I’ve recently come across a few autistics who have problematic views or use problematic language, such as discussing autistic “symptoms” or viewing autism as a disorder. Some of these people have pretty big platforms, such as popular YouTube channels, and so reach a large audience, mainly of NT parents who may be influenced, for the worse, by these views.
When they are called out on their language or their views, their reaction seems to be one of crying “bully” or “troll” or “censorship”. They play the victim, and sometimes go so far as to “set” their followers on the person who dared criticise them. They misrepresent the very valid criticism and claim they don’t understand why they are being criticized. Even though it’s often not the first, second or even third time such criticism has been leveled at them by various autistic advocates.
They also often cry about how they’d “understand” if it were an NT person criticizing them, but a “fellow autistic”? What they don’t understand is that being autistic doesn’t give you membership of a club where you are beyond reproach. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it’s the duty of your fellow autistics to rein you in. To go “collect our own” as it were. We really do have to be watchful of our fellow autistic advocates, and make sure they are not spreading language and opinions that ultimately lead to our harm.
I know it’s hard to hear that your views and words are harming others. But pointing this out is not an attack. I firmly believe in the saying “when you know better, you do better”. So, if someone criticizes you, please listen with an open mind and a clear head. There is no shame in admitting you were wrong and moving forward having learnt something. I’ve done it myself, many times. In fact, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to point out where I was going wrong, and to show me how wrong things like functioning labels and “Aspie superiority” are. And being called out on my views didn’t make me a victim. It made me a better advocate.