FAQs

Some of these I actually get. Some of them I don't get as questions but they still come up. This page may be edited and changed as much as needed, or not edited for very long periods of time. I used to have an older FAQ page several years ago that I removed a long time ago, but figured it was time to put one up again. (I put this newer page here in July 2017, and am working on adding/updating things.)

(I use profanity and sometimes quote really actually offensive language just so you know)

Q: Is Autistic Hoya your name?
A: No, it's just the blog name. My name is Lydia X. Z. Brown.

Q: Is this an autism blog?
A: It started out that way in the summer of 2011, when I created it. But it's not really an autism blog anymore. It's still largely autism and disability focused, but my thinking, ideas, and interests (even within my activism-related interests) have all shifted, changed, and grown over time.

Q: Do you have information anywhere else??? 
A: My portfolio is at www.autistichoya.net.

Q: In an older post, you said something that you just contradicted in a more recent post on this blog/in a Facebook status/in a tweet/in an email you sent me. What the hell?
A: Like all people, my ideas and opinions can change over time. Most (but not all) of my older work is still on this blog, and a lot of it contains ideas or opinions that I either don't hold anymore, or that have changed to become (I hope) more nuanced than they were originally. Sometimes, I do go back and edit older posts, but I almost always leave a note that acknowledges what the edit was for and why I made it.

Q: I got to this website because some dinky page is using your ableist language page as a blacklist/forbidden words list, and that is some fucked up censorship shit. You are the worst. Why are you so hyper-sensitive? Why are you the language police? Words only offend people if they let them!
A: I don't support use of that page in that manner. I do believe language has power, and that language reflects commonly held ideas in society, including ableist ones, and that language is connected to other forms of oppression. But the page is meant to be there as an education and awareness tool to help people think through common language use, and if they choose and have the ability to do so, to consider changing their language (hopefully, at a minimum, to stop using the words that are outright slurs on the list -- which are only a minority of the words there). It's not meant to be used as a censorship or bad words list. Unfortunately, I can't control how other people decide to use my work, no matter how many caveats and prefaces I add to it. So please redirect your anger to the people who are misusing my work without my consent.

Q: Do you have a family member with autism or work with kids with autism?
A: I'm autistic. I do work with other autistic people frequently, in both formal/official ways and informally.

Q: But wait, do you have Asperger's/high-functioning autism or do you mean you have classic autism?
A: I am autistic. I don't believe in making up arbitrary distinctions between/among autistic people.

Q: So are you a self-diagnosed Tumblr special snowflake who just wants to be eccentric and unique?
A: Being autistic isn't sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. We are disproportionately likely to be victimized by sexual violence, become/remain unemployed or severely under-employed, experience homelessness, be incarcerated or institutionalized, or experience severe abuse or neglect from caregivers, medical professionals, or family members -- and all of the above even more likely to be true if we are marginalized in some other way on top of being autistic. In any case, I did get a paper diagnosis way back when, but, I don't believe that having a paper diagnosis somehow makes me automatically more valid than someone who doesn't have a paper diagnosis. There are a lot of reasons, both individual or personal decisions, and reasons related to systemic discrimination, that many autistic people may either choose not to get a paper diagnosis or be unable to get one even if they want one.

Q: You sound like an SJW. I hate SJW's; they demean real activism, and they are all really entitled, whiny brats.
A: Why is "social justice" a bad thing?

Q: Where can I get a copy of that book about autism and race you were involved with???
A: It's called All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism, and we have our own homepage at www.autismandrace.com. You can buy it in paperback or ebook from Amazon, with more distribution options coming soon, including a reduced rate/pay what you can through my partner organization and publisher, the Autism Women's Network.

Q: I think I might be autistic/I just found out I am autistic. What resources about autism do you recommend?
A: Congratulations and welcome! There are many great resources out there so I'll just provide a few:
I Think I Might Be Autistic: A Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis and Self-Discovery for Adults by Cynthia Kim (this is a book)
* "Why do I think I'm autistic . . ." by Lydia X. Z. Brown (blog post with very long list of common autistic traits)
* Atypical Autism Traits (non-gendered version)
* "Ask An Autistic" by Amythest Schaber (this is a series of YouTube videos)
* Autism Women's Network welcome packet
* Welcome to the Autistic Community (adults) resource from Autistic Self Advocacy Network
* Welcome to the Autistic Community (youth) resource from Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Q: I think my child/nipling/sibling/parent/relative/friend might be autistic/I just found out that they are autistic. What resources about autism do you recommend for me to learn more and be more supportive?
A: There are a lot of awful resources out there, but there are some good ones too. Here are some that I recommend:
* Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking edited by Julia Bascom
* All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism edited by Lydia X. Z. Brown, E. Ashkenazy, and Morénike Giwa Onaiwu
* The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children edited by Michelle Sutton
* Real Social Skills blog by Ruti Regan
* "Ask An Autistic" by Amythest Schaber (this is a series of YouTube videos)
* We Are Like Your Child (group blog)

Q: Where are you reaaaaalllyyyy from?
A: The moon.

