strange little girl, where are you going?

My almost-blog.

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#justiceforissy

Dr. Phil is going to be interviewing Kelli Stapleton, the mother who tried to murder her Autistic daughter Issy. Please contact your local media representatives, and particularly tweet at Drew Carey and the other celebrities who were all about justice for Autistic teenagers last week, to remind them that Issy is the victim here and trying to murder your child is not ‘understandable.’ 

I am throwing a LOT of side eye at people and media entities who are full of righteous outrage about the “ice bucket prank” but silent or sympathetic to Kelli Stapleton trying to kill her daughter. Yes, dumping a bucket of urine and feces on someone evokes more of a sense of intentional cruelty to a lot of people. Yes, Kelli Stapleton claims that her hope was for herself and her daughter to be together in heaven and be better off. But as we are fond of saying in internet social justice land, intent is not fucking magic and the fact is I think most of us would rather survive a bucket of piss than a parent trying to murder us.

Issy Stapleton didn’t deserve an attempt on her life from the person she was supposed to be able to trust — to have to go the rest of her life knowing that her mother tried to kill her — any more than the boy in Bay Village, Ohio deserved to have a bucket of urine poured on him when he thought he was doing the ice bucket challenge.

This is not about lack of services; parents who try to murder their disabled children do not have lack of services in common, and parents without access to services don’t try to kill their kids at any really disproportionate rate. This is about a culture that devalues disabled people in general and Autistic people specifically, and does this so successfully that parents buy into it.

Filed under autism tw murder ableism justiceforissy issy stapleton kelli stapleton dr. phil drew carey

310 notes

Ice Bucket Challenge for ASAN

theubermenschthatmakesyoucry:

respectissexy:

yessikad:

respectissexy:

Video transcript:

I’m not going to use the word ‘bullying’ or ‘prank,’ here, because I think it is trivializing to say something like ‘prank’ when we’re talking about genuine cruelty. I think this was an assault meant to degrade and humiliate a person. And I’m not going to link to the video that went viral, because I know the boy tried to hide the video from his mother after his attackers put it on Instagram, because he was embarrassed. And although I don’t believe victims of violence have anything to be ashamed of, I still think he deserved to have a say in whether more people saw that video. And so I think it’s sort of adding insult to injury that instead of being taken down, it went viral, and now everyone is tweeting and sharing this video that was very humiliating and that the victim didn’t want out there. So I didn’t watch it, and I’m not going to share the video or link to any article that does.

The mother put the video on YouTube to rise awareness on bullying. I think what they did is sick and I hope they get caught or go to jail or something. I don’t understand how someone can do something like that!

I know that. And while I really hope — and for the sake of giving people the benefit of the doubt in bad situations, I’m assuming — that she asked her son’s permission before putting it on YouTube, I can’t imagine even if he did assent that he ever could have guessed it would go viral and be seen by millions of people and all these celebrities and such. Assuming he did consent to his mom putting the video up, I wonder if knowing how widespread it would go would have changed his answer. In any case, because I CAN’T know those things, I am erring on the safe side and not taking the risk of further spreading a video that the victim may not want us to see.

From what i’ve read, he told her not to post it online and she did it anyways.

Oh Jesus. Where did you read that?

As I said, even if he had given her permission, I honestly don’t think it would be all sensible or ethical for a celebrity twitter or Buzzfeed to assume that consent for his mother’s facebook friends to see something meant consent for the whole internet to see it. But if his mom violated his consent, that’s even more upsetting. Like, we’re getting the perspectives of his family, and no one has spoken to him or gotten a statement from him. And maybe he doesn’t want to talk. Maybe he doesn’t want to give a statement. Maybe he doesn’t communicate in a way that the press would interpret respectfully and he realizes that. I don’t know this young man’s life. But right now I keep hearing that his name is being withheld and no one is asking for his point of view because we want to protect his privacy. But where was that concern for his privacy when the video went viral, a video he made it clear he was ashamed of? This is not a matter of Autistic people being “hard to communicate with” — he obviously communicated clearly enough that he did not want the video seen. His mom was not confused about it.

Filed under autism ableism ableism tw abuse tw

2 notes

Changing Conversations: When Parents Murder Disabled Children

Horrible, upsetting, and relevant to my video about how we talk about Autistic children and how the rhetoric of wiping out Autism puts those kids in danger.

Filed under murder tw suicide tw ableism tw abuse tw autism

5 notes

justlikeabaroness asked: I wanted to compliment you on your Ice Bucket/Autism Speaks post. Aside from the nitty-gritty fact that most autistic people prefer "autistic person" to "person with autism", I think you did an awesome job describing what our community faces (I'm an autistic adult) and why A$ hurts, rather than helps. Your sister's lucky to have you.

