pro choice movement

Arguments We Need to Stop Using as Pro-Choicers

When scrolling through the abortion tag, I see a lot of posts where the poster definitely has their heart in the right place and is fighting the good fight, but doesn’t have the correct information or is using an argument that doesn’t do much to further the pro-choice movement because it can easily be twisted or debunked by pro-lifers.

1. “It’s just a clump of cells,” or variants referring to the fetus as anything other than a fetus (parasite, etc).

Technically, it’s not wrong to say a fetus is a clump of cells. But technically, it’s not wrong to say that you and I are clumps of cells. 

Using the term “clump of cells,” or other variants is wrong because it is emotionally manipulative, in the same way that pro-lifers calling fetuses “innocent babies,” is emotionally manipulative. It’s easy for a pro-lifer to instantly take the argument less seriously, and use this argument as a strawman in the future. 

It’s important to stay factual and correct in our terminology by using words like “embryo,” or “fetus,” that don’t allow pro-lifers to detract from our argument by playing games with semantics and ignoring the larger message.

I think this can also be looked at as insensitive to some people who have had miscarriages, or may not have had the best experience with their abortions. To say that they only lost a “clump of cells” may be hurtful.

2. “It’s not alive.”

Zygotes, embryos, and fetuses are living things. They are not living in the same way that you and I are living, as sentient and autonomous beings with thoughts and feelings, but they are living. To say that they are not is not truthful, and again, makes it easy for pro-lifers to latch onto this statement and think that they’ve defeated the entire pro-choice argument by providing evidence that fetuses are living.

This doesn’t mean abortion is wrong. Simply being alive does not grant a fetus (or any other living person or thing) rights over another person’s body. 

Abortion is not okay because a fetus is not alive, abortion is okay because the pregnant person is also a living being with a right to bodily autonomy. 

3. “It’s not human/a human being/a person.”

Fetuses are, in fact, human. Humans do not gestate insects, reptiles, or cattle. They gestate other humans. To say that a fetus is not human is not truthful or beneficial.

The “human being,” argument is a little more tricky. This educational post by proteg-et-servio goes into the differences between human, human being, and person. Because “being” (as a noun) is defined as either “a living thing,” or “the state of existing,” it’s technically not correct to claim that a fetus is not a human being. It is in fact human, and it is in a state of existence. 

It is factually correct to say that a fetus is not a person. But, this shouldn’t really matter. Pro-lifers can argue all day long that a fetus is, or should be considered a person, but regardless of that fact, no person has rights over another person’s body.

1st state in U.S. to offer free abortions for all

(WASHINGTON TIMES) Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a landmark bill to provide free abortions for all, including illegal immigrants, by requiring insurance companies to cover the procedures and putting taxpayers on the hook for the tab.

The long-awaited signing of House Bill 3391, approved by the state legislature July 5 with no Republican votes, triggered a torrent of criticism from conservatives along with praise from the pro-choice movement.

“Thank Kate Brown for signing the nation’s most progressive reproductive health bill into law today!” said NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon in a statement.

Don’t you dare try to tell me the pro-choice movement doesn’t espouse some of its own ableism. I feel betrayed each and every time a pro-choice person talks about how hard it would be to raise a disabled child. Would it really be harder for the child to live, or just the people taking care of them? If you value disabled fetuses less than non-disabled ones, then you probably devalue disabled people as well. Your opinions don’t exist in a vacuum from each other.

anonymous asked:

You're mom should have aborted you

According to the pro-choice movement and @plannedparenthood, yes, she should have.

My parents were newlyweds. My mom was in her senior year of college when she found out she was pregnant. They didn’t have much money, and they were very young. My mom actually dropped out of college in her final semester because she was pregnant with me. 

Thankfully, despite the fact that I was unplanned and not well-timed, my parents chose life for me anyway. They both worked very hard to provide a good life for me, and later, for my brother. When I went to high school and my brother started kindergarten, my mom went back to school and got her degree. Only now she was in a totally different field. Her original major was Business Administration, which she hated and only took because she knew it would get her a job. 

About ten years after she dropped out, my brother was diagnosed with autism. In the process of learning about autism and all the therapy and services my brother would receive, my mom found something she was much more passionate about than Business Administration. 

When she went back to school, she majored in Behavioral Science and became an ABA therapist. Then she got her master’s degree, and is now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She loves her field and her job, and she loves her family.

