Growing up Neurodivergent in Newy

So, Black Inc Books went and pathologised Autism and related conditions and tried to uphold the medical model and delegitimise self-diagnosis in a world where diagnosis costs thousands of dollars and the trauma of reliving your childhood to get a label you already identify with so you can access NDIS and DSP and other supports. But go off. Click through to Twitter if you want to know how well that went with the Actually Autistic Aussie community there. Apparently they’re owned by a Zionist anyway, so whatever.

I’ve had a huge week, two days at the Sydney World Pride Human rights conference and my Nanna’s funeral and just surviving in between. I’m tired, probably sick, but always up for a rant.

The conference was amazing, 1800 delegates from around the world coming together to reaffirm the fight for our human rights as LGBTQIA+ people and wondering beings. The first session started late, about 45 minutes, which had me cranky since I’d been up since 4.30am to get there. They also had lunch scheduled in for times like 1.45pm…. I know it’s only 15 minutes later, but I feel like lunch should never start later than 1.30pm, Preferably no later than 1,

There were cookies. Many cookies. I feel like I need to learn more about Intersex people and the issues that affect them, and also about how gender is described in Indigenous populations and I need to step back more as a cis white woman and stfu. We need to decolonise at every stage, We need to look at who is not in the room and see how we can bring them in. I was there on an “affordability” ticket that I had to apply to get based on being a concession card holder. It was still $120, so well out of reach for most people I know living on welfare in this country, I put it on Zippay, so it’ll be paid off at some point. There was a panel on economic inclusion which talked about offering training to people to start their own businesses, but it all came down to there needing to be capital, start up funding and grants and microloans. Queer people will continue to need to crowdfund to get their dreams.

There was a roundtable on Thursday about Autistic and Queer identities but I had to miss that for my Nanna’s funeral. It was probably for the best I didn’t travel to Sydney three days in a row, anyway. I got to nap on the trips down which was helpful. I wish the coffee stations were open before the first session! But I guess they want everyone to buy from their cafe. The funeral was fine. I got impatient with an old lady who was asking my father where some other relative was living and I’m lady talk to us at the wake, not right now right after the service. I may not get along great with my father but I’m protective of him. Rah. It’s like when my Aunt died and someone was going off on him on the phone about something and I made my mother take the phone and tell them to kindly leave him the fuck alone.

I look at my family I’ve come from and the one that’s developing. I have queer and neurdiverse niblings on my side and Bruce’s, who’ve come out into this world and what it offers and threatens. I’m here to help them how I can to protect them and celebrate them. I’m going to become a step-grandmother this year, which I’m aiming to embrace and celebrate.

I’ll leave you with two book recommendations of amazing neurodivergent women. First is Anna Spargo-Ryan’s A kind of magic and second Amy Thunig’s Tell Me Again. Two women of around my age growing up in Australia with brilliant minds but fighting their own and their family’s demons around mental health and addiction. So much from both books resonated with me. You never know what people are going through.

I’m two years sober from alcohol. And I’ve done two months straight daily Japanese practice. I like numbers.

Lake Macquarie Pride Fair and Break the Poverty Machine Rally Newcatle

SO, that was a HUGE weekend with a lot of planning and build up, lots of talking and posting and having my brain switched on, and now that I’m in recovery mode I’m going to look back at it! This is my boot after ditching the tables and gazebo at the scout hall from pride, but before the rally Monday. It’s chaos like my brain! I’ve now gotten to Wednesday and think I MAY have a virus, but it’s not certain, so I’m just drinking all the water and resting up. RATs are neg so far. I’m probably just peopled-out.

I did touch a lot of people as I was putting on soooo many temporary tattoos heh Only a couple of cleavage ones, unlike ten years ago when I was applying temporary tattoos for the Sex Party (now Reason) at Sexpo in Sydney!

A lovely evening, with perfect weather and a mix of market and community stalls, lotsa freebies and cool things, and a great vibe! Well done Newcastle Pride Inc! Thanks for bringing pride to Lake Mac!

Sunday was a rest day, and  then I picked up my Twitter friend Aeryn from the station who’d come up from Wollongong for the rally!

Here are some of the experiences of welfare shared by attendees at the Newcastle rally. You can click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.

Why is seeking welfare the same effort as a full time job and it's still not enough to get by #raisetherate

And then the tear-jerker from Andrew who I’d been chatting to outside Centrelink while he was waiting for a friend. He started off with the expected – red meat, social life, coffee, giving up tobacco being a near killer as it got more and more expensive, but then, the story of how he’s been saving for a headstone for his baby boy’s grave since he dies 8 years ago at two days old just hit me hard. I apologised for having to bring it up, but he reassured me it was okay and it was good to tell someone who cared. Every time he comes close there’s the unexpected expense like a huge bill or a fridge breaking down and he just hasn’t gotten there.

The speech from Catherine was powerful, with John Mackenzie also telling it like it is. Mum says we were on NBN news that night, but they haven’t posted that story on socials.

Aeryn and I went for a scenic drive, listening and watching the rally from Adelaide on Twitch and stopping for lunch at gorgeous Nobby’s, at Bruce’s insistence I treat us to lunch somewhere.

And here we are. Check out the #BTPM tag on twitter and other socials for posts from people on Centrelink around the country pleading for a better future this Antipoverty week. There’s way too much talk about what would be nice but nothing tangible being offered, as usual.