The Autism Puzzle Piece (and why you might want to use it)
The Autism Puzzle Piece is apparently offensive to some autistics.
Frankly, if you find the shape of an inanimate object offensive, then you have some serious problems.
If you then go on to conclude and demand others "shouldn't" use this shape because it's upsetting for you, then I think you'd benefit from therapy aimed at helping you deal with your own emotions instead of expecting others deal with them for you.
The autism puzzle piece has no objective meaning. It has no meaning whatsoever beyond the subjective meaning individuals give to it. And its meaning is purely subjective since every individual will have a unique opinion. And the majority do not get to silence the minority by shouting loudly about how offended they are.
Now, I've never felt offended in my life.
Some of that's likely down to the alexithymia, so I'd not recognise it even if it was there, but it's far more likely to be because I'm an actual fucking grown up and since I achieved self-awareness and reached the age of reason I've understood freedom of speech is the most important right of all because it helps defend and ensure all the rest.
Freedom of speech isn't about protecting the right of people to say nice things. No one cares about trying to silence anyone for expressing warm and fuzzy sentiments about puppies, soft-focus romances, and rainbow-hued unicorn farts.
No, it exists to protect the right of people to say things others find deeply rude, offensive, insulting, blasphemous, and uncomfortable. It's about protecting the rights of people to say things with which you deeply and fundamentally disagree, and may even abhor.
You know what would be offensive to me if such a thing were possible?
Attempting to control others’ speech because you can’t control your own emotions.
The Autism Puzzle Piece has a specific meaning for me
And no one gets a vote about that.
Nor do they get a vote on how or where I use it unless doing so infringes their own rights (and you being offended or upset by it is not an infringement of your rights. It's a failing in you and displays your inadequacy, you pathetic fuck).
I was diagnosed as autistic at the age of 54, after more than half a century of WTF? moments, and to me the autism puzzle piece represents the missing part of the puzzle of my own life.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with Autism Speaks (I have no opinion about the organisation because I don’t know enough about them to have an opinion; although IF what I’ve heard is true, they are vile).
It has nothing to do with the notion autistic people are somehow broken or missing something allowing them to fit into the world.
And it has nothing to do with anyone but me if, when, and how I use it.
You don't like it?
I don't care.
You take a different meaning from it?
I don't care.
You're offended and upset by it?
If you don’t like the autism puzzle piece, then don’t use it. That's entirely up to you.
What you find offensive in the meaning YOU take from the shape is none of my business or concern.
But if you start telling me I can’t use it because YOU don’t like it…
… well that's a bit of a problem, as King Leonidas said.
Jon McCulloch, The Evil Bald Genius
Author, speaker, business owner, and autism advocate