Today, June 18th, is Autistic Pride Day. And while I’m proud to be autistic, today and everyday, today I am also raging mad. Curious to see how others were expressing their pride, I went onto Twitter and checked out #AutisticPrideDay. And there, amongst the expressions of pride, self-love and solidarity, I found images of … puzzle pieces. Excuse my language, but I fucking hate fucking puzzle pieces. And yes, I am mad!!
I admit not all autistics react in such a negative way to the puzzle piece symbol. They do seem to be in the monority, but I respect their views. This post shows opinions from both sides. And this one goes into detail on why they don’t like it either. And this beautiful post by Judy Endow explains how she used to use puzzle piece symbols, but no longer does so.
And so, I find myself, in 2016, being faced with image after image showing this outdated and (to me) offensive image, and I am mad!
I am not a puzzle. I am a proud autistic lady. And all I want is to be able to use a hashtag on Twitter that I can be proud of, instead of (yet again) finding my efforts, and my day, co-opted by unthinking parents and professionals, and possibly even a few autistics.
I won’t go into other issues I came across today, such as Person First Language, Functioning Labels, use of words like ‘disorder’ and ‘disease’. I’ll leave those for other blog posts. Because there’s only so much rage I can handle!
I am a Proud Autistic, not a Puzzle!!!
[image of the words ‘Down with this!’ in black. Below it is a grey ‘thumbs down’ symbol. Below that is a Puzzle Piece symbol made up of four puzzle pieces: two red, one yellow and one blue, forming a square.]