Hello wonderful community! My friend, Ayman Eckford from St Petersburg in Russia, got in touch recently and asked for help reaching out to our neuroqueer community to answer some questions for LGBTQIA+ autistic young people and their families.
Can you help?
Ayman has a few questions for you that will be shared here and also translated in to Russian and shared with young people and families around the world. Very cool! You can submit a video, audio recording or written response. More info below…
A Message from Ayman:
My name is Ayman Eckford. I’m autistic, lesbian and Muslim person. I was born in Donetsk in Ukraine, but now I live in St. Petersburg. I’m a neurodiversity and LGBTI activist, and I created a number of projects about autism, disability and LGBTI, including “Autistic Initiative For Civil Rights” group https://autisticforcivilrights.com/- the first Russian initiative group created by autistic people for autistic people, the Neurodiversity in Russia https://neurodiversityinrussia.com/ – the first Russian-language blog about autism without pathology paradigm and LGBTI+ autistic project http://lgbtautistic.blogspot.ru/, which was originally created to improve the visibility of autistic LGBTI people, and then became a big project at the intersection of autism, gender, sexuality, disability, youth rights, race, etc. I live with my girlfriend, who is also autistic. We have three cats. I’m interested in social justice, the history of the American civil rights movements, sci-fi, Middle East politics, radical movements like ISIL and Al-Qaeda, the history of the Cold War and the history of the Rockefeller family.
I decided to write these questions when the head of the St. Petersburg “The parents club” (a group of mothers who support their LGBTI-children) talked with me about acceptance of autistic and LGBTI children. Most of these questions are based on the experience of “The parents club” meetings and on the questions that parents of autistic children have written to me in private messages. All of your answers to the questions will be translated into Russian and published on the LGBTI-autistic website, so that Russian-speaking parents of autistic LGBTI children able to read it.
Questions for You
[Note from Briannon – these questions are worded from the perspective of parents whose children have recently come out. Some of these questions could be triggering for you as they are about parents trying to understand and accept their children. If this is the case, you don’t have to answer or keep reading.]
- So, my child is autistic. Will their experiences be different from the experiences of cis hetero autistic children or neurotypical queer teens? What should I consider?
- Why has this happened in our family? What mistakes have we made? It seems like I have done something wrong? How can I cope with the feeling of guilt?
- Is it possible my child has made a mistake coming out? Maybe they should not talk about it, or I should not take coming out so seriously?
- How do I learn to accept my child?
- I think I’ll feel better if I learn to talk about my child being queer. How do I learn how to talk about it? (At least on a closed support group?)
- How can I protect and support my child?
- If you were a queer autistic teenager, what things would have helped you in your past?
- What else can you advise me?
From Ayman- Questions are based on the real issues, mentioned to me by the head of the St. Petersburg support group for parents of LGBT+ children. You can answer only a few questions, if you want. You can skip questions. The answers will be translated into Russian and published on the “LGBTI + autistic” website. It will be very great if you add an image to your answers, but that is not necessary. Your answers can be anonymous.
How to submit
Send your video, audio recording or written response to Briannon via facebook messenger or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please tell me if you want your response to be anonymous.
If you send in your response and I don’t reply, please get in touch on social media or via Connect with Briannon in case you’ve gone through to my junk mail somehow or I missed your message, which happens…
Thank you so much, from both Ayman and I ❤