Note For Anyone Writing About Me

I got blogger working again using a different proxy. It'd still be nice if people liked my Facebook, but you don't need to look at it to get posts anymore.
For anyone who wants to write about me
I am an Autistic person. I am not a person with autism. Don't call me one.
My name is Alyssa, I'm a triple major in mathematics, mechanical engineering, and Chinese. I'm currently studying abroad in Tianjin. I have an About. I'm Autistic. I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Monday, April 21, 2014

But that's the Old Testament? Wait, JEWS STILL USE THAT.

Warnings for mentions of death, murder, sexual assault, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, religious bigotry (Talking about a Jewish way around the lines in the Old Testament that get used to justify homophobia.)

I've seen a decent number of progressive people point out that the prohibition on gay stuff in the bible is actually Old Testament and say that's why it doesn't matter. Here's the thing: Old Testament=Torah=that book that the Jews still use. So if that's the only argument you've got, you're kind of implying that Judaism is inherently homophobic. That's not awesome. [Pointing that out as being the way that Christians handle it while saying that Jewish folk would have a different reason, as opposed to just leaving it as "that's Old Testament" is probably OK. Because Christians actually don't follow all the same rules that Jews do, as evidenced by ham being a pretty traditional Christmas dinner and also being something Jews aren't supposed to eat. The problem is when you then imply that Jews would therefore be bigoted, as opposed to having our own reasoning fitting within our own beliefs.]

So, here's my personal take. For background, I was raised as a Conservative Jew, went to Hebrew school, and was Bat Mitzvahed. I can read Hebrew aloud, but generally have no clue what I'm reading. At the age when I was still going to Hebrew school, I didn't even know the Torah had stuff in it against homosexuality, because none of my teachers ever brought up an interpretation like that in order to be against gay people or bi people. It's not as if I was being somehow steeped in homophobia due to being raised in a religion that still uses the Old Testament/Torah.

One of the really big things I was taught was "to save a life." Basically, while there are a lot of rules (513 or 613 I don't remember, and most of them are inapplicable nowadays because the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and we therefore don't have animal sacrifices anymore, using blessings/prayers instead) you can break pretty much any of them to save a life. You still can't murder (which is a rather specific sort of killing) and you still can't sexually assault people, but short of that, I was taught that saving lives beats the other rules.

Now, in the modern world, it's pretty well established that homophobia does get people killed, biphobia does get people killed, transphobia does get people killed, especially Black trans women. Fighting against stuff that gets people killed seems like a pretty good place to apply "to save a life" because it's literally trying to save lives.

So I'm sure that there's a bunch of other ways to handle those passages without having to be anti-queer, but since I'm not actually religious and I don't know my Torah that well, hitting it with the "to save a life" rule I was taught in Hebrew school is the solution I'm going to come up with. And, you know, that rule is one I think more people should be thinking about, and it's one of the rules I actually use. [Yes, "don't sacrifice people to ideologies" comes from the same place as "to save a life."]

Sunday, April 20, 2014




Monday, April 14, 2014

Trying to Talk About Cross Cultural Communication and Neurodiversity

Part the first:
So on Wednesday a professor is going to talk to my class about cross-cultural communication.
I might be writing a thing about how this is TOTALLY APPLICABLE to Disability and Autistic cultures to send to my teacher and try and convince her to let me chuck it (figuratively) at said professor. Because yes. This is a thing that is happening, and cross-cultural communication applies to neurodiversity stuff and this is maybe also relevant to the paper I need to finish about essentially Neurodiversity 101 for Society for Disability Studies.
And yes, will put the thing I write on my blog once it's properly edited. But it's in Chinese so...

Part the second:
Right now the piece is 900 characters or thereabouts, and then there's my citations. Yes, I'm citing stuff. Including the only simplified Chinese academic article Google scholar turns up on neurodiversity. It's more how it applies to educational stuff, and it's really only 3ish paragraphs that actually have anything to do with neurodiversity, but still. This means someone else translated the word neurodiversity for me and I'm not the first person to think this is a thing worth talking about in Chinese. Which is kind of important considering that this other person is actually Chinese and I'm not.
I'm also citing the thesis that made "this is relevant" click for me, because I'd read it shortly before I found out about Wednesday's talk and directly talked about cross-cultural communication as being a useful idea for interaction between autistic people and allistic people.

Part the third:
I got some help from one of my teachers on editing this thing. She said that for language specific to neurodiversity stuff she won't know so much because it's not her field, but then... pretty much every neurodiversity paradigm word except "neurodiversity" itself I'm needing to invent the translations for anyways.

Her comments were mostly helpful (yay teachers!) but her initial suggestion for how to translate neurodivergence/neurodivergent is just. No.

神经岔开, my attempt at the translation, might not be right. It's the word for neurology (神经)followed by a word for divergent that I don't think has a negative connotation but I might be wrong because culture differences and while I know more about connotations in Chinese than most white USians, I'm definitely not an expert. I wouldn't be even a little bit surprised if it's wrong or even just something that's not the best, even if it works. But 特殊神经 (special neurology) is DEFINITELY wrong. Calling marginalized neurologies "special" is absolutely not what I'm going for here no no no. The idea that all the neurologies are special except for the neurotypical/close enough to neurotypical one is pretty much the opposite of what I'm going for.

Part the fourth:

But she says I can comment on stuff and send back because she knows this isn't her field so I'm doing that and she helped me figure it out! Looks like I was close, but I actually want 分岔 for divergence instead of 岔开 that I tried, and it was a parts of speech issue (I was fine on connotations.) 分岔 is apparently a noun, while 岔开 is a verb, to make neurodivergence, a noun, either want "adjective neurology" or "neurology noun". I was right about adding a 的 to change between divergence and divergent. There's still some language and expression stuff she's helping me with, but it's not neurodiversity paradigm specific "how do I translate this word that's never been translated before" anymore. Those are taken care of, so I should be good for tomorrow. [If it comes down to it, I'm OK with a professor of cross-cultural communication at a university focusing on foreign language seeing that my Chinese isn't perfect. I'm not OK with bad translations of neurodiversity terms being my fault.]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Thought On Everyone Knows

This is just a pretty short thought, really.

It seems like a lot of people hold the opinion "everyone knows autistic people can't/shouldn't go to college." Well... everyone also knows four leaf clovers are hard to find, and here I am having found more than 200 of them this weekend. Just because "everyone knows" something doesn't make it true, but it sure makes it a lot harder for people to prove it false because people will deny us the opportunity to prove them wrong.

So "everyone knows" doesn't make something true. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Poem Time! (4 poems)

It's April. It's NaPoWriMo. I'm trying not to let my poem posting fall quite as far behind as it did last year. So here's 4. Warning for cures/death/institutionalization in The Ends, death in Changes, and that none of them are light.


Disabled AND proud.
Disabled AND awesome.
Disabled AND positive.
But, but, but, implying something's strange.
And, and, and, no contradictions here.
No paradoxes of disability and winning,
Here even when the plot doesn't demand.

The Ends

Cure, Death, Institutionalization.
These our our fates in the stories we sideline.
Our rare headlines must be cured.
Cure, Death, Institutionalization.
Is this truly all we are given?
Then we must take,
The worst they can do is status quo.

Shoes (Thank Neurodivergent K for the idea.)

Walk in their shoes, their shoes, their shoes.
The shoes that pinch and rub and blister,
Not built for me, or for those like me.
There are no shoes made for us.
If I can't have my own, there will be no shoes.
No assimilation to lives not my own.
Barefoot revolution.


One leaflet more or less,
Normal or death to my luck.
One wiring same or different,
Mythical goals I must reject.