Yes, you could argue that my mother should have aborted me, but she and I are both very glad that she didn’t. 

Dear liberals, we need to talk

It seems you often gloss over a certain demographic. Disabled people. Perhaps you do this unintentionally, but it still happens, and it still hurts. The reason I’m talking to you specifically is because movements like the alt right have dehumanized those with a disability to the point of no return. There is no getting through to them. It seems like disabled people have to remind people of and justify their existence and humanity all the time. That’s why I’m asking YOU to acknowledge this, because we need your support and solidarity. The left is guilty of being ableist in many ways too. 

I have some pretty upfront questions.

Why for instance, is it still rare to see a discussion (both on this website and in the media in general) on able bodied privilege?

Why is forcibly sterilizing and euthanizing disabled people seen as an acceptable and mainstream opinion in both liberal and right wing spaces? (The number of times I’ve seen people who call themselves liberal arguing that ‘mercy killings’ should be legal, oh boy. This one is terrifying for disabled people btw, just so you know.)

Why do you automatically equate their lives with suffering? Which again, devalues disabled people and is effectively a slippery slope towards the eugenics arguments?

How come no one is talking about the fact that infanticide against disabled newborns is legal in countries like Holland, or that Down Syndrome has been all but wiped out in ultra liberal countries like Iceland? And this is seen by many liberals as ‘progress’. Newflash, there is no ‘cure for Down Syndrome.’ Culling people based on their disability is genocide.

Why can’t we talk about the hundreds of thousands of women and doctors still practising what is actual eugenics, and the rampant ableism that the pro choice movement is heavily complicit in, without being accused of hating women, and being further silenced?

Why aren’t you protesting en masse about the alarming link between disability and poverty?

Why do you spend so much time talking over disabled people and yet so little time talking TO disabled people and asking them for their opinions?

Why are many of you still using words like r*tard and aut*st in your daily vocabulary without even considering how steeped in oppression and silencing those words are?

Please ask yourself these questions. You might even be taking part in these things unknowingly. We have seen an increasing awareness and unified stance against racism and sexism, which is good, yet ableism is still rarely talked about and is seen as less of a priority, despite it being rampant and e v e r y w h e r e.

A lot of disabled people are feeling pretty alone and afraid right now. So even if you can’t actively go out and protest or show solidarity, please do whatever you can to increase your awareness of, shut down, and resist partaking in, ableist behavior. Thank you.

anonymous asked:

Lolz if ur anti-pro life than ur obviously pro death. Nice job asshole

Actually, it’s the “pro-‘life’” movement I’m against, not just “life” in general - obviously, otherwise I would probably be dead myself.

The pro-“life”/anti-abortion movement is extremely pro-death, though. Almost 70,000 women die and 5,000,000 more suffer from serious, life altering injuries every single year as a result of not being able to access a safe, legal abortion.

The pro-“life” movement is also notorious for their acts of terrorism - there’s even an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to their incidents. They have murdered, attempted to murder, and conspired to murder/harm many people who provide abortion services. They’ve also committed and attempted to commit other acts of terrorism including bombings and arson.

A few years ago, pro-“life” politicians in Texas passed a bill basically defunding Planned Parenthood. Their maternal mortality rate has since doubled, and the search for illegal abortion inducing drugs or at-home abortions has risen. 

Pro-“life” groups across the country just yesterday cheered as their president signed an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule - which has in the past lead to a 40% RISE (or +2,000,000 annually) in (most likely unsafe) abortions and countless deaths globally. They most likely cheered as they don’t want to see “their” money go towards abortion, but fortunately for them it’s been illegal for federal funding to pay for abortion in foreign countries since the 70′s. They instead were simply cheering the defunding of HIV-prevention programs, domestic violence care/protection programs, facilities that provide contraception that prevents the abortions they claim to despise so much… I could go on, but you get the point.

The pro-“life” movement refuses to protect anyone’s life. They want to ban or defund anything that could possibly prevent unintended pregnancy or reduce abortion rates and will promote anything that has been proven to kill pregnant people. 

If you want to know what it’s like to be actually pro-life, spend some time hanging around with the pro-choice movement. You’ll see a reduction in abortions and in maternal mortality.

