Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Monday, October 28, 2013

Asexuality and Disability for the Carnival of Aces

Like the title suggests, this is for the Carnival of Aces. Specifically, it's for the October edition, which I am hosting about disability and asexuality.

I'm Disabled. Specifically, I'm Autistic. I'm also somewhere asexual spectrum. As of right now, my best guess is that I'm biromantic and asexual. Sex drive? Not a thing. Wanting to have sex with someone? Not a thing. It's just not.

That said, no, not all disabled people are asexual. Not all autistic people are asexual. Not all asexual people are disabled. Things get ugly when people make any of those assumptions, often related to folks deciding that one of these identities causes the other and the one supposedly being caused is therefore not valid. I actually talked about something like that with autism and gender identity once, the point was pretty much that even if autism was causing autistic trans* people to be trans*, they're still trans* and people shouldn't be invalidating the trans* identity based on the person being autistic.

Well, the same thing goes with asexuality. Even if I were only asexual because of sensory issues (no, that's not the case, I'm just not interested. Really,) I'd still be asexual. Even if a person were only asexual because their hormones were a bit off what's "expected," if they're not experiencing sexual attraction and choosing to identify as asexual, they're still asexual. [My surprise level would be exactly zero if I found out my hormone levels were a bit weird. Seriously, I'm DFAB and a natural tenor second/baritone. But the thing that weird hormone levels can actually cause isn't the same thing as asexuality. It's decreased sex drive, which is different from lack of sexual attraction. I don't seem to have either of these things, but if I'm not going to have sexual attraction, I feel no particular need to get a sex drive, even if hormones could get me one.]

I think a lot (not all, but a lot) of the harm done by people assuming that asexuality is because of a disability is that people decide it's therefore somehow not valid or needs "fixing." Of course, disability is a natural part of the human experience and the assumption that it being related to a disability is why it needs fixing is an ableism thing. Being a sign of a disability shouldn't be why something needs fixing. Causing distress to the person who has it and them deciding they want to fix it should be why something needs fixing. Which, um, if you're identifying as asexual, the lack of sexual attraction is probably not the thing that's causing distress? Other people's reactions to it might be. That would make sense.

Other parts of the badness cause interference with self-understanding. It's hard to reach self-understanding when people are chucking lots of bad information at you and insisting it's good information. That's a problem that some autistic people have with therapists, actually. Sparrow talked about that in her book, where therapists would tell her how she was feeling based on her body language and she wouldn't be sure what she was actually feeling but their statement was wrong. They were working with the assumption of neurotypical body language appropriate to the part of the USA she was in at the time. Other cultural assumptions can get bad information passed about our asexuality, and all of the bad information makes self-understanding harder.

So there you have it. I have dumped thoughts about disability and asexuality into a post, and now it is a post. Cool.


  1. Hi! My name is Alyssa and I'm autistic and ace too!

  2. I'm Sara, I'm autistic, asexual, agender, and aromantic. I love your work here and your outlook itself. I too work to dismantle the myths about autism and autistic people, especially when I see them publicised by fearmongering and (IMHO) hateful organizations like Autism Speaks. Whenever I see an Autism Speaks poster, I print or write out responses to the awful things that the group often says about us and glue them right onto the poster. I also print out posters of my own and post them around town, especially during Autism Awareness month, when Autism Speaks is out there spreading their nasty myths and pleading for cash.
    I do the same thing during Ace Awareness Week - different posters, of course, but I still post them on every community bulletin board, downtown light pole, and any place where putting up posters is allowed. I'm a quiet sort of person, so this kind of activism works for me.
    Sometimes I think that the fact that I work full time, drive, handle my own finances, care for my elderly mother (I'm 40, she's 70 but frail and dealing with multiple health issues), and otherwise function as most people figure an adult ought to, I am dispelling a lot of myths about autistic people. It really is amazing, the garbage some people believe!


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