It was around late 2012 or early 2013 when I first stumbled across the #ActuallyAutistic community online. Before I found the community, my ideas about what it means to be autistic came from my personal experience or from limited and often stereotypical portrayals in the media.
Reading, listening to, and joining that autistic community online was an incredibly fulfilling moment for me. Other autistic activists were the ones who taught me that I should be proud, not ashamed, of being autistic, and that we deserve to speak for ourselves instead of always being spoken over by our family members, medical professionals, and caregivers. Autistic activists helped me “come out” to my partner and friends as autistic.
Whether you’re autistic and looking for a stronger sense of community and to learn about perspectives outside your own, or you’re not autistic and want to support us in autism acceptance, the following list of activists can serve as a starting point. You can also search the #ActuallyAutistic or #AutismAcceptanceMonth tag on social media platforms, read my Activist Spotlight series (which includes many great autistic people, although it’s not limited to only autistic activists), check out #FollowFriday and other “who to follow” recommendations from the autistic community, and make a point to follow multiply marginalized autistic people.
1. Lisa J. Ellwood
Lisa J. Ellwood is an autistic and bipolar Lenape and Nanticoke Indian writer. She’s a journalist for Indian Country Today. You can follow her on Twitter, on her blog, or on her website.
4. s.e. smith
Rooted in Rights writer s. e. smith is an essayist, editor, and journalist, and one of the founders of Disabled Writers, a website dedicated to increasing disability representation in media, journalism, and publishing. You can follow s.e. on their website, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on Instagram.
5. Corinne Duyvis
Corinne Duyvis is a science fiction and fantasy author, co-founder and editor of Disability in KidLit, and creator of #OwnVoices (often used to discuss books by authors who share their characters’ marginalized identities), You can follow Corinne on her website, on Twitter, and on Tumblr.
6. Lydia X. Z. Brown
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a writer, organizer, activist, and speaker. They were the lead editor behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color, published in June 2017. You can follow them on their website, Facebook, and Twitter.
7. Amythest Schaber
Amythest Schaber created the blog Neurowonderful and the YouTube channel Ask An Autistic, where they answer common questions about autistic experiences like stimming and sensory processing. You can follow Amythest on Facebook and Twitter.
9. Sara Luterman
Sara Luterman is the founder and editor of NOS magazine, a news and commentary source for thought and analysis about neurodiversity culture and representation. You can follow her on Twitter.
10. Marieke Nijkamp
Marieke Nijkamp is a young adult author, the founder of DiversifYA and a founding senior vice president of We Need Diverse Books. You can follow them on their website, on Twitter, on Instagram, and on Tumblr.
12. Kris Guin
Kris Guin is the founder of Queerability, a blog that explores the intersections between LGBTQ and disabled identities, and a former staff member at Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. You can follow Kris on Facebook and Twitter.
15. Manuel Díaz
Manuel Díaz is a physicist and the founder and president of Texas Neurodiversity at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written and translated a number of pro-neurodiversity articles at his bilingual English- and Spanish-language website, Neurodivergencia Latina. You can follow Manuel on Facebook and Twitter.