Tracy Lee Allard

@asd444 | contributor
I’m was the first professional openly autistic actress on a regional theater stage in America in 2015! I’ve been in movies and plays. I now do a great deal of public speaking and advocacy work. My goal is to shift our thinking on the term disability from the stigma of disability being bad to disability being a culture.
Community Voices

To World Leaders from A Disabled Gen-zer regarding war

Part 2 of 2 on Your people are not just White, They are not just Christian, They are not just male, they are not all Able Bodied or Neurotypical.Thus intersectionality working together to dismantle these historic inequities is the duty of all in our societies to make a world that values the contributions of different cultures and views rather than seeking to erase.Protecting people, traditions ,and culture isn’t a “Good thing to do.” It is an obligation of people who have directly perpetuated caused and created these harms.(Whether you realize you did or not.)

As world leaders and historical figures I’m sure your legacies are important to you. If you choose Violence and cruelty you are penning your own biography in history. Do you want to be known as violent bullies? As this is what currently come across as. This won’t happen by continuing to value the pieces of dead tree over human animal and plant life. Your invention of money you think may save you by buying you a place to live on another planet…. But how long until we kill that one and then subsequently our solar system.

I personally admire leaders who aren’t always remembered but are known for doing right by the people. I remind you all You are PUBLIC SERVANTS. Your job is to serve the public (This means the whole public not just people with privilege.) If you fail to do so you are not doing your job

.So what will your legacy be Mass destruction?Colonial violence Or honest actions of healing and solidarity which will be remembered fondly for centuries.This is your choice.

THE GREED AND VIOLENCE NEEDS TO STOP.

Tracy Lee Allard

Why Being an Autistic Genius Often Isn't a Good Thing

I never really liked the false narrative of genius — the idea that people are either born intelligent or not. As a child, you aspire to things, aspire to “genius” aspire to “success,” aspire to be “special.” I wanted to be cool and to offer something unique — if I could make myself be perceived by other children as “cool.” However, genius is the ultimate be careful what you wish for. Genius is a great fallacy. As an autistic, it is assumed that I as an adult fall into one of two categories. I am expected to either be too foolish to understand basic conversation, or I am compared to Sheldon Cooper. My personal relation to the idea of intelligence is strange. I have a staggered IQ, meaning I score very superior in language. However, my basic skills which I would need to keep me alive are below average. My autism makes me hyperlexic. I pay the price, however, in my social skills. I am used as a weapon against my peers. People say some of my disabled peers are less intelligent or less functioning. It’s false. Especially the idea of bookish intelligence being the only valid kind of intelligence. There is emotional intelligence, social intelligence, instinctual intelligence, artistic intelligence. There isn’t just one type. Why do we devalue people based on intelligence? What value does that hold? It’s pointless. For “genius” to have any use, you also need social popularity as a platform. To be a genius and unknown is possible and is usually the case. However, what we equate with “genius” is incredibly rare — what we usually equate with genius is being gifted and having good P.R. The truth of the matter is, most of us finish work quickly go on our phones, and get scolded for being problem students/workers, when really we had just finished the task already. The truth is, the fetishization of disabled geniuses, twice-exceptional learners, and gifted students causes a lot of harm. Here’s what isn’t discussed: Being twice exceptional, also called being gifted and disabled, is linked to high stress and emotional pain. It’s frustrating living at a time in the world right now. A time painted in trauma and blood. Yet at a time people should be standing in unity and solidarity with the goal of physical, mental, emotional, and cultural protection for all people. Instead, people go as far as to destroy themselves so they can destroy others. Destroying traditions, languages, and knowledge so a piece of the world story is lost. If you are twice exceptional, it’s hard to slow your brain down. It’s constant overthinking. It’s having a memory that makes it nearly impossible to forget including all the sad, cruel, and painful things. Connection with other people is hard. They will keep trying to sort you into a category that makes sense to them because they cannot comprehend conflicting identities. It’s being smart enough to sign up for honors classes but being too afraid to because it will give you more anxiety. It is a fear of both success and failure at the same time. We glorify genius and giftedness but don’t often show the downside: People feel entitled to you, your effort, and your work. Yet disrespect your peers and community.  

