Today is August 8th. And the very first D-day. That is, Autistic Dignity Day. Today is about so much more than being proud of who we are. It’s about standing up and demanding that people respect our dignity.
Standing up can be difficult for a lot of Autistic people to do. Both literally (due to physical disabilities) and figuratively (due to survival instincts). And I’m certainly not trying to put pressure on anyone who cannot do so. It can be safer to hide behind the mask. It can be a life-or-death matter for some. Or a career-and-income saving measure. Or a response to trauma.
But just as with the #TakeTheMaskOff campaign, it can be life-changing in a positive way to declare “I am Autistic. I have Dignity. I have Autonomy. I deserve and expect Respect. I believe in Empowerment. I DARE to be Âût.”
We can no longer just wait around for the world to give us these things. These human rights. The time has come to demand them. To fight for them.
And fundamentally it all starts with Dignity.
The first sentence of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights“. But what, exactly, is Dignity?
Dignity is the right of a person to be valued and respected for their own sake, and to be treated ethically.
It can be a confusing term for sure, but I found this great article that explains it clearly. The article ends with these words:
The idea of dignity is fundamental to how we regard ourselves. It’s something that connects people from all kinds of cultures and beliefs, and which has ultimately led to the universal recognition that we need to protect and realise this dignity for each and every person. We do this through human rights.
So, today, on Autistic Dignity Day, we are demanding that our human rights are recognised, starting with the right to Dignity.