Many of us in the disability community take part in some sort of activism whether it be solely online or in-person or a combination of the two. I applaud all of our efforts. It really comes down to our level of comfort dealing with people en masse, a.k.a. the number of spoons we have available to us on any given day. Many of us have comorbidities that impact our choices for activism, but that does not mean that the choice we make to take part and express ourselves should be deemed any less important than others are. I for one feel more at home online and have been known to take part in many different protests via twitter and blog posts over the years. Online activists/protesters do not have to hear verbal shouts of derision or face any form of physical violence in-person, that is not to say that one does not encounter violence of another sort where people feel more free to show disdain and spout vile hateful ableist rhetoric online, whatever comes into their minds all the while cowardly hiding behind the safety of their computer screens. Cyber-bullying is just as invasive and in many cases even more so than in-person bullying because when one is home and alone one can still be targeted and harassed no matter the distance away the “attacker” is in the physical world. Such attacks cause just as much PTSD as their in-person physical ones, but in many cases the pain and harm they cause is even deeper. I do not like to invite such attacks so do not engage with individuals one on one online as others in my community to do on a regular basis, I could not take the self-hate and internalized ableism that would be a result of such attacks from awful people trolling the net for the sole purpose of creating havoc and leaving harm in their wake. Face it people many of these perpetrators spew their vitriol for their sheer entertainment and when we take the bait we are playing right into their hands.
I in turn use general political, etc. hashtags and take part in #cripthevote or just speak my mind in my own personal twitter and also sign online petitions. Those who do not engage others in-person but find it makes it easier to express yourselves online do not think that this diminishes the value of your activism; we too are fighting to make the world a better place for disabled people. I applaud Autistics who do engage one on one ,on a regular basis, you are brave beyond any measure I can express because time and time again you go to battle with these trolls, lick your virtual wounds and there you are again back in the fray fighting another day. Many of those who do go toe to toe with such hateful trolls find strength in the community and the fact that we do support their efforts knowing full well our own limitations and lack of spoons to do it ourselves, but as they say someone has too. I applaud the TRUE Autistic warriors taking on non-Autistic trolls online who only like to bait and taunt us for their own enjoyment and care nothing of learning the truth about what life is like for #ActuallyAutistic people. I thank you for your fighting. Stand strong against adversity, with every demon vanquished another arrives in your path, let them not get you down, keep fighting, but also remember to look out for number 1 as they say, safe-care and knowing ones limits is paramount. Also do not forget to ask for help and advice when you need it, others may be able to shoulder some of the burden when you are out of spoons. Don’t let anyone diminish your efforts with hate-speech. Fight the good fight.