Tracy Lee Allard

How Collective Trauma Has Made Gen Z 'Radical'

In America, the country whose PR campaign is all its benefits, young people grow up with many questions. If a few people can have trillions of dollars, why can’t everyone in our country have healthcare, education, food or housing? Gen Z is a generation that is the product of civil rights movements — the product of freedom but not full inclusion. Our generation is the bridge. I will use myself as a disabled woman as an example. I was born in 1998. Disabled people in the United States got their rights in 1990 when the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, meaning my generation is the first to mingle with our non-disabled peers with equal rights but not equal inclusion. As a result, I have stumbled through a lot of personal confusion. I think many in our generation have — with privilege or without. More specifically, I think the younger generation has stumbled with saying the same hurtful microaggressions or inherent bias or even just prejudiced things as children. However, many of us chose to educate ourselves for our peers and friends through effort and love. Gen Z refuses to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. For many, this makes us “radical.” In reality, it is a product of living in a world where everyone has the right and duty to speak up about what is hurtful. Gen Z is the generation where we choose to heal the pain our ancestors and family may have caused or been a victim of. We are tired of being taught a whitewashed history. We are tired of leadership, company boards, and governments not reflecting the people they represent. Especially when there is pushback if you point it out and suggest new people are brought in to speak to the unique roadblocks of systemic oppression. We are tired of silent generations who close their eyes to the pain of fellow human beings due to social constructs such as race or ability, just to name a few. We are tired of allowing people to close their eyes and cover their ears. We are tired of privilege existing. We should only have privilege to use it to dismantle privilege. Superiority is an ancient construct that we allow to delude us into spreading medical myths as facts, criminalizing each other, and continue teaching history that is more akin to propaganda. We have seen through firsthand accounts and the eyes of those brave enough to trust us the pain our systems have caused. We are saying no more. No more separatist hate. Gen Z is the internet generation. We have friends from all over the world. We can access news sources that are not just from our nation but world news. We live in a nation, but we also live in a world. Why be divided in a nation rather than united by kindness? We live in a world. Being divisive in separate nations doesn’t serve us. Even being divisive as nations is becoming arbitrary. As astronauts look to space to find planets with life, what happens if they find it? If we can’t be kind to people in our world, if we can’t be diplomatic and united as human beings, what hope do have of ever truly reaching out? Especially when billionaires speak of doing to other planets the same things that didn’t work and harmed our planet when done here. What right do we have to kill other planets when we have not been responsible or honorable with ours? Gen-Z is looking to our future. We are “radical” as we choose to build a better future rather than clutching with reddened fingers to a failed past. Gen-Z believes life on planet earth life as humans and life in general is more important than property or wealth. Gen-Z has lived through two recessions and many of us do not have wealth. (Some of us still have more wealth than others due to wealth privilege.) That is also why many in our generation support reparations. We need to pay back those whose families had been and are subjected to cruelty by our systems and our complicity, and still suffer at the hands of privatized prisons and implicit bias. The weight of privilege, the weight of microaggressions, the weight of silent eyes, the weight of exclusion, the weight of voter suppression, the weight of housing and job discrimination — these gaps in wealth and opportunity should not exist in a nation in which a man can own a trillion dollars. Gen-Z sees the hurt we have caused and our systems have caused as our responsibility to clean up. We need to acknowledge the sins of ourselves, our nation, our religious organizations, our companies and our kin, as that is the first step in an apology. Most complete step 1. However, they never go on to step 2. Which is asking what we can do to make things better and listening to each other. Listening to the hurt we’ve caused. Many of us do this on a small scale interpersonally. It is time we do this in regard to systems of government, religious organizations, and our communities. The last step is taking the appropriate action to restore justice. Hence proposals such as reparations, the Green New Deal, revisiting and honoring treaties, providing ample accommodations, teaching honest history etc. Three out of four youth feel our history education is biased and inadequate. Most people have to seek out the history of themselves and their ancestors’ relationships with American government on their own. As an autistic woman, I never learned about disabled people not being allowed in public due to “Ugly Laws.” Nor did I learn Buck vs. Bell was never overturned, so I could still be forcibly sterilized. American history is the history of anyone who lives in America, not just European settlers. For the truth to be told, many perspectives have to be shared, not just one. People from multiple cultures all need to be able to add what they feel is important and be compensated fairly for doing so. I believe in America not what it is but what it could be. I believe patriotism is the duty of a person to both country and world to seek out how to improve. To improve America to improve the world. George Takei has a quote that best sums this up: “I am dedicated to making my country an even better America, to making our government an even truer democracy.” –George Takei Gen-Z is “radical” because we believe we can be better. Of course, this isn’t all of Gen-Z — there are still the hateful who resist change. However, it is the hope of the young to be examples. We call out hate where we see it so that one day the hateful can choose to educate themselves on the struggles of those next to them. So that they too may be willing to embrace inclusion, love and anti-bias work. We act as examples of our own self-reflection and learning. We hope those who fear guilt or think we are “angry” may realize we only want to wipe up the blood spilled by previous generations’ acts of colonialism, racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, audism, ableism, faithism and genocide. We are choosing to read and study the harmful impacts of the old and current society, to promote better mental health and health outcomes, so that conflict can be resolved with empathy first and violence last. So war is a last resort. And so we fertilize the dying earth with a garden to build a future, rather than with bodies to bury our past.