8

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this, to be honest. Do these women realize the irony of the fact that they wouldn’t even be ALLOWED to state their views this way had women before them not fought, starved, suffered, and died for their right to do so? That’s what feminism is, you poor, deluded fools.

If it wasn’t for feminists these women wouldn’t be allowed to vote, drive, work, or educate themselves. At all. Everything they have and enjoy in what makes up their life, every single right that these spoiled young women take for granted, their grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great-great-grandmothers fought relentlessly for so that we wouldn’t be denied what was denied them. I’m appalled that the history of the Suffragettes and the women’s rights movement isn’t taught in schools alongside black history or the Holocaust. It should be a mandatory part of any curriculum because clearly, it’s needed.

And you may not want to “politicize your gender”, but guess what, sweetheart? That is done FOR you the second you are born whether you want it to or not. That’s kind of part of the whole problem. Someone needs to sit these women down and teach them what their parents clearly failed to teach because my God…they have no clue.

anonymous asked:

do you think a person could be a feminist and pro-life? ever since that pro-life feminist group got outed from being an organization that sponsors the women's march i've been thinking about it a lot

I know this is a huge question, and in the past i have had different answers to it, but I am going to be completely honest and say that no, I don’t think someone can truly be feminist and pro-life. ]The entire idea of the pro-choice movement is that people who are pregnant have the right to choose what happens to their body, and that right there is a huge component of feminism. The anti-abortion movement is not about giving anyone this choice, and I think that someone who doesn’t believe in a women’s right to choose can’t truly be a feminist. Thanks for the question!

-The Daily Feminist

A long time ago...

I used to be pro-choice like… two or three years ago. I breathed the “her body, her choice” rhetoric like it was a drug. And then one day, I was faced with the question of world peace.

Somewhere in my subconscious, a little, planted seed of doubt said, “if you ever want to completely support world peace, abortion can’t existence. It, within itself, isn’t peaceful at all.” And from there, that is where this beautiful flower started to bloom within me.

My integration into the pro-life movement has been truly beautiful. I’m quite aware that there’s some bad apples, but I’m also aware there isn’t a single human group that is actually completely good. That’s why I don’t use the wrongs of the pro-choice movement as an argument. It derails from the true issue at hand. Don’t take this as me defending their actions.

I’ve met some wonderful people in this movement. All of which have their own struggles and their own defining characteristics. And I’ve also learned some valuable lessons, such as: the reason why all humans deserve to be equal is because of their shared humanity, not some arbitrary value that can’t be related to everyone.

Lastly, it opened my eyes to the lies told to me. I used to believe the pro-choice movement was the side of science, but most science that comes out of their mouths is pseudo-science. The lie that the fetus doesn’t matter because of arbitrary criteria.

anonymous asked:

I think something that's been tampered with by white feminism is abortion. Coming from someone who has had an abortion, it isn't something I want to rejoice or celebrate. I didn't want the abortion, I was practically forced into it. Abortion shouldn't be seen as empowering, or feminine or anything. No ones abortion story is the same I get that but I hate how white feminist glamorize it. Sorry I just cannot understand how an abortion is seen as empowering I am still sick for my abortion.

And it is not just abortion they’ve tampered with but pro-choice movement too. I have a friend who got pregnant by a rape and decided to keep her child. So many of her white friends tried to force her into an abortion when she made it clear she did not want it. When she went off on them they ended up breaking their friendship with her and spreading rumors about her. Why couldn’t they just respect her choice? To this day I don’t understand why they treated her so poorly.   Like it just showed me pro-choice white girls are there to support you until you actually make YOUR CHOICE to keep your child and then they turn your back on you. I didn’t want to tell any of my white friends I got an abortion because they ended up praising and applauding me for it and I didn’t want it. My abortion was not my choice. And when my friend made her choice they hated her. I’m sorry but sometimes pro-choice white girls are no better than pro-life white girls. There with you until you make a choice that they don’t agree with. 

I’m really sorry for you and your friend. Coming from someone who has never had an abortion, or been in your situations I cannot imagine. I myself am pro-choice and I will support any choice you pick. That means abortion or keeping it. I do find that in today’s day and age, a lot of people tend to always assume pro-choice means pro-abortion and nothing else and I wondered why, well now I guess I know. Yeah I do agree, I feel white feminist have kind of tampered the meaning behind pro-choice and in some time, tend to forget that abortion may be a traumatic experience for some women. Not every woman wants to celebrate it, not every woman is happy to get an abortion. Some are and that’s fine, but I don’t think it is something that should be glamorized as you stated because…that’s just some Lena Duhnam shit right there. I even saw a white woman comparing abortion to “the joy of giving birth” and I just don’t think that is something to be done.  That actually got many women upset, many women who have had abortions. 

