Just Because I’m Autistic Doesn’t Mean I Have to Be Woke
I hope that “Autistic” isn’t associated with ultra-liberal, overly progressive or extreme leftist thinking. As a proud Autist, I’m also a conservative.
I’ve always had a conservative mindset. It’s entirely possible for someone to have a condition that marginalizes them in some way, while at the same time adhere to a more traditional way of seeing things.
I HAD to write this article after an autistic man’s overly-liberal, wokey response to an innocent comment that I had made!
I had organized a social meetup for autistic adults with the topic of being the sharing of our special interests (hyperfixations and obsessions).
One of my lifelong (since junior high) special interests is the many different phonetic ways that a first name can be spelled, particularly female names. I really get off on this.
I’ve entered “crazy” spellings of girl names into Facebook to see if any accounts would come up with that spelling. It amazes me that some actually do! I’ve also put alternate spellings into the general Google search and enjoy seeing real people pop up with that actual spelling.
I don’t mean mild alterations such as Kimberli instead of Kimberly, but more pronounced variations such as Kimburrlee, and Erryanna instead of Ariana.
One time I was perusing Instagram for something unrelated and came upon the names of a family. One of the kids’ names was Aynjel. Is that COOL or WHAT?
I’ve actually calculated that there are over a thousand ways to phonetically spell Carolyn. There’s probably 1,500 for Clarice. Don’t believe me? Klarese, Klerryce, Klairrice, Clearise, Cleereece.
Every time I see a list of female names (sports team, realtor showcase, what-have-you), I scan through to see if any are spelled uniquely.
When I spot one I must stare at it. In college was a name on a professor’s door: Sinthea. I kept staring at it. I often ask how people spell their daughters’ names.
I asked my nephew why he chose a traditional spelling for his daughter’s name. The name is Rory.
I couldn’t understand why he and his wife would “spell it like everyone else” and not think outside the box with some creativity and originality – especially since the baby was a girl.
He asked, “Well how else can you spell it?”
I couldn’t believe this college educated young man couldn’t think of other phonetic variations. I rattled six off at light speed: Rori, Rorri, Rorrie, Rorey, Roree, Rorry.
So there I was, at the meetup with two autistic adults. One was a transwoman (“Leticia”), and this did NOT trouble me at all. Will I ever understand this? No, never. But did I act negatively towards Leticia? No. I was just as respectful as I would be to a cis-gender person.
It was the other individual who was the problem. Let’s call him Justin. Justin presents as a male, but had told me at a previous meetup he was intersex. This didn’t bother me at all.
So there we were, sitting at a table in a library for the special interest meetup, when my turn came to reveal a special interest. I wanted to talk about alternate name spellings. I began with, “My nephew named his daughter Rory. Because Rory is a boy’s name -- ”
BAM! I was cut off by Justin. He exclaimed something like, “NO, NO, NO, we are NOT to talk about genders…” (and I can’t remember what else he said – something relating to divisiveness perhaps).
What in the Fudge. I immediately replied, “MOST people named Rory are male. Just like most Josephs are male and most Michaels are male. It’s a FACT. It is NOT a gender thing!”
He said no more, but I could sense it in the air: He was throttled.
My original intention – that he had interrupted on – was to explain, “Because Rory is a boy’s name, I think the spelling should be altered if it’s given to a girl, such as R-O-R-R-I, R-O-R-I-E, R-O-R-E-E.”
Gee, would that have been so bad? If anyone is triggered by the comment, “Rory is a boy’s name,” then that person has mental health issues.
Rory IS a boy’s name, in that if you were to randomly snatch a thousand people named Rory off this planet, the vast, vast majority (95 percent?) would be male.
The percentage would be much higher for Justin, Adam, Kenneth, Jason and William. To say, “Frederick is a boy’s name” is to state a fact. It is not an opinion. An opinion is, “Frederick is an odd name for a girl.”
Some names are kind of 50/50, like Kelly, Kyle, Taylor, Lee and Jordan. I’d never say that “Robin is a boy’s name” or “girl’s name.”
But it’s quite accurate to say, “Virginia is a girl’s name.” People really need to toughen up if this name thing triggers them.
I scheduled another meetup event, this time at a cupcake shop, to be followed by a visit to a nearby rock and mineral shop.
I had to watch everything I was saying so as not to trigger Justin, because Justin is the head honcho of this organization, and with the click of his mouse he could remove me as an event organizer – or worse yet, delete me from the group. I’m at his mercy if I want to mingle with autistic people.
At the cupcake shop I was telling someone that one of my special interests is name spellings. I had to be careful – making a point to avoid saying “girl name spellings.”
A week or so later, I noticed that I was no longer able to create an event on the meetup site. Justin, without any explanation, removed me as an organizer.
Fudge! What did I say wrong at the cupcake shop? I talked about cupcakes, rocks and minerals, climbing, plants, coding and gravity. What could I have said wrong?
This really steams me. I was hoping to organize an event for Autistic people to meet up at a climbing gym!
Autistic people come in all varieties, yet Justin – and I’m sure many other people including neurotypicals – thinks we all come in this template – a template that’s fragile like a little glass figurine.
No, we Autistics are NOT all easily triggered, frail and easily offended. ALL people need to just toughen up and let others express themselves without cutting in with their overly progressive, ultra-sensitive, nitpicky agenda.
Just because I’m autistic doesn’t mean I have to approve of biological males competing in sports against biological females.
I am 100 percent, totally, dead-set against this and find it reprehensible that a man (Lia Thomas) stole first place from a woman in the NCAA Division I 500-yard freestyle swim. This trickled down to the fourth-place finisher being robbed of standing on the podium.
If Lia wants to “live life as a woman,” then that is this individual’s right. But when a chosen lifestyle encroaches on the many years of hard work of biological women, something is profoundly wrong with our system.
I didn’t begin swaying leftward just because I received an autism spectrum diagnosis. I still believe in the harshest punishment, under the law, that a criminal could receive for a particular crime. I don’t believe in early releases due to “good behavior.”
And I’ll tell anyone that if you want to avoid getting shot or strangled by the police, then stay calm and obey their commands. It’s not about race. It’s about getting combative with the police.
Not all Autistics are liberal and progressive. It seems that way, though. But I’m here to declare that I can’t be the only Autist who’s a bit old-fashioned and traditional in her thinking.