Official Papers

Standard

I used to have a page up on this site showing several of my official diagnostic papers, dating back to my early teens at the earliest. I put it up in response to intimidation, or rather to someone saying they’d stop the intimidation if I furnished proof that I was autistic. I furnished that proof, received more promises to stop the intimidation. And then found out the promises were lies. And then the intimidation only intensified.

As I calmed down, I began remembering that the next person who faced such intimidation and bullying might not have the option to present papers. Their papers might have been lost in childhood, or they might be self-identified as autistic with no written documentation at all. And it’s not like I’m the sort of person who thinks that professionals know better than we do who we are. Even though I was professionally diagnosed, I had to go through the same learning process self-identified autistic people go through, before autism meant more than a random word to me. But even though I was aware of this, inertia reigned supreme, and I didn’t remove the page with the papers on it.

But someone just reminded me of the bad precedent I might be setting. So I have removed that page from this site and left this one in its place. I don’t want to marginalize people without papers any more than they already are. This is also my apology to anyone negatively affected by my putting those papers up.

Some advice to anyone who ends up with really heavy-duty bullying and pressure to prove to a stranger on the Internet that you’re autistic: Don’t provide papers. If people are bullying you in this manner, it won’t change their minds. They may even be trying to get personal information out of you that they can use against you in some way. And believe me you don’t want to find out the hard way how unethical Internet bullies can become. Don’t be as naive as I was, you or your loved ones may end up paying for that naïveté. And remember that if they get you to reveal information about yourself, the next person (and there is always is a next person, there have been many before you) may be held to the same standards.

So that’s why that page is gone. I don’t want to make it harder for the next person. I just wish I didn’t know there would be a next person. But there will. This kind of bullying has existed in the autism community for at least the past 15-20 years, and is usually directed at a self-advocate who has made some kind of a difference for autistic people. (And is a subtype of a kind of pressure that has been put on ‘uppity’ members of marginalized groups from time immemorial.) And the next person shouldn’t be coerced into making the same mistakes I did.

 

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Physically and cognitively disabled. Anything you hear in the media or gossip is likely to be oversimplified at best and wildly inaccurate at worst, the only way to get to know me is to actually know me. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died a couple years ago and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

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