Thank you!

This was actually a point that I wanted to mention but decided to wait until someone pointed it out. I know the preferred language of ASAN and most Autistic self-advocates is identity-first. I also know that some prefer person-first. There was a great post a while back about the reasons and arguments for each, the people who tend to prefer one over the other, and why both are valid for self-identifying.

Because I don’t really have a horse in that race, I used them interchangeably. Mostly I did that because it’s a seven-minute video and as a writer I know that it’s really hard to hold someone’s attention over a long period if you keep using one phrase over and over again. I already had a bunch of repeating phrases in that video that couldn’t be helped — like Autism Speaks and Bay Village, Ohio — so I wanted to cut back on repetition otherwise. I also thought that using both might be less alienating to people with opposing preferences than sticking to one.

So ultimately it was a stylistic choice to use both, which may have been wrong, but it was a decision I came to after considering it and after having read a lot of different disability advocates’ perspectives on identity-first vs. person-first language. But had I chosen to stick to one, I would have used identity-first because the video was for ASAN and that is the language they use, and because it is what most of my Autistic friends prefer. It is what I normally use in my daily life.

Thank you so much for commenting, both for the kindness and the correction. I was hoping I would have an opportunity to explain that and get more feedback on it.

37,028 notes

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T LIKE TO TALK ON THE PHONE BUT WANT TO HELP KEEP THE INTERNET AWESOME

thesylverlining:

liberalsarecool:

laineydiemond:

  1. Go to  
  2. Click on 14-28 
  3. Comment “I want internet service providers classified as common carriers.”
  4. Done! 

Please reblog for people who have phone-related phobias or anxieties.

Be sure to hit “confirm” to send your comment.

This is me and I care deeply but cannot do phones! (one reason why internet is SO IMPORTANT!) I know a lot of you can’t either! Do the thing instead!

(via twistmalchik)

310 notes

Ice Bucket Challenge for ASAN

yessikad:

respectissexy:

Video transcript:

I’m not going to use the word ‘bullying’ or ‘prank,’ here, because I think it is trivializing to say something like ‘prank’ when we’re talking about genuine cruelty. I think this was an assault meant to degrade and humiliate a person. And I’m not going to link to the video that went viral, because I know the boy tried to hide the video from his mother after his attackers put it on Instagram, because he was embarrassed. And although I don’t believe victims of violence have anything to be ashamed of, I still think he deserved to have a say in whether more people saw that video. And so I think it’s sort of adding insult to injury that instead of being taken down, it went viral, and now everyone is tweeting and sharing this video that was very humiliating and that the victim didn’t want out there. So I didn’t watch it, and I’m not going to share the video or link to any article that does.

The mother put the video on YouTube to rise awareness on bullying. I think what they did is sick and I hope they get caught or go to jail or something. I don’t understand how someone can do something like that!

I know that. And while I really hope — and for the sake of giving people the benefit of the doubt in bad situations, I’m assuming — that she asked her son’s permission before putting it on YouTube, I can’t imagine even if he did assent that he ever could have guessed it would go viral and be seen by millions of people and all these celebrities and such. Assuming he did consent to his mom putting the video up, I wonder if knowing how widespread it would go would have changed his answer. In any case, because I CAN’T know those things, I am erring on the safe side and not taking the risk of further spreading a video that the victim may not want us to see.

Filed under autism ableism abuse

310 notes

Ice Bucket Challenge for ASAN

Video transcript, in case you want to just read through and skip to the part where I dump ice on my head. Which is pretty wimpy, because I don’t have a bucket and thus used a bowl. I would love it if people would share this, tweet it, etc.:

My name is Tracey, and today I’m doing a different kind of ice bucket challenge. I want to talk about violence against Autistic people. I am not Autistic myself; I have a sister with Autism. By now you’ve all heard about the incident in Ohio where an Autistic teenager, who thought he was going to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge with his classmates, instead had urine and feces dumped over his head.

I’m not going to use the word ‘bullying’ or ‘prank,’ here, because I think it is trivializing to say something like ‘prank’ when we’re talking about genuine cruelty. I think this was an assault meant to degrade and humiliate a person. And I’m not going to link to the video that went viral, because I know the boy tried to hide the video from his mother after his attackers put it on Instagram, because he was embarrassed. And although I don’t believe victims of violence have anything to be ashamed of, I still think he deserved to have a say in whether more people saw that video. And so I think it’s sort of adding insult to injury that instead of being taken down, it went viral, and now everyone is tweeting and sharing this video that was very humiliating and that the victim didn’t want out there. So I didn’t watch it, and I’m not going to share the video or link to any article that does.

