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(UK) Scotland: Autistic pride counters 'discrimination, shame, difficultiesstill come with being autistic'

June 17, 2024, Inverness Courier: Autism Rights Group Highland chair says Pride day is about visibility and rejecting shame

The Autism Rights Group Highland (ARGH) say public events are key to maintaining visibility for the community.

Last Saturday the group held their latest annual event to mark Autistic Pride at Bellfield Park, with a picnic, quiz, face and hand painting and information stalls all on offer, with around 100 people in attendance throughout the day.

It is a chance for autistic people to connect with each other in a space that they are comfortable in, as well as helping educate others on how best to support autistic people.

Autistic Pride has been running since 2005, with the first public events in the Highlands happening over a decade ago, but even after that time has passed it is still important to shout about what it means to be autistic, and what reasonable adjustments can be made.

“For me it’s about visibility, and rejecting shame,” ARGH chair Kabie explained.

“I don’t feel particularly proud to be autistic, because that seems like a weird concept, so it’s the rejection of shame that really sticks out to me. We’re not going to hide, and we know that visibility really helps other people.

 “I think some non-autistic people don’t understand the discrimination and the shame and the difficulties that still come with being autistic.

 “Personally, maybe I’ve moved past some of those a bit, but there are still times when you’re asking for reasonable adjustments trying to access services, or when I’m trying to go along to my kids’ school, that I still find difficulty. . . .

Kabie had talked in the build-up to this year’s event about how Autistic Pride has intentionally been kept relatively small in Inverness, but there is still scope to open it up and do more in years to come.

“I’d like to see more events, maybe a series of events,” Kabie pondered.

 “I would like more people to know that Autistic Pride exists. That would be good.

“We’re not doing an online event this year because of capacity, but we always do try to have one because a lot of people can’t make it or don’t feel able to come along.

“We are so responsive to our members that it people said they wanted to do this other instead, we probably would go along with it. We’re quite fluid, but more events and awareness would be great.”


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