Opinion: There is no ‘Them’ and ‘Us’

David Crisp, autism trainer and speaker, reflects on Pride Month and Disability Pride, and the overlap between the autistic and LGBT+ communities. 

June is Pride Month in the UK, a time when the LGBT community celebrates the positive influence that LGBT individuals have had around the world. It is also an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the community. In July, disabled people celebrate the diversity of our community through Disability Pride, an international awareness month, which works to further shine a light on physical, learning and hidden disabilities, as well as mental health conditions.

A high percentage of autistic individuals identify with the LGBT community. Indeed studies by the Autism Research Centre in Cambridge and others have found that autistic adults are 8 times more likely to identify as asexual and “other” sexuality than their non-autistic peers.

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Many of these individuals have played a significant role in our recent history, some at a very terrible personal cost.

Let’s consider the following example: Alan Turing (1912 -1954). He is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Alan committed suicide by poisoning by eating an apple he had laced with cyanide. He did this because the British government chemically castrated him for being gay. He was also very likely to have been autistic.

Some believe he is the reason why a chunk is bitten out of the Apple logo…as a way of honouring his legacy.

If not for Alan Turin, Britain would likely have lost the Second World War. For Alan and his colleagues invented computer science and using his first designs he decrypted the Nazi Enigma code (the machine that the Nazis used to communicate secret commands to each other in WW2 and through doing so he saved millions of lives).

Pride Month isn’t about dancing on floats in gold hot pants. Or flying a Rainbow flag once a month. It’s about remembering that everyone has a right to be happy, love who they want and recognise the contribution that everyone adds to society.

I am an autistic , heterosexual male, married and father of 2 children . This does not exclude me from being supportive and respectful of others. Nor should it.

We’re all part of the same team if the contribution is positive. There is no “them” and “us” let’s stop them making everything tribal…we’re better than that, right?

Photo by Cecilie Johnsen


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