Content Notice: discourse around the movie “Music”; ableism and discrimination against semi- and non-speaking autistics.
I don’t really have a take on Sia’s new movie, “Music.” I don’t know if it’s my place to have a take; there is, after all, a difference between being semi-speaking (me) and being minimally speaking or completely non-speaking. But here is what I will say about the issue of semi- and non-speaking autistics in fiction media:
I am tired of semi- and non-speaking autistics only appearing in fiction as props to teach another character a life lesson. I am tired of speaking being shown as a perfect binary: a character is either fully speaking or completely non-speaking. I am tired of fully speaking people, including fully speaking autistics, acting as if semi- and non-speaking autistics can’t accurately review and judge fictional works about characters “like us.” I am tired of fully speaking autistics getting gigs to write reaction pieces to this newest attack on semi- and non-speaking autistics. I am tired of speaking non-autistic disabled people co-opting this latest disaster for their own benefit. I am tired of people acting like semi- and non-speaking autistics don’t exist outside of when it’s convenient so other people can make some point. I am tired. I am just tired of having to deal with this crap. And I will continue to be tired, as a person whose communication needs are variable and who never quite fits into the neat little categories fully speaking people (autistic and non-autistic, disabled and non-disabled) want them to, because these things keep happening. I am so tired and I would like to be able to not think about this kind of thing. But I have to because we’re still in a world where semi- and non-speaking autistics don’t get to be fully human.