Lydia X. Z. Brown Profile picture
Dec 1, 2017 57 tweets 25 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Autistic people are human beings. We can and must make our own medical choices, especially about procedures as invasive+permanent as sterilization.

Forcible/involuntary sterilization because you're afraid of someone like me reproducing? Direct and clear example of modern eugenics.

You can't imagine your son in a sexual situation because he is autistic? You have a serious lack of imagination. Autistic people span the entire sexual and asexual spectrums.

You publicly talked about what kind of porn your son watches. In a @nytimes "bestseller." I am so, so horrified, angry, and betrayed on behalf of your son.

You are convinced your son will die alone because no girl could ever possibly be interested in him. That is blatant, horrifying ableism.

You are counting down the days until you can involuntarily sterilize your son, which you want to do because he is autistic. I hope he escapes your house.

This time next year, I'll be a licensed attorney. Many #ActuallyAutistic and other disabled people are too. Believe you me, we will line up to fight you if you try this against his will.

I am TERRIFIED for your son, because he has to live with you. Your book shows your true self. What kind of parent you are. What kind of person you are. And it's scary as fuck.

Your son needs love and support. Not mockery, public humiliation, condescension, and threats of involuntary, invasive, and permanent medical procedures.

How the hell do you expect your son to learn to be a loving partner to a woman, a man, or a non-binary person, if you already assume he can't be? You are supposed to teach him!

You wrote that you don't believe your son is or ever will be capable of putting other people's feelings ahead of his own. I read that and am sick to my stomach.

I'm an #ActuallyAutistic adult, and I feel such overwhelmingly intense empathy for YOUR SON that I am crying thinking of what it must be like to be him knowing/finding out you've written this bullshit about him in public.

Do you know about Micah David Cole-Fletcher? He is an autistic poet and a hero in Portland, Oregon. He got stabbed because he stood up to white supremacists abusing two women of color. Two others were murdered.


We #ActuallyAutistic people are constantly scrambling with extremely limited resources+challenges of multiple disabilities to save each other from eviction+institutionalization+abuse, every day.

That's autistic empathy.

Every day I know of #ActuallyAutistic people, most of whom will never get news media coverage, sacrificing every second of their time+every bit of their available effort, to fight against violence+harm.

When you describe your son as lacking in empathy, compassion, and the ability to put others before himself, you directly attack the core integrity of some of the most self-sacrificing humans on this planet.

What about Jennifer Msumba's courage in speaking up against the JRC for torturing disabled people? Of facing the very people who abused her and still justify it, because it might get others out and make the torture stop?

That's autistic empathy.

Look, every autistic person will not have a romantic or sexual relationship in their lifetimes. But that's not either a core trait of being autistic, nor is it a reflection of lesser personhood.

The point that I am trying to make, that I sincerely doubt you will ever be willing to listen to (but yet hope against hope you will), is that your son is a full human being.

Not despite autism.

He is autistic and human and these are not contradictory.

One day, if he hasn't yet, your son will read what you wrote about him, publicly, and my heart breaks for him for when that day comes.

This is betrayal.

This is betrayal.

This is betrayal.

You wrote that your son should not reproduce because he could never be a father. This is wrong.

Autistic people around the globe are already proud, loving parents of children - autistic and non-autistic. Being autistic does not mean we cannot love or care.

An autistic person dropped everything and drove three hours on the stop when I was in the middle of a mental health crisis.

(And surely you must know how much we hate interruptions to routine/sudden changes.)

That's autistic love and care.

I know an autistic person dedicated to finding and supporting the most isolated human beings locked in inhumane conditions in prisons with no budget and no donors, traveling from prison to prison in the face of violence.

That's autistic love and care.

My partner (also autistic) and I drove 18+ hours through 8 states to support two other human beings in getting to a safe place to live and escaping homelessness.

We don't want praise or money. Just to do what's right.

That's autistic love and care.

I know an autistic person with multiple disabilities+chronic illnesses who performed life-saving labor for another disabled person who was almost left for dead, even at the expense of their own physical health.

That's autistic love and care.

You say your son cannot be a father or a loving partner because he can't love or care for others. Because he can't put others before himself.

If he still loves you after finding out about this horror show of a book, he will have already proved you wrong.

You say he should not father a child because he is immature.

Do you realize how many grown-ass, NON-DISABLED men are out there with children who are immature/unempathetic as fuck?

(Hint: Some of them are called Senator+Representative. One's called President.)

As an autistic human being, I am enraged and devastated at @harperbooks' decision to publish this garbage.

Because it's not only your son this has/will hurt. It's many, many more autistic people whose parents will read it.

I teach a college course on disability police and social movements.

