Monday, October 13, 2014


I am sometimes afraid of “Autistic spaces.” I get afraid of the fact that hey, if I don’t like the fact that people are yelling about things because I have trauma in my past related to intense anger/yelling/emotional abuse… I’ll be told I’m tone-policing, that I’m a goody-goody with the neurotypicals and non-autistics.

“If you don’t like our anger, just leave, if you don’t like our anger, you’re trying to silence us.”

I am not trying to silence anyone.

There is a difference between explosive anger and righteous anger.

There is a difference between calling someone out and completely lambasting them into the next century with an explosion.

I’m trying to navigate a world of activism where if I disagree with someone, I might get yelled at – by other Autistics, of all people. I’m trying to tread a line between telling someone to stop triggering me and tone policing.

You can’t claim to want a safe space for Autistic people, then summarily explode at other Autistics who disagree with you because yes, we have other opinions, and no, it’s not because we just want to suck up to neurotypicals and non-autistics. Sometimes we have other methods of activism that still include calling people out.

It has a polarizing effect on the community. When people accuse us, the less angry-sounding, of being textbooks for neurotypicals, have you considered: maybe we don’t always have the energy to fight every battle? Maybe we don’t have the energy to yell and scream? Maybe we also don’t feel like triggering other people with explosive language?

I should not feel unsafe in Autistic and autism community spaces both from neurotypicals/non-autistics and other Autistic people.


  1. With all due respect (and I do mean that), I find some of what you have to say problematic.

    First, though, I am genuinely sorry that you feel unsafe among other autistics sometimes. That's a sad commentary on how fragmented our community has become.

    That said. You have no way of telling when someone's anger is righteous or not. There's a ton of context behind what everyone has to say, and it is, in my opinion, a form of tone policing to invalidate someone's anger, which is what it appears like you're trying to do. Of course, if you are triggered by anger, I would never tell anyone to just suck it up and deal, or that they have to inhabit a space near something that's toxic for them - but at the same time, policing what might be entirely justified anger from someone else's perspective doesn't appear to be the solution, either. Sometimes people have simply had it with other people's crap - and while it might be best for them to not interact with those people until they can calm down, that's not always going to happen, you know?

    I do think, fortunately or unfortunately, that there will be some spaces where not every autistic feels comfortable, simply because people express emotion in all different ways. While I can't speak for anyone else, I know that someone telling me to "calm down" or something similar only makes me more upset, because it feels like they are saying "This isn't worth your anger." And frankly, you (general you) have no idea what's worth my anger. That's my call, not yours.

    No one has the energy for every single battle - but if someone else wants to fight it with machine guns and you prefer to fight it with stealth assassinations, that's a difference in tactics, not belief. Of course, if you disagree with someone's opinions, you're not going to look very favorably on them anyway, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

    1. It's not tone-policing to ask someone to stop using abusive language at you all the time, and it IS a form of silencing when you are yelled at so much you just shut up about the whole thing.

      It's not invalidating people's anger to ask them to stop yelling at anyone who disagrees with them and making them be quiet out of fear and apprehension.

      This post somewhat addresses that: