Autism: It’s My Identity, Not My Issue

I was watching the movie “Milk” the other night; about the social justice activist and politician named Harvey Milk who was murdered by a man who claimed junk food made him do it. At one point in the movie Harvey tells the man who eventually kills him that the things he fights for aren’t “issues”: They are his life.

It got me thinking about my social media presence. Spending as much time as I do calling out authors or publishers might seem like it is undermining my intention of one day being a published writer. I could be seen as a trouble-maker; as a person who doesn’t support other writers or the industry. That’s a dangerous thing to be labelled, especially before you’ve even acquired an agent. There are days the fear of this makes me think I should erase my Twitter account and start over.

Here’s the thing: Autism is my identity. It isn’t a cause I’ve taken up or an issue I am passionate about. It’s my life. Ultimately, I wouldn’t want an agent or a publisher who didn’t understand this. I saw an agent put up a post that basically said there’s nothing more off-putting than a writer who says they’ll take any agent they can get. I’ve almost gotten to that point, but I haven’t become so desperate I’d be willing to take an agent who would reject me for speaking about things that directly harm autistic people.

 

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