In one unit, we discuss in brutal, graphic detail the long and continuing history of involuntary sterilizations of disabled people, PoC, and disabled PoC specifically.

It's called eugenics.

The idea that disabled people are incapable of parenting, shouldn't reproduce more disabled people, and shouldn't be having sex ...

That's called eugenics. It's the very same idea that led to the Nazi's T-4 program. They called us "useless eaters."

You know who else thought we shouldn't be reproducing? The mass murderer in Sagamihara, Japan, who last year stabbed 19 disabled people to death+injured 26 more.

He said he wanted to rid the world of us.

You think you're nothing like him but you're wrong.

Here's what you share:

* A belief that disabled people cannot be full human beings

* A belief that disabled people shouldn't be reproducing

The difference is that he stabbed people. You wrote a book with these ideas.

But I'm afraid others might be inspired.

Now I know that on the off-chance you ever read these messages, your first reaction will be to tell me how mean I am.

(Because you get to be upset if I'm harsh, but I'm just mean because I obviously lack empathy and social skills. /sarcasm, of course)

Your second response will be to tell me that I'm nothing like your child. You will tell me that I'm articulate, intelligent, obviously functional, and successful. You will say that I have a very mild form of autism.

These are ableist distractions.

No, I don't know your son personally. No, I have not lived in the same house as him.

But I have lived in a harsh, violent world my entire life with a brain very much like his.

(And I'm older than your son. By about ten years.)

The truth is, no matter what specific struggles or skills I have, I'm autistic like your son, and you ... you are not.

I am like your child.

I cannot comprehend why or how someone who is supposed to love me the most could hurt/hate me so much.

You may believe you love your son. But we, autistic people, hear what you have actually said, which is that you hate him. You love a version of him that does not exist.

(Learn from Jim Sinclair:

You have put something incredibly, horrifyingly dangerous into the world. You can't take it back, not completely.

But you can and must make amends for your flagrant abuse of your privilege, power, and resources.

For the sake of your son.

For the sake of others like him.

For the sake of those to come after him.

We deserve to live free of fear of violence, especially from the people who are most supposed to love and protect us.

And make no mistake -- forcible, involuntary sterilization, and legal authority over another person's medical decision-making, these are forms of violence.

You are plotting to take away your son's right to control his own body.

You are plotting to become the biggest, worst, and most inescapable abuser in your son's life.

You still have a chance to stop and backtrack. To be a supportive, actually loving parent.

But your window of time is shrinking, fast.

You need to start with apologizing to your son and coming clean about what you've done if he doesn't know already.

And then you need to do your damndest to combat the dangerous messages you've put out there in the world.

You need to make sure that your son knows that he and he alone controls his own body.

He and he alone gets to decide what, whether, when, and how other people can do anything to him -- sexually, medically, reproductively.

That means apologizing for violating any tiny sense of privacy he might have ever had.

That means apologizing for thinking of him as less than a full person.

That means apologizing for publicly humiliating and mocking him.

That means connecting him, ASAP, to autistic adults who can mentor and support him coming into adulthood as an autistic teen.

That means making sure he gets real, meaningful sex education about reproductive choices, reproductive healthcare, and what consent is.

That means promising to him and to yourself that you will not be counting the days until you can legally steal from your son his right to control his own body.

(Yes I am stuck on that. Because it's disgusting and morally appalling.)

If you want to show to your son how to put others' feelings ahead of their own, retract the book. Demand the publisher ice it. Forgo the royalties, the speaking engagements, the press.

Put your son ahead of yourself. Put his dignity and his humanity first.

If you still want to write another book later, let it be an honest book.

Let it be a book where your son is humanized instead of dehumanized and mocked.

Let it be a book where you are a flawed human instead of a hero/saint/angel/martyr.

Until you are ready to accept full responsibility for what you have done to autistic people present and future as well as your own son, and take appropriate action to rectify it,

We have nothing further to discuss.

I will take my rage and weeping apart from you.

Interested in putting $$$ where it counts?

@HTCsolidarity: badass group of Black Deaf+Disabled organizers

@autism_women: intersectional powerhouse/support network

@behearddc: fights Deaf wrongful convictions+community trainings

@autselfadvocacy: leader in D.C. policy advocacy
More people/orgs to support while #BoycottToSiri:

@DisVisibility: amplification of disabled activism

@RampYourVoice: Black disabled woman-centric project

@NOSeditorial: magazine by/for neurodivergent writers+language access

@DREDF+@BazelonCenter: cutting-edge legal advocacy
Yet more worthy/needing support:

@sinsinvalid: performance project centering sick/disabled QTPOC

@kriphopnation: PoC-centric disabled cultural activism via hip-hop

@BarkingSycamore+@thedeafpoets: Disabled/neurodivergent literary ventures
Still more!

Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (no twitter/contact @miamingus)

@alacostaACAT: direct services agency run by autistic adults

@NationalADAPT: grassroots direct action against harmful legislation (saved Medicaid repeatedly)

@TheTaskForce: First LGBTQ+ org hosting disability justice project led by disabled TWOC

@SRLP: legal advocacy for low-income+PoC+immigrant+incarcerated TGNC folks

Autism Spectrum Navigators @BellevueCollege: peer support/full integration/autistic culture symposium
And lastly, if you're reading this, learned something, and have privilege+money?

Consider donating to support me and my work (much of which I do not broadcast publicly but directly benefits/supports marginalized people).

PayPal Lydia at autistichoya dot com.
OKAY I SLIGHTLY LIED. first anthology by autistic PoC

Disability Intersectionality Summit: what it says on tin/contact @IntersectedCrip

@CitizenDirected: association for real community integration+self-determination for ALL people with I/DD
Another awesome publisher centering multiply-marginalized #OwnVoices: @CuilPress led by disabled founder

@ColumbiaLight direct peer-led services for Blind/DeafBlind/Blind+Disabled

@Yodisabledproud: disabled youth leadership+empowerment

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @autistichoya

Sep 27, 2018
One of the worst harms done to transracial adoptees of color, especially transracial AND transnational adoptees of color, is stealing us from our homelands while depriving us of cultural connection and community.

We are permanent outcasts. Isolated. At the margins of the margins.

I don't belong anywhere.

White people want me to be a safe (to be openly racist to/around), palatable (to white respectability), assimilated (into whiteness) East Asian.

At the same time AsAm communities feel out of reach.

I don't belong to AsAm family that's been here for generations.

I'm not the AsAm (grand)child of immigrants.

I am culturally illiterate. My attempts to reclaim heritage+ancestral wisdom feel artificial.

Read 17 tweets
Jun 4, 2018
Some tips on access-centered event/program organizing/planning (some are mine; many I learned from other fabulous folks):
(1) When you put information about the event online, whether on (a) a website, (b) in email announcements, or (c) social media, only include images if you include alt-text and text-only captions.
(2) Don't rely on online/email/social media to get the word out.

Call people too. Many comrades with intellectual disabilities strongly prefer phones, even if they can use the internet+email. (And many can't+are actively deprived of access/training.)
Read 31 tweets
May 17, 2018
I think I have a lot of disability activid. opinions that aren't necessarily very popular and that others might share but are afraid to express.

So here are a few:

(Caveat: These are all somewhat simplified because of format. But I love nuances.)
It's not a moral failure for a disabled person to want a cure.

It's also not necessarily because of internalized ableism.

Self-determination+autonomy need to include the possibilities that some people want their brains+bodies to function differently.
It's okay for people to call themselves aspies or people with Asperger's.

Not all people who do are ableist aspie supremacists or shiny aspies.

Most people who use Asperger's and AREN'T aspie supremacists tend to be people of color, who get yelled at by white people.
Read 29 tweets
Apr 14, 2018
Over the last 6 or 7 years since I first posted the original Ableist Language Glossary on my blog, I've received literally thousands of comments on it in every form.

Fan mail, hate mail, concern trolling, and mutually contradictory criticisms.

So! Let's clear some things up.
(1) The list is NOT a litmus test.

Stop fucking using it as a censored word list.

Its purpose is to inform and educate, not enforce increased policing/surveillance of random people's language.
(2) It is a RESOURCE.

It's meant to be available to help folks who would like to take a close look at their own language think about their everyday use of words with ableist pasts or presents.
Read 17 tweets
Jan 24, 2018
A friend sent me this and asked me to share to protect their anonymity -- very important info for Boston #queer #trans #LGBTQ community about @FenwayHealth:

Content Warning: Suicide, medical abuse, sexual assault, self-harm.

#QTPoC #SDQTPoC #AbleismExists
"I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to warn you about a dangerous psychiatrist at Fenway Behavioral Health, Dr. Howard Hernandez. I apologize for not writing this sooner, but I didn't feel ready to share this until now."
"About thirteen months ago I saw Dr. Hernandez for the first time. It was an initial intake visit, so much of our time was taken up by completing my history."
Read 46 tweets
Nov 14, 2017
Stop stealing our word to co-opt our identities+colonial trauma!

- Signed, a transracial adoptee

(I'm East Asian PoC, specifically Chinese, adopted by white family in U.S.)
Because of racist assholes like this person, someone in activism actually thought I was one of them b/c my bio says transracial.

Transracial+transnational adoption is a reproductive justice+disability justice+decolonization+racial justice issue.
Read 34 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!