Monday, July 2, 2007

Coming Out of the Closet: I am an Aspie and Proud of it.

I have a condition known as Asperger Syndrome. It’s a type of low level, high functioning autism. I see the world from a very different perspective than that of most people and process information differently. Because of this, despite the fact that I am, by most accounts, very smart and working on a PHD in History, I have trouble dealing with social situations. I tend not to be able to pick up on body language and other sorts of social cues that others take for granted. Alternatively one could say that there is nothing wrong with my social skills. I am simply someone who operates on a different but completely equal plane of thought. I imagine that if most of the world were Aspies then we would label all non-Aspies as being socially awkward.
There is another group of people who live their lives in ways that many people would find odd and even disturbing. These people were, until the early 70s, labeled as having a psychiatric illness. Nowadays thanks to a very successful social campaign these people have been brought into the social mainstream and it is no longer acceptable, in polite company, to imply that these people are in any way inferior or anything less then completely normal. I am of course referring to homosexuals. Supporters of Gay rights argue that homosexuality is a state of being and that any attempt to place any legal or social constraints upon them would be to deny them their humanity. They would argue that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable life-style and that it should in no way be viewed as being in any way inferior to heterosexuality.
I bring up the issue not to attack the Gay rights movement, but to simply point out that the same logic should apply to those who have Asperger Syndrome. I see being an Aspie as part of who I am and it is something I would not want to change even if I could. Being an Aspie is at least as much a part of my being as homosexuality is for a homosexual. I have an even better claim because in my case there is no defining action involved. Being an Aspie is solely a matter of how my brain functions, not of any action that I may or may not do. In the case of homosexuality one could at least make the argument that the objection is to the act of sodomy and not to a person’s state of being. This argument cannot be made in the case of Asperger Syndrome. If you have a problem with me as an Aspie then it must be because you have an objection with my very state of being.
If it is bigotry to label homosexuality as a disease and to impose social constraints on homosexuals then the same thing should apply to Asperger Syndrome. Anyone who uses the term “Asperger Syndrome” should be viewed as a bigot. They are implying that my state of being is somehow less then completely human and are robbing me of my humanity. Any attempt on the part of the psychiatric community to “cure” us or make us less Aspie like should be viewed as Nazism. Furthermore society should be made to be more tolerant of us Aspies. We should not have to act in a less Aspie fashion. People need to recognize that although we are different, our way of living is just as acceptable as theirs. Anyone who implies that we are in any way shape or form less then completely normal should be expelled from polite society. In order to facilitate this, the government needs to put Aspie tolerance into school curriculums and actively seek to hire Aspie teachers so as to provide good Aspie models for children.
If it were to happen that at some future date I should be denied a job because my Aspie personality proved disagreeable to someone on a hiring committee it should be viewed as no different then if that person on the hiring committee were to deny a job to someone merely because that person acted in a gay fashion. Society should not stand for such bigotry and should immediately rectify the situation by making sure that that person is never again in a position to promote his bigoted agenda. I of course should be immediately be given the position I so richly deserve.
Anyone who supports the concept of Gay Civil Rights must be willing to apply the same logic to the cause of Aspie Civil Rights. Anyone who fails to give us Aspies the same rights as homosexuals is a bigot. Anyone who supports Gay rights and does support Aspie rights is a bigot and a hypocrite. Of course if we were to reject the Gay rights argument then none of this would apply. If society has the right to look upon those who live differently as being deviant and force such people into choosing between being true to themselves or being accepted then I, as a proud Aspie, will, along with all other social deviants, have to make a tough choice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm disturbed by your references to what must happen and how people who do not share your view must be removed from positions of authority.

You fail to make an important distinction. Gays can and do sometimes behave in ways that make it impossible to detect that they are gay. If someone objects to them because they are gay, that can be seen as bigotry. Aspies often behave in socially inappropriate ways. For someone to object to their behavior is not bigotry.

Anyone can find someone else to be boring, rude or annoying. Given the choice, most employers would choose an employee who is not annoying. That is not bigotry. There is no campaign by annoying people to be accepted for their alternate, but equally valid annoying behavior.

You also won't find much support for ideas that claim thieves and murderers are simply behaving in alternate and equally valid ways.

Are short people being discriminated against by the NBA? Are six year old girls being discriminated against by the NFL? There are NO six year old girls in the NFL! Should the world change to accept talentless, tone deaf people as musicians and entertainers? Do we need more tone deaf people teaching music?

Your tirade is itself a symptom of Aspergers Syndrome. Your brain works in a way that makes you believe that you can pronounce your extreme views and get others to change to your way of thinking. See if you have any luck with it over the next several decades.

The world doesn't need more teachers who are aspies. It needs more aspies to listen to the sound advice of others. Consider, at least once in a while, that maybe the rest of the world is correct and that you are wrong.