Someone I follow on Tumblr once wrote a big long essay about the ridiculous awfulness of something they heard people in an activist group say:
“I don’t know what the point of our community is if we’re not fighting oppression. In the future, when we don’t have to fight like this, I can’t imagine what we’ll do instead.”
(Or something like that.)
And on the one hand, I understand how someone would feel like that. But it’s still awful.
I can understand it because finding people who have the same anxieties and traumas that I have, people who I can connect to and understand on that topic, has been incredibly comforting and validating for me. It is kind of weird and sad to imagine that community going away, people not being as drawn to it or caring as much about it.
But 1, if people feel less drawn to tiny little autistic communities because the rest of the world is now more welcoming for them, and most importantly because they aren’t traumatized, it’s ok to feel nostalgic for that little tight-knit community but that’s not a bad thing to have happen!
And 2, we do have positive things, as a community. We have things that are unique to us and things that bring us together, besides trauma. And the truth is I feel just as strongly about those things, I feel just as attached to them, I need them just as much. I need things like “infodump to me and then I’ll infodump to you,” I need fiction about autistic characters by autistic people, I need stim toy recommendations, I need pithy AAC prose, I need “femme NOS”. All these things remind me that we are OK, that I am not everything my self-hatred tells me I am, that we can live and be happy as we are. Those things are just as vibrant and awesome as the stories about trauma and abuse and self-hatred.