to deal with debates over this and especially if those debates are trying to provoke us into looking like the bad guy over issues where anyone who's read our page and writings should already know (i.e. the fact that we believe anyone has the right to take whatever drugs they want, as long as they're genuinely informed and it's genuinely a free choice. The idea that we as ex-patients, and worse yet, ex-patients who disagreed with most of our therapists' ideas about us, would even remotely have anywhere near the kind of power to take that right away from anyone even if we wanted to is ridiculous.) You don't have to agree with every single thing said or endorsed in the posts or blogs we linked to. Just that the gist of the particular statements we linked is very close to what we would have said ourselves if we could have.

Also potential hazards we don't want to deal with: people using this post to try to politicize our cognition or verbal processing styles and not actually understanding what we're saying at all because it apparently looks to them, at whatever level they're reading it on, like the same thing as their own personal crusades against whoever they've decided is The Evil Enemy in their particular favourite ideologies, even though it's not (and ideologies do not just refer to things you disagree with; people we often agree with very much can hold them). Or glamour-fuckery of the "there is no right and wrong, only what is, murder and torture can be wonderful too!" variety. (Where the types of things being referred to are things that the vast majority of people in the world agree are murder, and are ethically wrong, not having anything to do with issues like when should a fetus be considered separate from the mother or whatever.) Or people launching into big spiels based on assumptions they make about our and our family's history with mental illness labels and the type of behaviour that tends to be regarded as mentally ill and which ones we have and have not had experience with. (I'll just say, not out of malice but because I don't have the spoons to frame this in any but the most direct way right now, that if you try to guess, you probably will get it wrong. There are many things we don't talk about regarding those aspects of our past and family.)

Anyway didn't want to let this incident go by without forming some sort of response to it. And hoping the bluntness here doesn't rub anyone the wrong way, it isn't meant to wound but just to be honest; we aren't remotely near any level right now where we could slip hidden messages and subtexts into our writing, so what we say is exactly what we mean.

-Julian, mostly
amorpha: (Default)
Low on spoons now so sticking this together from pieces of text files. One insight we had recently was about how we often forget things we've realized or learned and have to re learn them over and over. Actually is kind of funny that one of the things we forget is that we forget we forget. But it's not really funny that we forget some really valid insights and have to learn them over and over. For example this:

See, the thing is, if you have the perception of there being something seriously fucked-up about a certain person or group of people, it's almost certain that someone somewhere, or more than one person, has seen it and just isn't saying anything. But when you think you're all alone, it can really make you crazy, thinking you're seeing something that isn't there, when everyone else acts like there's no reason not to love this person or forgive them all their "little faults" because they agree with me/aren't attacking me the REST of the time.

(And btw don't jump on us for ableist language because we said crazy-- Julian wrote that and she actually did mean crazy. That kind of isolating situation can literally drive a person mad, disconnect them from reality. We've earned the right to use it in a reclamational sense through our own experiences, which ironically many of the people saying that it is always an ableist word have not.)

Anyway. Learned it years ago. Had to learn it again at least three or four times since then. Learned it again just very recently (no real good sense of pace of time passing right now). And will have to re-learn it again and again in the future. But this is part of the point of our writing things down, I guess. We may happen to run across an insight like that and save ourselves the spoons of having to re-learn it from scratch yet again. Just wish there was some way we could get it to stick in our brain permanently.

This is why we re-read our own writing so much. Because sometimes we have re-found those old insights at the times when we most needed them, when we were failing at bringing all the right patterns together to re-learn them on our own.

Anyway, reading comments to this today we also found this post that Ettina had made, about what advice she would give to herself when she was younger. Coincidentally, we had re-found something earlier today that we wrote almost two years ago, thinking along the lines of what advice we would have given to ourselves at a certain time in our life-- we kept thinking 16-17-- or to other people having similar experiences.

I do not know what we would really have done if we met us from 15 years ago. Probably we would freak out because the advice we would want to give them would be on how to avoid very specific bad situations that we got into, but if they managed to avoid getting into those situations and our life was changed, we wouldn't be the people we are now and I don't know how we would change. So instead of thinking about time travel mindfucky stuff, we decided we would send something like this instead.

