Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Look Both Ways! Vexed and Intersectional, by Ibby Grace

(Note: This post is pretty specific to a particular community and might not make the most sense if you are not in it. I would love to answer any questions if you are interested and I have written something that you want to hear more about. Just ask me in the comments. Love, Ib.)

[Visual above is a square version of the NQ button, on black field, multicolor infinity möbius strip words "neuro queer" in white block letters. I am adding this because of having been advised that the image below is wonky looking to some people with seizure disorders if they stare at it too long, so it is not a good idea to have as a thumbnail. Note: pic of crosswalk intersection coming up with many lines. Don't look at it for too long if it's going to be iffy for you.]

This is an intersectional blog. I have to say some more things about what that means because I think some people don't know. People who don't know are trying to protect me from myself and therefore protect my friends from themselves and I am not a big fan of that. As a matter of fact I find it vexing. Here is the thing: Zazzle cannot correctly tell us we are offending ourselves, and people cannot correctly tell us we are co-opting ourselves. We would notice if we offended and co-opted and hurt ourselves, because we are us.

NeuroQueer exists in the intersection of Neurodivergent and Queer.

[Visual is an aerial photograph of a busy crossroads in downtown Chicago where they are testing out a new pedestrian pattern. As a result, the zebra crosswalk markings are more complex than usual, going six ways instead of four, because you are allowed to walk diagonally. Click here for an article about it if you are interested. It is literally an intersection, and a good representation of intersectionality in practice because there are many people and they are all over the place and not all precisely within the lines, yet the pattern makes sense despite - or for me, in this context, because of - the complexity.]
So some people are saying that I cannot use the word Queer because apparently I am being too inclusive with it and I am using it to mean Everything There Is and thus somehow doing hurtful things to "queers" of which I am one. I think there is a huge difference between doing whatever this is meant to mean and asserting that asexual people count as queer and we should stop erasing them. This is something I will not back away from. The only asexual people who do not count as queer are the ones who do not want to count as queer, and the same goes for genderqueer, bisexual, pan- and trans* people, and while we're here, anyone who has been racialized or marginalized and erased in other ways I do not want my version of queer to perpetuate. Because I am a Total Homo™ I am the original poster-type of Queer Person and therefore can talk about the word without risk of cultural appropriation. If you are queer and you disagree with my stance on this, I can respect that, but there is no reason for saying I am not allowed to talk about and define the terms of my own personal identity as inclusively as I like. And if you are non-queer and telling me I am offending myself, please don't do that.

On to Neurodivergent. This blog came about because some Autistics and people on the autism spectrum have an issue with the notion that people who are not them or Autistic can also be neurodivergent. I needed a place to talk about that other than my other blog where it was not the kind of thing that would necessarily concern most of the readers. I thought the part of the gay community who identified as queer was a perfect example of one where, like my with own Autistic friends, more marginalized people were actively welcomed. I still think this is true. But I was surprised to find it was less universal than I had thought.

Lovaas, the inventor of Applied Behavior Analysis, had two targets: gays and Autistics.  Nowadays, straight-up gays are less erased than some other people like trans* folk and asexuals, and autism is less erased than say epilepsy in terms of accommodations and less mischaracterized and misunderstood than for example "psychosis" or whatever, even though we have a long way still to go (thanks, Autism $peaks [/sarcasm]).

People who live in the intersections have double trouble, but if we band together we have also got double power.

1 comment:

  1. There is something I did not see coming, and so I did not write about it above. I had noticed it was possible for neurodivergent people concerned with social justice to worry that I was appropriating my own self as to my queerness, and wanted to voice my autonomy on that, to put their minds at rest. What I did not know would happen is that there would ever be queer people, not identifying as neurodivergent or disabled themselves, who might take it upon themselves to instruct any of us on how to be neurodivergent. Please, if you are contemplating that, don't do that either. I promise you that although I have impairments, they do not include not knowing what it is like to be me or notice when I am offending myself.