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Position Statement on Unity in Diversity

December 18, 2008

For Immediate Release [first published to The League to Fight Neurelitism website on December 17, 2008]

A vibrant, transnational autistic culture has emerged with the popularization of the Internet. Earlier, if autistics happened to come into contact one another, it would likely have like been by accident or, perhaps, through penpal clubs.

For comparison, deaf culture and LGBT (lesbian gay bisexual transgendered) culture, while still resisted in some quarters, have both seen an increasing societal acceptance. Many people have, at least to some degree, taken the standpoint of identity politics that deaf and LGPT persons, those whose live have been directly impacted by each set of constructions, should be permitted to speak for themselves and to express their own preferences.

The same has not been true for autistic culture. Autistic self-advocates and activists are regularly challenged by many, though certainly not all, parents of autistic children. There is a large, and mostly parent-led, movement, whiches advocates curing autism. To many autistics, talk of a cure is practically, if not literally, tantamount to promoting genocide. Autism, though not without its challenges, is, from a neurodiversity standpoint, a neurology to be treasured; and autistics, like other members of a society, should receive accommodations relevant to their own circumstances.

It is the stated position of The League to Fight Neurelitism that contemporary conceptualizations of multiculturalism should be extended to autistics and to autistic culture. “Unity in Neurodiversity” must, we feel, express a category of human, including civil, rights which has, till now, been largely neglected.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.
Founding Director,
The League to Fight Neurelitism
URL: Unity in Diversity

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