Tracy Lee Allard

How Collective Trauma Has Made Gen Z 'Radical'

In America, the country whose PR campaign is all its benefits, young people grow up with many questions. If a few people can have trillions of dollars, why can’t everyone in our country have healthcare, education, food or housing? Gen Z is a generation that is the product of civil rights movements — the product of freedom but not full inclusion. Our generation is the bridge. I will use myself as a disabled woman as an example. I was born in 1998. Disabled people in the United States got their rights in 1990 when the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, meaning my generation is the first to mingle with our non-disabled peers with equal rights but not equal inclusion. As a result, I have stumbled through a lot of personal confusion. I think many in our generation have — with privilege or without. More specifically, I think the younger generation has stumbled with saying the same hurtful microaggressions or inherent bias or even just prejudiced things as children. However, many of us chose to educate ourselves for our peers and friends through effort and love. Gen Z refuses to repeat the mistakes of previous generations. For many, this makes us “radical.” In reality, it is a product of living in a world where everyone has the right and duty to speak up about what is hurtful. Gen Z is the generation where we choose to heal the pain our ancestors and family may have caused or been a victim of. We are tired of being taught a whitewashed history. We are tired of leadership, company boards, and governments not reflecting the people they represent. Especially when there is pushback if you point it out and suggest new people are brought in to speak to the unique roadblocks of systemic oppression. We are tired of silent generations who close their eyes to the pain of fellow human beings due to social constructs such as race or ability, just to name a few. We are tired of allowing people to close their eyes and cover their ears. We are tired of privilege existing. We should only have privilege to use it to dismantle privilege. Superiority is an ancient construct that we allow to delude us into spreading medical myths as facts, criminalizing each other, and continue teaching history that is more akin to propaganda. We have seen through firsthand accounts and the eyes of those brave enough to trust us the pain our systems have caused. We are saying no more. No more separatist hate. Gen Z is the internet generation. We have friends from all over the world. We can access news sources that are not just from our nation but world news. We live in a nation, but we also live in a world. Why be divided in a nation rather than united by kindness? We live in a world. Being divisive in separate nations doesn’t serve us. Even being divisive as nations is becoming arbitrary. As astronauts look to space to find planets with life, what happens if they find it? If we can’t be kind to people in our world, if we can’t be diplomatic and united as human beings, what hope do have of ever truly reaching out? Especially when billionaires speak of doing to other planets the same things that didn’t work and harmed our planet when done here. What right do we have to kill other planets when we have not been responsible or honorable with ours? Gen-Z is looking to our future. We are “radical” as we choose to build a better future rather than clutching with reddened fingers to a failed past. Gen-Z believes life on planet earth life as humans and life in general is more important than property or wealth. Gen-Z has lived through two recessions and many of us do not have wealth. (Some of us still have more wealth than others due to wealth privilege.) That is also why many in our generation support reparations. We need to pay back those whose families had been and are subjected to cruelty by our systems and our complicity, and still suffer at the hands of privatized prisons and implicit bias. The weight of privilege, the weight of microaggressions, the weight of silent eyes, the weight of exclusion, the weight of voter suppression, the weight of housing and job discrimination — these gaps in wealth and opportunity should not exist in a nation in which a man can own a trillion dollars. Gen-Z sees the hurt we have caused and our systems have caused as our responsibility to clean up. We need to acknowledge the sins of ourselves, our nation, our religious organizations, our companies and our kin, as that is the first step in an apology. Most complete step 1. However, they never go on to step 2. Which is asking what we can do to make things better and listening to each other. Listening to the hurt we’ve caused. Many of us do this on a small scale interpersonally. It is time we do this in regard to systems of government, religious organizations, and our communities. The last step is taking the appropriate action to restore justice. Hence proposals such as reparations, the Green New Deal, revisiting and honoring treaties, providing ample accommodations, teaching honest history etc. Three out of four youth feel our history education is biased and inadequate. Most people have to seek out the history of themselves and their ancestors’ relationships with American government on their own. As an autistic woman, I never learned about disabled people not being allowed in public due to “Ugly Laws.” Nor did I learn Buck vs. Bell was never overturned, so I could still be forcibly sterilized. American history is the history of anyone who lives in America, not just European settlers. For the truth to be told, many perspectives have to be shared, not just one. People from multiple cultures all need to be able to add what they feel is important and be compensated fairly for doing so. I believe in America not what it is but what it could be. I believe patriotism is the duty of a person to both country and world to seek out how to improve. To improve America to improve the world. George Takei has a quote that best sums this up: “I am dedicated to making my country an even better America, to making our government an even truer democracy.” –George Takei Gen-Z is “radical” because we believe we can be better. Of course, this isn’t all of Gen-Z — there are still the hateful who resist change. However, it is the hope of the young to be examples. We call out hate where we see it so that one day the hateful can choose to educate themselves on the struggles of those next to them. So that they too may be willing to embrace inclusion, love and anti-bias work. We act as examples of our own self-reflection and learning. We hope those who fear guilt or think we are “angry” may realize we only want to wipe up the blood spilled by previous generations’ acts of colonialism, racism, homophobia, sexism, ageism, audism, ableism, faithism and genocide. We are choosing to read and study the harmful impacts of the old and current society, to promote better mental health and health outcomes, so that conflict can be resolved with empathy first and violence last. So war is a last resort. And so we fertilize the dying earth with a garden to build a future, rather than with bodies to bury our past.

