For one hundred years and up until the present day, the primary goal of Autism Awareness campaigns have been to search for a cure for autism.
Searching for a cure is the highest act of hatred towards autistic people. It is akin to searching for a cure for black skin, a cure for indigeneity, or a cure for homosexuality. The drive to cure something is motivated by the idea that what you are trying to cure is dispicable and should be eliminated for the good of society.
The elimination of autism is parallel to the elimination of autistic people from society, the silencing of autistic perspectives, and the extermination of autistic lives.
Many people may see autistic people struggling and feel our lives would be easier if we were not autistic. It is true that our lives would be easier if we were typical. Autism is a disabling condition that prevents us from doing certain things and causes barriers to us achieving certain things. I do not believe that a typical person would ever choose to be autistic. But it is who we are.
My autism is the source of barriers in my personal life, my education, my career, my love life, and my hobbies. But it is who I am. If my autism were taken away or cured, and I was without those barriers, I would not feel joy any longer. I would be living somebody else’s life. I would either be living a lie, or I would not be the person who I am right now. I love myself. I do not want to be anybody else.
That is what it means to have Autistic Pride. Autistic Pride does not mean that we do not suffer and that our autistic lives are happy all of the time. It would be an unchallenged argument to say that all autistics have pain and barriers related to their different brains. But that does not mean that we need a different brain. We need acceptance and support.