A lot of people are using this to raise awareness about Autism and what they’re calling bullying. Drew Carey and some other celebrities have offered thousands of dollars as a reward to find the perpetrators, and if the police find them without a reward, which it looks like they will, he plans on donating that money to Autism Speaks. And I’m making this video to challenge him and everyone else to please donate their money somewhere else.

Autism Speaks doesn’t have any Autistic people in positions of leadership. They actually lobbied against a proposed amendment to the Autism Cares Act that would basically mandate greater representation of Autistic people in the groups making decisions that impact their lives.

Only 4% of Autism Speaks’ budget goes toward improving the lives of people with Autism and their families. Most of their budget goes to research, and most of their research money is spent on trying to prevent and cure Autism, not on learning how to enhance the quality of life for people living with Autism.

Autism Speaks uses language that dehumanizes Autistic people. They compare Autism unfavorably to pediatric AIDS, cancer, and diabetes, and basically speak as though if you have a child with Autism, that kid may as well be already dead.


That is the kind of language that justifies violence. In fact, Autism Speaks once did a TV spot, called Everyday Autism, where one of their board members talked about how she used to want to drive off a cliff with her daughter in the car. She said this right in front of her daughter, and the takeaway was supposed to be that this was understandable because having a child with Autism is so difficult. I haven’t asked my parents, but I have never, ever wanted to kill my sister. But parents often DO kill their disabled and Autistic children, and the rhetoric of Autism Speaks, more often than not, is the rhetoric of parents who kill their children; of hopelessness, of burden, of Autism being a plague that needs to be wiped out.

Autism Speaks has given table space at their fundraisers to the Judge Rotenberg Center a school that is under investigation for using painful electric shocks on students, a practice that has been defined by the U.N. As an act of torture. This kind of institutional abuse of disabled students is very common, and Autism Speaks has never really made this a priority. Institutional violence and caretaker violence represents as great a danger to Autistic people as peer violence does, and they come from the same place – the dehumanizing of disabled people, which Autism Speaks participates in.

So as you can see, the legacy of Autism Speaks has not really been a legacy of fighting violence against people with Autism. It’s been a legacy of normalizing violence, enabling violence, and keeping people with Autism from accessing the sort of power and agency that would let them effectively fight violence. Autistic self-advocates have tried to reform Autism Speaks for years, but Autism Speaks has ignored their critiques while continuing to take credit for their work. When you support Autism Speaks, you support silencing Autistic people, and you support the myth that the existence of Autistic people victimizes those around them. That is the language of violence.

People in Bay Village, Ohio are doing some amazing things rallying around this boy who was attacked, and they’re having some great conversations about respect and acceptance of people with cognitive disabilities. It would be such a waste if that awesome energy and that desire to foster respect and acceptance just wound up funneling money into Autism Speaks because it happens to be the biggest Autism nonprofit, when that money could so such amazing things elsewhere.

I have made a donation of forty dollars – and my boyfriend has matched it – to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has a mission of fostering acceptance and creating opportunities for Autistic people. They organize programming at colleges and universities to make campuses more accessible and inclusive. They organize paid internships to give Autistic people job opportunities, they work to give Autistic people more of a role in shaping legislation and policy that impacts them, like the Autism Cares Act that I mentioned earlier, and most importantly, they are active in combating violence and abuse against people with disabilities.

Fighting violence against disabled people and the attitudes that normalize and enable that violence, has always been a priority of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, and it will always be a priority of mine. I challenge Drew Carey, Bay Village Ohio, and anyone who shares that priority to give their money to the Autism Self-Advocacy Network or a number of other organizations, which I have linked below, instead of Autism Speaks. None of these organizations are even half as well-funded as Autism Speaks, and ten thousand dollars would be a huge deal to any of them.

And because I feel so strongly about this, I’m going to dump ice on my head now.

About Autism Speaks:

http://goldenheartedrose.tumblr.com/post/17644810872/so-whats-the-problem-with-autism-speaks

http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/07/georgetown-say-no-to-autism-speaks.html

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/05/19/336513/-An-Autistic-Speaks-About-Autism-Speaks

http://autisticadvocacy.org/2014/01/2013-joint-letter-to-the-sponsors-of-autism-speaks/

Good alternative organizations:

ASAN www.autisticadvocacy.org

Autism Women’s Network http://autismwomensnetwork.org/

Autism National Committee http://www.autcom.org/

ADAPT (disability rights organization) http://www.adapt.org/

Filed under autism autism speaks autistic self advocacy network asan ableism tw ableism ice bucket challenge

2 notes

respectissexy:

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I am planning on posting a video tomorrow and trying to figure out in advance how to get videos from my phone to tumblr. So if it works, enjoy this video of my cat Pigeon fighting a stuffed octopus.

Pfft, nailed it.