out of love

language is imprecise. and this post was prompted not by anything anyone has specifically said or done recently, but by my having come across a book that i hadn’t seen before. a book that made me very angry. so take this with a grain of salt: i am, truly, writing in anger.

i am done with people describing the things parents do to their autistic children (or pay others to do to their autistic children) as being “acts of love.”

yes, you love your child.

yes, your love for your child makes you feel all other emotions for them incredibly, often unbearably strongly.

but i want us to characterize things more precisely.

you do not expose a child to extreme biomedical intervention procedures out of love. you do so out of fear. fear and love are not unrelated, nor are they equivalent. you are afraid that your child will suffer if you do not do something about it. you are afraid you child is suffering now and you are morally required to try and stop that suffering. yes.

but your fear is not perfect, nor is it omniscient. i am afraid of many things that “make no sense,” that “aren’t really there.” contemplate what it is about your fears that allows them to be seen as legitimate, to be seen as sufficient reason to subject a child to any variety of potentially painful and traumatizing procedures.

is your fear legitimate because society assumes that nobody wants their child to be ‘r******d’? is your fear legitimate because it’s okay to hate the way your child acts, so long as the way your child acts is “socially inept” or “inappropriate”? is your fear legitimate because the fears of people with words and authority are defined as such, while the fears of people without words, or without authority, are seen as illegitimate (or even nonexistent).

just because your emotions are socially appropriate, or recognized, or encouraged, does not mean that you are allowed to make decisions for others based solely on said emotions. in fact, in many cases, simply the fact that your emotions are considered socially appropriate should prompt you to consider how your perspective, and your feelings, implicitly silence and ignore the emotions of those with less power and voice than yourself.

your emotions are real. they are not reality.

love sometimes means fear, and sometimes means anger, and sometimes means happiness, and sometimes means frustration, and sometimes means contentment, and sometimes means any number of other emotions.

love means a lot of things. but it is not an excuse.


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