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

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Party Giraffe, Hot Spicy Autism, and Small Acts of NO.

By inclination, I'm a bit of an imp. I will say a true thing (I'm nonbinary) in a slightly silly way, messing with people using truth. ("Good man. Wait. Woman." gets responded to with "still no" followed by "nonbinary, good luck".) This is a character trait, not an isolated incident. On National Coming Out Day, I wrote "I draw cool stuff using straight lines, which is funny because I'm not straight." One day when I was pointing out "typos" on the white board while non-speaking, I was told to "be quiet." So I wrote on the side board, "I didn't say anything!" It was technically true. 

I like puns. (Nonbunnary!) I like satire. (Turn it Down Taupe!) And while I wear many metaphorical hats (mathematician, engineer, graduate student, teacher, Autistic person, "person in the lab who can sew", writer, AAC user, Queer person, culturally Jewish person, "that weird person who doesn't get cold", and on and on), I don't necessarily choose to emphasize the set of hats I have in common with the other people in the room. I tend to emphasize the ones that are most effective for messing with my colleagues, even. See again: bit of an imp.

So of course it makes sense that I would have shirts that say things like "Autistic Party Giraffe" (explanation), "Hot Spicy Autism", "We Are Like Your Child", and "I Love Someone Lacking Autism." Recently, I've started wearing those shirts more frequently. And yes, I can trace this back to the election. 

No, I don't think that wearing my identities on my shirt (or my bag, as I've been known to do) will magically make everything OK. That's not the point. Reading Trump Presidency to be Large-Scale Replication Experiments in Destructive Obedience: Here is How to Resist will help the actual points make sense, though. Even though Milgram's experiments were based on a pretty unrepresentative sample in terms of people generally, it's 1) a decent sample in terms of who tends to have power in the USA, and 2) not the only study that's been conducted, though Dr. Alfano's link on the subject loops back to his own post, presumably accidentally. In any case, I'm not after the "most people obey" information. I'm after the "what did the disobedient do?" information.

Point the first: If you want to be able to refuse immoral expectations later, starting earlier helps. There's not been any orders about wearing snarky autism T-shirts, and I don't expect there to be. Why would there be? But I said expectations, not orders, and there's a reason for that. Preemptive obedience (doing what you expect the authority figure would want before there is an order, or on things too small to ever deserve an order" is a thing, and not doing that would logically fall under refusing/resisting early. So instead of hiding or closeting the identities that an incoming administration wouldn't like, I get more open about them. I get (visually) louder. T-shirts. Flapping and rocking in public. Using AAC as a teacher. Throwing myself conspicuously into a wall at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. There can be no compliance ahead of time, because there should be none later. (As opposed to because I think the ahead of time bits are going to fix things on their own. I don't. They just keep me in a "no, you move" sort of mindset for when I'll need it.)

Point the second: Resist noticeably, and you increase the likelihood that those around you who notice will also resist. I don't want to be alone here. 

Point the third: I'm a Queer Disabled Jew. I may not be near the head of the line of people who'll be victimized, because I am also educated, also have class privilege, and am not Muslim. But I've heard the rhetoric about queer people (including trans people, remember that I'm nonbinary?) and about disabled people. I've seen the antisemitism getting more obvious. Let's not pretend I'm not in that line, even if people sometimes forget. (Read: prefer not to think about it?) So when paying attention to the individuality, to the personhood, of (potential) victims is part of how you make it easier to resist, reminding people I'm on that list seems like a good idea. 

I know myself. I know that, impish nature and all, it took me until I was eleven to figure out, even in theory, that intentional defiance was an option. A special education teacher had to tell me, so I'm not sure how much I can claim to have figured it out. There's a heck of a lot planned that I'm going to need to resist. So I'm going to need all the help I can get. (All the help I can give myself.)

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