Autistic Pride – Undaunted by Lockdown

By EMMA WISHART

Emma Wishart’s knitted banner

For the past three years, Ceri Dobbing has been organising Cardiff Autistic Pride, and she and the event were featured on the BBC show Richard and Jaco Take On The World. I was lucky enough to meet Ceri when I was giving a talk and we quickly became firm friends. Autistic Pride Day is celebrated internationally on the 18 June each year.

Ceri lives near Carmarthen and I live in Pembrokeshire and, frankly, Cardiff is a hell of a trek, so we decided to organise an Autistic Pride event in West Wales, although Ceri still intended to organise the Cardiff one too!

Ceri Dobbing

Using Ceri’s skills and knowledge gained from previous events we arranged with Carmarthen Town Council to hold the event in Carmarthen Park (near Tesco) on 20 June.

Carmarthen Council was tremendously welcoming and made the whole process an absolute pleasure, offering to lend us all manner of equipment and facilities at no cost.

It was to be an opportunity to meet other autistic people and enjoy a range of talented autistic performers singing songs, telling stories, reading poems or displaying their art.

Sadly, due to Covid-19, the event is cancelled for this year, but there will be an online event on 20 June organised by Autistic Pride Alliance.

If  you’re wondering what Autistic Pride is all about, it’s about sharing a message of love, acceptance, validation and empowerment, and encouraging other autistic people to embrace their differences and to not feel the need to keep their autistic ways of being hidden behind closed doors.

Autism Pride Alliance Logo

Unfortunately, there are many autistic people all over the world who aren’t able to celebrate autistic pride within their autistic communities, with many being scolded or institutionalised simply for being autistic. Autistic space, autistic community, and autistic culture should be available to all. Inclusion is massively important.

Autistic Pride is a grassroots event started by autistic people. It’s a day for autistic people to get together and celebrate ourselves and our neurodiversity. Unlike Autism Awareness Month, it is organised by autistic people for autistic people. Non-autistic people are welcome, but please be aware that this event is first and foremost for autistic people. We don’t have a lot of things that are just ours, so please do not speak over us. Our message is that neurodivergent people are as valuable to society as neurotypicals are.

The neurodiversity symbol is often used on flags at Autistic Pride events. This is usually an infinity symbol in rainbow colours, to symbolise the infinite nature of human diversity and the spectrum of neurodivergence. Sometimes the infinity symbol is in gold (the chemical symbol for gold is Au), which has been adopted by a large part of the community as a symbolic colour for autism.

Although Autistic Pride was inspired by LGBTQ+ Pride, the two are not related (although it is more common for autistic people to identify as LGBTQ+ than in the neurotypical population). So you do not need to be LGBTQ+ to celebrate Autistic Pride.

Autistic Pride is growing in popularity in the UK, and each year more and more events are taking place between the months of June and September.

To make this a safe space for autistic people, any talk about curing autism, autism as a vaccine injury, or ABA (Applied Behavioural Analysis) is not allowed. We are proud of who we are.

The YouTube link for the conference on the 20th June 2020 is :

http://youtu.be/90JLB-MYbik

For more information go to :

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkJdGb18o-oE-3ZAee9FTtA

Happy Autistic Pride Day, everyone! Hope you all have a wonderful day being your happy, authentic, autistic selves ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Here is the line-up for the Autistic Pride Alliance online event for 20 June 2020:

9.30 – 10am Introduction by Autistic Pride Alliance

10 – 11am London Autistic Pride – Joseph Redford

11 – 12am Aberdeen Autistic Pride @Marion McLaughlin

12 – 12.20pm Jess Benton

12.20 -12.40pm: Children’s time, autistic kids sending messages about how they are proud to be autistic, and clips that the makers of Pablo have prepared for us.

12.40 – 1pm – FREE

1 – 2pm Mark Blake – Autistic League/Autistic Pride Tunbridge Wells Removing M H Difficulties

2 – 3pm Autistic Pride Reading

3 – 4pm Billie Jo Gibson – Liverpool Autistic Pride – LGBTQIA+ intersectionality within the autistic community.

4 – 5pm – Autistic Pride Ireland

5 – 6pm David Gray-Hammond, Neuroclastic

6 – 6.30pm Emma Dalmayne and William Vanderpuije

6.30 – 7pm Adrie Van Der Meer – Autistic Pride Eastbourne

7 – 7.30pm Dominic Peter Barron – Hull Autistic Pride

7.30 – 8pm Callum Brazzo

8 – 9pm Sara Jane Harvey – Chester Autistic Pride

9 – 10pm Gwen Nelson – History Of Autistic Pride

10 – 10.30pm – Janine Brooks

10.30 – 11pm – Ellen Presti

Emma Wishart

Emma Wishart was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 45 when everything suddenly started to make sense, or at least the reasons why nothing made sense started to become clearer. She now lives in Pembrokeshire, working hard to raise awareness, understanding and acceptance of autism. The latest episode in her personal account of Living With Autism appears on Pembrokeshire.Online this Thursday – 18 June.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty Parsons

Kitty is an incomer, with five summers under her belt and the knowledge that even the wettest and greyest of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire. She knows she will never live long enough to be considered a local but hopes to leave some small mark through writing about this beautiful county and its people.

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