05 October, 2010

then I got excited

after I made that post and didn't do my homework, because I was thinking how cool it would be to do a project collecting writing/talking from people with ASD who pass or have passed


insecurities about stimming/gait etc. Or other things, like speech, or intensity, that people think will give them away
opting out of initiating things, getting too close to people, going into certain environments, because of a fear of getting into a situation where you won't be able to pass
covering rather than/in addition to passing. Passing to avoid covering.
being put in a position of assumed normalcy in relation to people with disabilities and/or mental illnesses--special ed teacher or staff person, student in a psych class, psychiatrist, parent of a disabled child, sibling of a more "visibly" disabled or ill person
intersections of unread ASD with other identities that aren't always read, and/or that the person consciously hides or covers (including ethnicity, class, being same-sex-attracted or trans, other illnesses or disabilities)
intersections of unread ASD with identities that are obvious to everyone (basically everything I just listed can also be "visible")
people who feel disconnected/unreal because of passing, or feel their relationships are damaged by their passing
people who are not read as ASD, but are read in some other negative way instead
decisions to stop passing, how they are made and their affects. Or, people who stop passing and feel they can't help it or don't really have a choice
having people tell you that your ASD isn't real or significant, because of the way you look or speak

anything else?


  1. This would be a really, incredibly awesome project. :) I'd love to see it.

    I might add something like, "Decision to request accommodations; struggling to determine if or to convince others that ones accommodation needs are legitimate if they're different from what people expect."

  2. I don't know if that fits in. I'll think about it.

    I think I want the section/s related to speaking about being/having ASD to be a fairly small section at the end which would be called "after passing" (or "recovering from passing" if I want to be really cute) and not have that be a major part of the content.

    I mean, generally I'm interested in deconstructing the equating of passing with uncomplicatedly "getting better." So I would like most of it to be about passing and/or lying. But maybe I'm overexplaining myself.

  3. This "covering" idea is fascinating. It's really true, too.

    I've written stuff that would work with this so I'd love to participate obviously. You/we should put together an anthology and publish it/ make a website where all the writing is collected/ something.

    Just curious, why do you use the term "same-sex attracted" as opposed to "gay" or "queer"?

  4. hm. because it's more neutral I guess?

    queer feels pretty tied to a particular culture or set of politics, whereas gay obviously isn't inclusive of all SSA people.

  5. That makes sense. I'd only ever heard "same-sex attracted" used by ex-gay types, previously, so I associate it with people being homophobic/trying to distance the "sin" from the person experiencing it.

  6. A huge thing is that by passing, everyone assumes your problems aren't as bad as they are, and hold you to a standard you can't really meet, or when you do complain about how bad they really are, accuse you of 'not trying' or exaggerating. This has happened to me a LOT. Having an undiagnosed learning disability sucks.

  7. well, I used to be kind of into ex/celibate gay stuff and I guess it's still a part of my identity/history. I also (and I am trying to write a post about this) used to identify as SSA and sometimes still do because I feel like almost by virtue of the "queer" community's desire to be unpredictable and alternative just for the sake of being that way, and the "gay" community's desire to "be like everyone else," there isn't room for me (very somber and careful but not normal) to belong to either and I can only have a word like SSA that describes a fact about me, and not a word like "Autistic" or "disabled" that I can use when I actually feel included and syntonic in a community.

    Anyway, I'd like to make an art project that patchworks a lot of anonymous submissions together by theme, so that the reader forms impressions about what different aspects of passing are. But this is obviously problematic because I may be taking people's words out of the context they wanted them to be in--if you rearrange stuff, or even just arrange it in a certain order, there is a sense of kind of trying to control someone else's voice.

    So, I think if you want to do an anthology, in the late fall/winter/early spring we should work together to collect material from people, and then in the spring we can each make our own thing out of it. Which may include using some of the same material. I mean, I don't know if you would want to, but if you do want to, I think it would be cool because I would feel less like I'm possibly erasing people or twisting them around to form a narrative of passing that I want to make.

    dear Fiona: I want you to be in this a LOT, if you couldn't tell.

  8. I'd be interested + very willing to contribute some stuff. Thanks for giving a lot of lead time so I CAN get something together.
    I remember how passing/being passed off as and burnout used to be a huge part of my life.

  9. Are you referring to the AWESOME Amanda Baggs post?

  10. Oh god, her Being Passed Off post changed my life. That seems weird to say but that particular post was really important in understanding why people have certain ideas about me and in making me feel more complicated about trying to pass.

  11. Yes, that's the one. :)

    By the way, random, but your captcha are all nice and sensical.

  12. Captcha is that "Prove you're not a computer by typing these warped letters" thing.

  13. oh , can i add an idea very close to my experience at the moment? how do you stop passing? part of me is hanging on to the acting part for dear life, and passing my asd as a weird sense of humour ,because i'm afraid of my personality being erased in their heads and replaced by a "disability"that would become the definition of me...i don't know how to not smile back anymore, how to not laugh at a joke i find stupid, how to not express sympathy when someone is obviously exaggerating their pain...i'm to afraid of looking lie an alien to stop all that i guess, and it has become a reflex reaction, like trying to catch a glass as it falls...