By Alexandra Forshaw
The national motto of France is “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” which translates as “Liberty, equality, fraternity”. It’s the reason for my advocacy, the end I have in sight. It’s a deceptively simple phrase that carries a wonderfully idealistic message: that we all have the basic rights to freedom, equality and belonging to a larger community.
- Freedom means we are free to be our authentic selves, free to express ourselves in whatever way comes naturally.
- Equality means our rights are the same as anybody else’s, our voices carry the same weight, we are seen as people who are every bit as valuable as anybody else.
- Fraternity means that we are part of whatever community we live in, we have access to support and to community facilities.
This is what it means to be accepted. This is the least we deserve as human beings; this is our fundamental inalienable human right.
We aren’t there yet. Persecution such as that suffered by Kayleb Moon-Robinson and many others demonstrates that autistic people are not accepted by society at large. The message hasn’t gotten out yet: we are people just like you with hopes, dreams, needs, strengths and weaknesses. We need your acceptance; we need your love if we are to take our place alongside you so we can contribute to our shared society on equal terms.
This is why so many autistic people advocate on behalf of ourselves and those like us: we strive to educate and bring the understanding that is the gateway to acceptance. All you need to do is listen and learn.