Q: Why do autistic people seem to hate Autism Speaks so much? I thought they were an OK group of people trying to help.
A: The TL;DR version is that Autism Speaks doesn't listen to or value actually autistic people. They have put out extremely harmful and dangerous misinformation and "awareness" campaigns, and their overall priorities are still cure-focused, which means they are doing very little to benefit actually autistic people who are around right now. But I've also written extensively about this topic on this blog, and so have many other autistic activists.

Q: OK so I know/recently learned that Autism Speaks is terrible. Are there any autism organizations you actually recommend?
A: Every organization in the world will be flawed in some way or another, so I can't say that any organization is perfect or has no room for improvement. That being said, some organizations that do some awesome work include the Autism Women's Network (full disclosure: I'm a member of their board), Respectfully ConnectedParenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance (PACLA), Autistics Present: A Symposium on Autistic Culture & Identity hosted by the Autism Spectrum Navigators Program at Bellevue College, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.

There is also a growth in autism acceptance and neurodiversity libraries (which is amazing) that began with the Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library based in Stanwood and Camano Island, Washington, and now includes the Unbound Books Autism Acceptance Library based in Modesto, California; the Good Sunflower Autism Acceptance Library & Resource Center based in Hammond, Louisiana; the Little Free Neurodiversity Library based in Omaha, Nebraska; and the MacDonald Autistic Pride and Neurodiversity Lending Library based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Q: What about disability organizations in general?
A: The Disability Visibility Project, led by Alice Wong, is one of the hosts/founders of the #CripTheVote Twitter chats on disability organizing and activism, and a consistent leader in supporting and amplifying the work of multiply-marginalized disabled people. The Harriet Tubman Collective is an amazing all-Black Deaf, Disabled, and Neurodivergent-led organization that came together in/about 2016. Sins Invalid, a performance collective centering sick and disabled people who are queer and trans and/or Black, Brown, or other people of color, has been active in the Bay area since 2005 when Patricia Berne and Leroy F. Moore, Jr. co-founded it. HEARD (formerly Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf) does phenomenal work in supporting/organizing Deaf youth, challenging Deaf wrongful convictions, and advocating for disability justice by addressing Deaf and Disabled mass incarceration especially at the intersections of race and disability. If you happen to be able to give money, I definitely recommend supporting these folks! These are really just a few though and there are many, many more.

Q: Your English is so good. When did you learn it?/When did you come to the United States?
A: English is my first language, asshole. Profanity is my second.

Q: Can I share your posts / quote your posts / repost your articles?
A: It says this at the bottom of the page, but here goes:



I believe in spreading good ideas and helping start critical dialogue. If you want to share (or republish, or teach, or link to, or quote, or talk about) my writing, please feel free to do so as long as (a) you're not making money off of my writing, (b) you do not edit, redact, or censor my writing (excerpts and quotes are fine),(c) you leave my name on whatever you republish or share, (d) you link back to this website or the specific page it came from, and (e) you shoot me an email letting me know where/how you shared my stuff. (If your use of my stuff meets these conditions, you automatically have permission and don't need to ask.) I strongly disprefer fully republished posts, but am not opposed in principle. If you want to share something from this site that I didn't personally write, shoot me an email so I can contact the actual author. If you want to use my writing for any purpose not covered by these conditions (i.e. you will make money off my writing), please ask me and do not assume you have my permission.

Q: What about just posting a link?
A: You never need my permission just to post a link.

Q: I really want to read more blogs by autistic activists. Who do you recommend?
A: Again, there are only about a million of us out there. And many autistic writers, philosophers, activists, and advocates write about many things that might not be autism-specific. But here are just a few to get started (and if you aren't on this list, it's not because I don't care; it's just because I can only list a few people's blogs or else this page would be absurdly long):

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson has mostly written for Elixher and Black Girl Dangerous. Their essays are always wonderful (and they also write poetry!).

* b. binaohan (aka Nina de Jesus) at i dream of being possible. b. binaohan is a transpinay philosopher who also happens to be autistic. Mx. b doesn't write much about autism specifically, but this website does contain a lot of posts related to disability and ableism and disablism.

* Amy Sequenzia at Non-Speaking Autistic Speaking. Amy writes mostly for Ollibean and Autism Women's Network. She is one of the most badass and prolific nonspeaking autistic activist writers out there.

* Mel Baggs, at Ballastexistenz. Sie has been deeply involved with autistic activism since the 1990's and wrote or co-wrote many seminal essays in the neurodiversity movement, including on the now-defunct autistics.org and neurodiversity.org websites, and hir blog is always a must-read.

