In my first article, I talked about need for autistic people to be given fair treatment in the qualification, testing and selection process to serve in the U.S. military. I am thankful so many people support this struggle. This made me think about the larger fight for autism rights in general and how much we need allies to help win the fight and gain our rights. Throughout history white people marched with black people during the civil rights movement, men marched for suffrage alongside women, straight people marched alongside gay people and the list goes on. These movements wouldn’t have been as successful if it weren’t for allies from the majority.
A huge part of the autism rights movement is convincing people that discrimination is actively hurting the community. It is also about showing the majority that we are capable and teaching them to look past our limitations and think about how we could help. I want to reach a national audience and I think with the right allies we can. This made me realize the need for greater allies in the quest for autism rights.
In the excellent opinion piece “What the Neurodiversity Movement Gets Wrong About Autism,” Gwendolyn Kansen talks about how the autism rights movement tries to distance themselves from mental illness awareness groups when in reality we should be joining forces with these groups. She says the potential benefits would be increased research funding and awareness programs in schools and the public. We would also gain access to community mental health clinics for autistic people and their families.
I believe our task now is to gather allies from all over so we can raise awareness about the prejudices that affect autistic people. With these allies we could make society more equal for the vast majority of autistics, demonstrating that people on the autism spectrum can help our society in a myriad of ways, including serving our government in the military and civilian sectors. Allies could show neurotypicals that people with autism are not monsters, we’re your neighbors, family members, friends, coworkers and most importantly people who deserve equal rights and the opportunity to prove what we can do.