Fuck autism awareness. There, I said it.

Few things irritate me as much as the idea of “awareness” being at all a desirable or good for autistic people, and I’ll tell you why.

For the past two decades, I’ve witnessed “autism awareness” bloat up and become a multi-million dollar campaign funded by hated organizations such as Autism Speaks.

It hasn’t done anything to improve the overall quality of life, access to resources, or liberation from ableism. What it has done, however, is create a hypervisibility of autism. This hypervisibility means that there are very few people, even if they’ve never met an autistic person, who don’t know about autism. But what they know about autism isn’t from autistic people themselves, it’s from autism awareness discourse. It’s this discourse which informs them that autism is a disease that kills marriages, “infects” more people than cancer, AIDS and diabetes combined, and leads to a hollow, meaningless life marred by meltdowns and inability to do anything resembling a normal life.

This hypervisibility means that my diagnosis is frequently dismissed or denied by people with no authority to do so, because they “know” what autism is, and it doesn’t look like me because I’m happy, well-adjusted, and living independently. This hypervisibility means that autistic children who are murdered by their parents are forgotten in the rush to defend the parent’s actions, because who could ever bear the burden of raising an autistic child? This hypervisibility means that before I even get a chance to define myself for who I am, Autism Awareness has decided for me what I must be, and that it must be tragedy.

This hypervisibility kills. But the worst thing is, that this deadliness in’t an accident or an unintended consequence of Autism Awareness discourse; it’s the logical conclusion of two decades of being told that Those People are better off dead, aren’t really living, and that their existence is a burden and a curse.

This April, say no to Autism Awareness. Say yes to dismantling the killer discourse. Say yes to autistic people who are speaking out now and disrupting these mythologies about autism that have permeated into our culture through Autism Awareness.