If you are really pro-choice, then you will respect anyone’s decision in the matter as long as it is their personal decision. Shaming a rape victim for keeping her baby, let alone she is dealing with the weight of being raped, is just low and disgusting and I can’t even imagine how she dealt with that. 

anyway, abortion is a choice and keeping a baby is a choice. that is the whole point of being pro-choice, not shaming a woman for a choice she makes or glamorizing something that can be traumatic. 

A Reading List for the Revolution

Transforming a Rape Culture, edited by Emilie Buchwald, Pamela R. Fletcher, and Martha Roth

Hands of the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC, edited by Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young, and Dorothy M. Zellner

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, by Angela Y. Davis

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?: Police Violence and Resistance in the United States, edited by Maya schenwar, Joe Macare, and Alana Yu-Lan   

Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment, by James I. Charlton

Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, by bell hooks

Class War: The Privatization of Childhood, by Megan Erickson

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex, by Cristina Page

Safe, Legal, and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States, by Melody Rose

The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World, by Michelle Goldberg

Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, by bell hooks

Women, Race, and Class, by Angela Y. Davis

Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, by Sarah Erdreich

Women and Socialism: Class, Race, and Capital, by Sharon Smith

Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights, by Katha Pollitt

Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation, by Sherry Wolf

Black Liberation and Socialism, by Ahmed Shawki

Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, by Christopher L. Hayes

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America: Problems in Race, Political Economy, and Society, by Manning Marabel

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by Naomi Klein

The Silenced Majority: Stories of Uprisings, Occupations, Resistance, and Hope, by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

Against Austerity: How We Can Fix the Crisis They Made, by Richard Seymore

Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt, by Sarah Jaffe

The Fight for Fifteen: The Right Wage for a Working America, by David Rolf

Demand the Impossible: A Radical Manifesto, by Bill Ayers

Are Prisons Obsolete?, by Angela Y. Davis

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, by Rebecca Solnit

ich-was-ein-chint-so-wolgetan  asked:

Hi, so I'm definitely pro-choice, but I know this girl who's pro-life, does this mean she's not a feminist? Feminism is equal rights, which translates to equal health care, which for women includes the right to an abortion. So is someone still a feminist if they're pro-life?

The thing about Feminism is that it is comprised of so many different movements and sectors which all uphold various beliefs and ideals. What they all have in common is simply that they want equality for women, but their concept or understanding of what that is can be very nuanced. Unlike what many anti-feminists believe, feminists are not a monolith. 

Feminist movements can be very problematic and they definitely have been throughout history, and it is hard to police on who gets to be a feminist or try to gate keep what a feminist movement should look like. 

I am aware that there are pro-life feminist movements, usually supported by women of organised religions. 

Of course, I find this very problematic and a violation of a woman’s rights over her own body. I would personally argue that it is ‘unfeminist’ to be pro-life. 

But let’s see it from another perspective:

There have been feminists movements throughout history that refused to acknowledge women of colour, trans women, LGBTQIA+ women, women from non-western cultures, and I could argue that those movements are very ‘anti-feminist’. But it doesn’t really change the fact that they have been written down in history as influential feminists movements.

I think to claim someone is not a feminist when they have problematic views is dangerous in the sense that it will be avoiding important feminist discourse. We need to be able to identify problems within the feminist movement and to be able to challenge the ideas of other feminists. 

In short: We don’t get to decide or gate keep who are feminists or who identify with the label when it comes to other women, as the movement is about their rights and identity. HOWEVER, we are all within our own right to tell another feminists that their feminism is problematic and compromises the rights of other women. 

I think intersectional feminists need to engage with other feminist movements to have these kind of conversations so that specific discourses are productive. I don’t mean to suggest to pander to pro-lifers but we have to acknowledge that feminism has its ugly and problematic side. To pretend that feminism doesn’t have racism, internalised misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, cisnormativity, Islamophobia and anti-sex worker rhetoric would be incredibly dangerous and maladaptive I think. 