* Talila A. Lewis, at Tu(r)ning Into Self. TL is the founder of HEARD (formerly Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf), and is an attorney, activist, professor, and organizer focused on d/Deaf wrongful conviction cases, who also does more work than anyone else in probably the entire world on Deaf and Disabled incarceration and intersections of disability and race.

* Kassiane Asasumasu, at Radical Neurodivergence Speaking. Kassiane has also been around the autistic activism scene for a long time, and this blog is always a solid source for unapologetic truth-telling on various autism and other disability-related topics.

* Morénike Giwa Onaiwu at Just Being Me...Who Needs "Normalcy" Anyway? Morénike is a long-time HIV/AIDS activist, proud mother in a serodiverse family with several disabled and autistic children. She is also co-editor of the new anthology All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism.

* Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha at brown star girl. Leah is perhaps best known for her memoir Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, but I love everything she writes.

* Shain M. Neumeier, at Silence Breaking Sound. Shain has been involved in autistic activism for about as long as or maybe slightly longer than me. They are also deeply involved in youth liberation work and genderqueer/non-binary activism. (And I'm their partner!)

* Max Sparrow, at Unstrange Mind. He has been writing about autistic activism-related topics for the past several years, and tours the U.S. in his own minivan. He also wrote two books, No You Don’t: Essays From an Unstrange Mind and more recently, The ABCs of Autism Acceptance.

* And of course, a shout-out to Mrs. Kerima Çevik, who is herself disabled and also mother to Mustafa, a nonspeaking mixed-race autistic young man. Kerima blogs about autism at The Autism Wars, about the intersection of racism and ableism at Intersected, and about courage in being different and the human side of social justice activism at Brave.

There are literally thousands more blogs with amazing writing though, so this is very much a tiny starting point, and not at all a complete list.

Q: You're just another annoying liberal snowflake whining on the internet. You probably live in your parents' basement and never do anything in the real world. / Stop writing these stupid blog posts and being such a slacktivist. Why don't you go outside and do something in the real world if you care so much about changing things?
A: First of all, internet activism is valid and real activism. Second of all, fuck you. Third of all, I do actually do things in meatspace, though as I said, that doesn't make me a more valid activist than people who can't engage offline.

Q: I love your blog. Can you speak at my college / this conference I'm organizing / at the place where I work?
A: Probably! I have a page with information about booking me to speak.

Q: I think I might be interested in having you speak at my school/organization/conference. But I'm not sure I want to book you just based on reading some blog posts. Do you have any videos?
A: Yes, I have videos of me speaking elsewhere. (That page contains access information for each videos, including information about captioning and text transcripts.)

Q: Why do you talk so much about oppression and marginalization? Do you just like being a victim?
A: Firstly, being a victim isn't a bad thing or a reflection on the person who has been victimized. If anything, it's an indictment on the person, group, or system that victimized that person in the first place. Secondly, I talk about it because it's much easier to ignore it and pretend it isn't happening, especially if you are more privileged, powerful, or resourced. I also talk about it because it's a way of coping, and a way of connecting with others who have similar experiences.

Q: Ummm, but you went to college and you've gotten speaking invitations. You're extremely privileged, so you shouldn't be talking about this shit. 
A: I do have a lot of privilege! And I also experience several types of oppression, too. It is completely possible, and in fact common, for a single person to experience some types of privilege, power, or access to resources, while also experiencing oppression, marginalization, and targeting. Sometimes whether a person is relatively more privileged or relatively more fucked over depends on context too.

Q: Why do you swear so much? Can you stop? People would respect you more and take you more seriously if you weren't so unprofessional/immature/profane.
A: If my use or non-use of the word "fuck" will somehow be the sole factor in someone's opinion of my character and the entire body of my life's work, then I really, really can't give a fuck about that person's opinion. Also, science says that smarter people use bad language.

Q: You're really inconsistent about using trigger warnings and content notes. 
A: I have executive dysfunction and sometimes brain fog. I can't always use content notes or trigger warnings consistently or reliably, although I personally do try to. If you're extremely easily triggered, you may want to browse my blog carefully.

Q: Why do you use trigger warnings? Aren't those a form of censorship?
A: Like literally anything else in the world, trigger warnings can be both highly useful and helpful in some contexts, and abused and taken out of context in others. They are supposed to be a form of guidance -- they don't erase, remove, or hide the content they're attached to, but they do provide a heads-up about what is in it. They're also not meant to protect people with more privilege and power from being exposed to information and depictions of traumas they've never experienced (and often, never will), but are meant to provide one small form of support to people who have lived through trauma by giving them/us greater power to exercise our autonomy in deciding what, when, and whether we will engage.

Q: Were you more of a Hillary supporter or a Bernie supporter? Or did you go third-party, like Jill Stein?
A: No.

