Pride movements started in 1950's America with the civil rights demands for Black Americans. Hugely necessary at the time, they wrought and continue to inspire huge social change. The Gay Pride movements followed hot on their heels and have since been followed by various movements fighting for the civil rights of those involved. Thus we see Deaf Pride, Disabled Pride, Mexican Pride etc. The list is vast.
Autistic Pride was started in 1996 by "Aspies for Freedom" . The celebration of autistic pride takes many forms - it can be celebrated on the nominated day (June 168h) with festivals and other gatherings, there are conferences such as autscape that discuss various aspects of autistic life etc., or in many online groups.
There is a current feeling amongst the autistic community of a wish for self determination in services, lifestyle etc. In the Uk we have the Autism Act which alludes to this although many think more action needs to be done and bemoan the fact that cash strapped local councils are not always able to implement it.
So where does this leave us? We have a hugely diverse community demanding rights for autistic women, research and many other local and national charities. Autistic people themselves are just as diverse, some wishing to disclose their status as soon as they meet someone, some not too bothered, some ashamed. Intellectually we are all different too, 20% of us have learning difficulties, the rest tend to be in the higher IQ bracket. We have many conditions that can come alongside - these will be discussed in future articles such as sensory processing differences, executive function etc.
There are some core features though - our increased rates of depression, suicide and anxiety. This is why I personally feel it is useful to develop a strong sense of autistic pride. Not perhaps in the sense that one is autistic - we have no control over our genetics, but to enthuse and inform us living an authentic autistic life which includes a positive sense of self.