This is just my own perspective of the issue. I also believe that we are interacting each other and even on Tumblr I see intersectional feminists having discourse with other feminists who identify differently, or not as intersectional as they should be. 

I use to be the type to say, ‘YOU ARE NOT A FEMINIST BECAUSE X, Y AND Z’ but then I realised that I am just pushing the problematic aspects of feminism under the carpet and refusing to do the work to ensure feminism is a safe space for all. 

Back Alley Abortions

If and when abortion is made illegal, Pro-Choicers bring up the argument of the deaths that could occur from illegal abortions. Women know the dangers and consequences of their actions if they do it. Having said that, why do you blame the pro-life movement for these back alley abortions if we’re against it too? A woman made the CHOICE to have that unsafe abortion.

On November the first, Autistic Speaking day, I decided to write an actually rather long Q&A with things I and other autistic people get asked most often. If you’d like other people to know these things or just agree with me, feel free to reblog!

Q: Autistic person, or person with autism?
A: I prefer “autistic person”, because I don’t feel like autism is something separate from me, my brain and my identity. It’s not an ink splotch on a picture, it’s more like a color filter that covers the entire picture and changes the way it is. Autism is not what I have, it’s who I am. More than that, there is no reason to put the person first since nothing about autism negates being a real person. Which is why most people in the community also prefer “autistic person”.

Q: Is autism a mental illness?
A: No, it’s a developmental disorder. The main difference between those two things is that mental illnesses typically have a start and sometimes a finish - they can be caused by something, and they can be treated and sometimes even cured with therapy and/or medication. Autism doesn’t have a start because people are born autistic and they die autistic. And it can’t be cured or treated, only accommodated.

Another reason why we separate them is because in my opinion mental illnesses cause distress and suffering just by being present, while with autism the distress and suffering mostly come from lack of accommodations, bullying, abuse and neglect. Which is why we are now trying to move away from this classification and call autism a “neurotype” - not a malfunction, just a different type of nervous system.

Q: Is autism a disability?
A: Yes, in the social model of disability. Meaning that the neurotype itself isn’t disabling, but the society and the world is. Autistic people make up about 1-2% of the population, so the vast majority of people in the world are allistic (not autistic). So the world wasn’t built for us. However with enough accommodations, help, understanding and acceptance we can change the world, and then autistic people won’t be disabled anymore.

Q: Should we search for a cure for autism?
A: No, mostly because of scientific reasons. Research shows that autism is more likely to be an anatomical brain difference rather than a biochemical one, meaning that it can’t be fixed or altered after birth or a certain step in prenatal brain development. So the only “cure” we can develop is a prenatal screening test that will allow us to detect it and give parents an option to abort. I stand with the pro choice movement and the right to abortion, however I do thing that we can come up with a better use of money than stopping autistic people from being born in the first place.

And the second reason is that the majority of autistic people don’t want a cure! As I’ve said, autism is an integral part of our neurology and curing us would be akin to killing us and creating a brand new person. Autism comes with problems and challenges but it also has many traits that I love and wouldn’t want to lose. And even for people who do want a cure, a more manageable and realistic goal would be to invest in support and accommodation that would help them with their problems.

Q: What about therapies for autistic people?
A: Sure. There are several reasons why autistic people might require therapy. A lot of us have comorbid anxiety disorders, often due to mistreatment, bullying and abuse, so therapy for anxiety could help some of us. Sensory integration therapy might benefit autistic people by helping them better understand their sensory perception and learning how to deal with negative aspects of sensory processing disorder. Some autistic people choose to attend social skills classes although we have to understand that being a social butterfly isn’t a requirement to be respected and accepted, so no one should be forced to take them. And of course autistic people can have mental illnesses that they might want to get therapy for. However don’t view autism as something that needs to be cured and fixed. So autism isn’t something you need therapy for by default.