Q: You're not a real leftist. You're a neoliberal corporate shill. 
A: Cool, so where's my check? And which corporation is this again? I need to bug them about this, seriously. I could really use the money I'm apparently owed for things like rent, which unfortunately in capitalism, requires money in order to basically exist.

Q: You mean you're a person with autism. Using person-first language is more respectful and is the way to move forward in recognizing the humanity of persons with disabilities.
A: No, I mean that I'm an autistic person. I've even written about why I prefer what we call identity-first language in several posts on this blog. If someone else prefers to be called a person with autism, that's their business.

Q: As a part of our routine check, while doing some research, our team came across your website and noticed it lacked some significant factors, which is why you are not getting higher traffic, which is directly hampering the growth of your business. Hence, we would like to offer you our intelligent services that will boost up your business by driving more visitors to your site, thereby increasing your sales. So, if you are really interested in our services and want to make your business successful with higher return on investment (ROI), feel free to contact us as soon as you feel like.
A: No.

Q: I was wondering if you'd be interested in a guest post submitted by us? We wrote this awesome in-depth guide. We've previously written content for the likes of Lifehacker, The Next Web, Educause, and Forbes - so you can trust that our guest posts are highly in-depth and informative. If you're not looking for a guest post, then a simple share, or even email feedback would be much appreciated! 
A: No.

Q: Good Day, how are you and your family? You may not Know me again, but I contacted you previously concerning transferring ($10million Dollars ) Into your account, You agreed to help me but later opted out because you said you will not Continue again, I want to inform you that I have successfully transferred the money to someone Else who was capable of assisting me. Due to your effort, sincerity, courage and trustworthiness you showed during the course of the Transaction I want to compensate you and show my gratitude I have bought some gifts which Include 10, Gold jewelries, Clothes, 10, iPads and 10, laptops for you, and more house use. Please contact courier company that will convey it to you, Inside the laptops, you will see $25,000 each (10 laptops) making it 250 Thousand Dollars. I hid them inside the laptops so that Nobody will, not even the courier company. Below are their contact details.... now E-mail them immediately and ask about item code: "9864543/pending/delivery" by me. Thank you very much for your zeal to assist then. Let friendly love continue! I’m off.... Take care and God bless. so feel free to get in touch with them, Pls pray for our safe trip. Please note that the courier company doesn’t know anything about the hiding money in the laptops, don’t ever disclose it to them..
A: No.

Q: lol ur a retarded cunt sjw
A: OK then. Next!

Q: You're obviously a very angry, bitter, and resentful person. You're just going to make enemies and you're never going to get anyone to support your cause.
A: I'm pretty sure anger, bitterness, and resentment are natural reactions to being personally targeted for hideous discrimination and then being dismissed or condescended to when you point it out, let alone witnessing many people you care about going through the same and often much, much worse, all the way to actual murder.

Q: OK so politically what are you? 
A: I fall somewhere in the general nebulous realm of radical left, I guess. I'm not a liberal-progressive. I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Marxist-Leninist. I don't believe in political purity tests. I believe in working toward justice and liberation, and in politics that are personal, messy, imperfect, and evolving.

Q: Are you just one of those literary theory type people obsessed with Foucault?
A: There's nothing wrong with those people, though I'm not one of them, no.

Q: What are your gender pronouns?
A: I use the gender-neutral singular "they." I don't mind most pronouns being used to refer to me, but please don't use she, he, or it. (Example: Instead of saying "Lydia is a great writer; she has some cool posts on her blog," say, "Lydia is a great writer; they have some cool posts on their blog.") If you really don't want to use the singular they, or another neologism (like xe or sie), then please just use my name without any pronouns.

Q: What about in a language that isn't English?
A: If people from a particular culture already use pronouns that indicate a gender that is either non-specific or not man or woman, and that pronoun isn't used to refer to a very specific experience/identity within that cultural context, then feel free to use that pronoun to refer to me.

Q: You are so beautiful and I would like to meet you. I am looking for hot Asian females for discreet encounters.
A: Please send a detailed cover letter explaining your qualifications and interest in the position, detailed curriculum vitae (provide hours, wage/salary, and supervisor name for each position), official transcripts for all institutions of higher education attended (even if you did not receive a degree), list of professional references (include description of type and nature of relationship), social security number, bank account and routing numbers, date of birth, scanned fingerprints (roll each finger and thumb, please), professional head shot, and your current contact information in a single PDF attachment to applications (at) autistichoya (dot) com.

Q: Did you write those spam emails yourself?
A: Nope. I just mined my own inbox for gold. The spam emails are actually mostly verbatim from actual spam emails.

Q: My question isn't on here. 
A: You can email me at lydia (at) autistichoya (dot) com, but I get a lot of emails, so I might not be able to reply right away. I usually try my best. But sometimes it can take me a long time (even months or years) to get together a response, because I run on Disabled Standard Time.


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