Common memory remembers wanting to post it somewhere but not knowing where to put it. It had started with a discussion we were having with someone else, about how incredibly toxic ideas about "the person you should have been" can be-- to cling to thoughts about "where I'd be now if I had just been able to do this thing," to be constantly followed around by a phantom of the person you or others believed you "should have" been. Anyway, what we wrote in 2008 says it much better than we can right now.

What we would say. Also, the 'but' at the beginning is completely echolalic and was not a response to anything previous to it. We're just posting it mostly verbatim with a few minor edits. )
amorpha: (Default)
Found this post the other day by Meowser of Fat Fu, All we are saying... is not what you're saying we said, about claims mainstream feminists often make about fat acceptance. And it gave us an idea to do an autism or general disability-related version. Because although we don't experience that situation wrt our weight (though we've found ourselves lately confronting having more society-influenced ideals about what our body "should" look like than we realized, since the medication we need to keep a semi-regular sleep schedule has made us gain some weight), we're way too familiar with the generalized situation of saying something again and again and again, and having people continually respond to... some strange illusion of you. Which is not saying anything like what you actually said. Or even remotely close to it. And doing this over and over again with every single person in a given place who tries to repeatedly make a certain point.

(by the way, feel free to add your own here)

We say, "Autistic people can have a place in society as they are, without attempts to make them non-autistic."
They hear, "Autism is not a disability and autistic people don't experience any difficulties or challenges whatsoever."

We say, "Autism is not like having cancer/AIDS/diabetes/etc."
They hear, "People with life-threatening illnesses should be denied medical treatment."

We say, "Autistic people should not be locked up in institutions or marginalized into special ed classrooms."
They hear, "You should make no attempt whatsoever to help your child or provide them with accomodations and leave them to rot."

We say, "Many of the behavioral and pharmaceutical 'therapies' and 'treatments' commonly used on autistic children are actually harmful and have caused harm to many of us."
They hear, "You are a bad, terrible, horrible, evil parent who doesn't love your child and should die."

We say, "Even though we experience many disability-related challenges, it does not mean we want to be made non-autistic-- we would rather live in a world where our accomodations are built into society the way yours are."
They hear, "Autistic people do not experience any disability-related challenges."

We say "I do not consider myself low-functioning/high-functioning, because I do not believe functioning labels are meaningful."
They hear "I am low-functioning/high-functioning."

We say anything at all.
They hear "I am not autistic, because I can speak/write and advocate for myself!"
amorpha: (Default)
Summary of this article, basically: A lot of people act like assholes online, and this can have significant negative consequences, and something should be done about it. Seriously, this is kind of up there with the various studies we've seen about how offline bullying is harmful, in terms of Pointing Our The Bloody Obvious.

...we're also avoiding the comments section and pre-emptively headdesking because in these kinds of discussions, there will almost inevitably be someone who tries to blame the abundance of people being complete assholes online on "geeks with poor social skills," and possibly from there to "geeks with Asperger's Syndrome," and from there to equating autism and/or "lack of empathy" in the sense of what they seem to believe empathy means, with sociopathy and lack of a conscience.

I can't even begin to describe all the things that are screwed-up about this interpretation. Autistic people online, as offline, are vastly more likely to be the victims of this stuff than its perpetrators. Whatever patterns seem to allow bullies offline to sniff out and target those who are different in some way, also seem to operate online in many places. Which is obviously not to say there can't also be autistic bullies-- we've dealt with a few-- but even "difficulty imagining others' mental states" is a completely different thing from genuine lack of conscience. Which is something we've seen a bit too up close and personal, at various times, to not have a horrible reaction to people equating it with either autism or "lack of empathy."

And while geeks often do have really bad ways of handling trolls and assholes in their own communities, it generally has almost nothing to do with autism or empathy (unless someone is being bullied for being autistic). 95% of the time, in situations we've been involved in, it has to do more with trying to avoid direct conflict, and hoping that sticking your head in the sand will somehow make the problem go away. And often with trying to hold a more positive, optimistic view of a bully or troll than their actions warrant, really. It's not that there are huge numbers of socially inept geeks who don't know any better than to be complete assholes to others, it's that there are huge numbers of people who stand by passively and enable bullies through inaction. Until it gets to the point where the bullies start banding together, and (like we mentioned in our post about Usenet) previously-neutral parties will start jumping in and going along with what the prevailing attitude of a group seems to be.

A lot more thoughts on bullying and communities, once again. Warning: long. )