Q: What about ABA, applied behavioral analyses?
A: ABA is to autism is what conversion therapy is to being non-straight or non-cisgender. It doesn’t help the autistic person, it just forces them into seeming more neurotypical which on the surface looks like they got better. It is often abusive, it leaves children and adults with higher rates of mental illness including PTSD, and it comes from a basic premise that autistic people are not whole, real people with thoughts, feelings and consciousness. Read more of my thoughts on ABA here: http://iamthestrangerinmoscow.tumblr.com/post/152193710933/hey-i-liked-the-post-you-did-for-parents-of

Q: What kind of autism do you have?
A: Autism! It’s true that we used to have different diagnosis for autism, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, Kanner’s Syndrome, PDD-NOS, childhood autism, atypical autism and so on. However further research and investigation lead the psychiatric field to realize that this separation was unnecessary because the diagnostic criteria for these disorders weren’t different enough. For example the only thing that separated Asperger’s and Kanner’s in DSM-4 was the time of developing verbal speech which said nothing about persons needs and abilities later in life. As a result we now recognize that autism is a spectrum with vastly varying combinations of traits, needs, talents, abilities and problems, but of the same nature. So there’s just one diagnosis (in the DSM-5) - autism spectrum disorder.

Q: Are you high-functioning or low-functioning?
A: I’m a real person with a complex combination of abilities and needs that can’t be put into one of two rigid categories. Depending on how you describe me, I can be labeled as both. If you say that I’m an adult who can’t live on their own, can’t do most basic housework, can’t even speak on the phone, struggles with severe executive dysfunction and anxiety and needs daily assistance, then I sound “low-functioning”. If you say that I’m a student at a university studying their special interest, fully verbal and eloquent speaker, had no developmental delays, can pass as neurotypical most of the time and is considered smart, then I sound “high-functioning”. In reality I’m neither.

Functioning labels don’t really serve their purpose as a descriptor of needs and abilities, rather they simplify them and lead to more discrimination. High-functioning means your needs are neglected and your problems are denied. Low-functioning means your talents and abilities are ignored and you are denied respect and autonomy. Both are really detrimental to us, so most of us really dislike functioning labels. Some other descriptors that might work are “verbal/nonverbal”, “living independently/requires some level of assistance”, “has an intellectual disability/learning disability/a mental illness” and so on. You’ll have to speak about each person individually cause we are all very different.

Q: Should I support Autism Speaks and Light it up blue?
A: No, by all means no. Autism Speaks is a terrible organization that cares more about money than autistic people. They call is a tragedy, a burden, a disease, the reason for divorces, worse than cancer and AIDS combined, a fate worse than death and so on. They use autism as a fear-mongering tactic to earn more money that goes to staff salaries and advertising (with less than 5% going to autistic people and their families!). They support ABA and abusive fake treatments of autism. They refuse to listen to us and basically they speak for us and over us. Boycott Autism Speaks and Light It Up Blue. More info here: http://autisticadvocacy.tumblr.com/post/102634036950/so-why-is-autism-speaks-bad-im-confused

Q: Which autism organization I can support?
A: ASAN - autistic self-advocacy network, and the Autistic Women Network, are the two good organizations I know.

Q: Is the puzzle piece symbol a good symbol for autism?
A: Personally I dislike it because of the association with Autism Speaks. It can be interpreted as “autistic people are missing pieces” which I think is rather dehumanizing. I prefer the neurodiversity symbol, which is the infinity symbol in rainbow colors. If other autistic people wish to use the puzzle piece for themselves, I’m okay with that, but I don’t like it being pushed on others, especially by allistic people.

Q: Are you professionally diagnosed with autism?
A: I am, but no one needs a paper diagnosis to know they are autistic. You can figure it out with research and help from various resources. There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t be able to get a professional diagnosis. Money and accessibility are the biggest barrier, however systematic oppression also plays a role. Autism is under-diagnosed in girls/women and people of color, and many people are denied a diagnosis because they don’t fit the stereotype of an autistic person. Typically an autism specialist is required to give a paper diagnosis and they aren’t always available - and non-specialists make a lot of mistakes.

Also a paper diagnosis might put the person in risk, depending on where they live. In my home country, Russia, a professional psychiatric diagnosis on your official record will mean denial of education, employment, adoption and even a driver’s license, which is why my family had to pay for the diagnosis out of pocket in a private clinic. All these are reasons why I, as well as most good autism organizations, support well-informed autism self-diagnosis.

Q: Where can I learn more about autism?
A: From other autistic people! No-one can be a better expert in autism than an actually autistic person. If you need answers, ask us. Some good resources to start are: YouTube channel “Neurowonderful”, ASAN official site, musingsofanaspie.com , askanautistic.tumblr.com and other autistic people on tumblr. Don’t speak over us, listen to us and accept us.

Nothing about us without us.