This is the final post in my "Double Rainbow" guest blog series. I've had a great time with this guest blog, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading it. As part of wrapping up the series, I wanted to leave you with something fun. In the spirit of finding autists in popular fiction, I'm going to speculate about a character whom I almost included in my Valentine's Day post, but who I ultimately decided to save until the end.
I'm talking about Elphaba Thropp, as she appears in Gregory Maguire's novel Wicked.
Yep. I think the Wicked Witch is a little bit autistic.
I'm an affectionate person, almost everyone I've dated or been friends with commenting on that. But whenever I am out in public with my fiancée, I become self-consciously affectionate. Not because I'm concerned about what nasty thoughts people might think about seeing such queerness, but because of what they fail to think.
This post is about what I consider to be one way of being the change I want to see. I think of it as a small public education intervention that I do almost every day.
For a lot of people, the idea of a sleepover conjures an image of wholesome youthful fun. In a culture that assumes that close friendships are usually same-sex, these occasions represent something platonic. At the same time, from an early age, a disproportionate degree of social anxiety and moral panic manifests around the bedroom, the nighttime, and the ambiguous meanings of the verb "to sleep." Why so much parental concern over making sure that, as their kids grow older, they aren't sharing any of these activities with others of the "opposite" sex (as though there is an opposite to a person's experience of self!)? What about the queer kids?
Autism Speaks is an easy, easy target. And a literally huge one—it's the largest and best-funded autism "awareness" and "advocacy" (I kind of want to just call it "autism-themed") organization in the world. Autistic self-advocates rip into Autism Speaks every day because of the organization's silencing and dehumanizing rhetoric, and its focus on "curing" autism rather than dedicating its resources to practical support for autistic people. I thought I'd comb through the resources on their website to see information they might offer regarding sex, gender, and sexuality.
When I first conceived the idea for this blog, I knew that I had to write a post about Lisbeth Salander. For the most part, any discussion of queer autistic sexuality in fiction must focus on lack, on the absence of representations, but Stieg Larsson's lurid Millenium novels and the films based on them feature an antiheroine who is both queer and (probably) autistic.
Welcome to my guest blog series, Double Rainbow. I am very excited to be blogging for Bitch and for the opportunity to lend my voice to discussion about representations of autistic sexuality (and lack thereof) in popular media. I chose the title of my blog both as a playful reference to the "Double Rainbow" meme and as a reference to the fact that I am a lesbian on the autism spectrum. The aim of this blog is to explore and interrogate popular representations of autistic sexuality and gender performance from a queer, autistic perspective.
A sometime writer, social worker, dancer, artist and yogi, Dylan Ryan is also one of adult entertainment's favorite feminist porn stars. She has been the recipient of The Feminist Porn Award's Heartthrob of the Year Award and was named one of Fleshbot.com's Crush Objects. An avid defender of sex worker rights and a queer-identified activist, Dylan is currently working on her first book. Here, Dylan speaks to the "strangeness" of being a queer person in porn.
The School District held an investigation you see, nothing too formal, they just sat down amongst themselves and members of the community, and decided they didn't have a bullying problem. Members of the community formed the Parents Action League, to make certain the neutrality policy, the policy forbidding teachers from acknowledging that queer people exist, stays in place. They formed a group whose sole purpose was to make sure that the conditions that led young people who were queer or perceived to be queer to take their own lives did not change.
One of the first squares I always fill in "Hateful Conservative Press Release Bingo" is the one devoted to references to child abuse or to the claim that queers are more likely to abuse children. This perpetually debunked claim is almost always trotted out in national debates about providing queer-inclusive sex education. It is a disgusting lie that puts children in danger by preparing them to be wary of a mincing stereotype instead of real sexual predators, most of whom identify as heterosexuals. It is unclear at what age the Traditional Values Coalition would think mentioning that queer people exist would be appropriate, but my guess is their answer would be "never" and "shut up about it."
The message of The Rawhide Kid reboot—that there is nothing inherently straight or male about being able to defend oneself or attaining mastery of the "manly arts"—is one I never tire of seeing. But why the explicit content warning?