Community Voices

People in/were in college: anyone ever take less credits than the full load norm due to your mental health?

Its my first year of college so that happening w COVID19 has been difficult. Also, I am autistic and as the result I have a hard time keeping track of many things at once. Because of these things, my advisor recommended I take 12 credits instead of the usual 16. I still feel self conscious about it even though I know it’s probably the best choice. Anyone relate? I appreciate the feedback #Autism #MentalHealth #ADHD #Anxiety #ObsessiveCompulsiveDisorder #Depression

20 people are talking about this
Community Voices

ASD in females

<p><a href="https://themighty.com/topic/autism/?label=ASD" class="tm-embed-link  tm-autolink health-map" data-id="5b23ce6200553f33fe98da7f" data-name="ASD" title="ASD" target="_blank">ASD</a> in females</p>
6 people are talking about this
Community Voices

ASD in females

<p><a href="https://themighty.com/topic/autism/?label=ASD" class="tm-embed-link  tm-autolink health-map" data-id="5b23ce6200553f33fe98da7f" data-name="ASD" title="ASD" target="_blank">ASD</a> in females</p>
6 people are talking about this
Community Voices

Our self-love/identity cannot entail superiority #Love

"It takes a lot to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still too love it." -Oscar Wilde

Too often, attacking others morals or intelligence is considered an acceptable response to a worldview different from ours. Regarding Trump supporters with a blanket disgust for example. Or having hatred for all women, as I frequently encountered on 7cups as a listener.

Or, we encapsulate what we like about our identity with a sense of superiority. "People in this city are so toxic. I hate dumb people." (As though you are exempt from ever being toxic or "dumb.")

I have even heard it said, "I could never work with people with mental illness; like, just handle your own problems on your own!"

I won't be complicit in looking down on others.

When I give into hatred or superiority I feel I have given into fear. Better would be to reserve the ability to confront and interface with what I dislike. If they can sense my disgust, I have already lost the chance to offer them an alternative perspective.

6 people are talking about this
Tracy Lee Allard

Applying a Disability Accessibility Lens to Fashion

I think most people’s introduction to fashion in beauty standards tends to be the dolls we looked at as children. Dolls have historically not reflected the true beauty of empowerment and individuality. What is beauty and how have we strayed from it? Traditionally, beauty was often supposed to be representative of authenticity. Original artists in cultures around the world often created statues where you can see visible body rolls, stretch marks and cellulite. Artists from the Renaissance period of history would try to use art to capture authentic likenesses and feelings of the people around them, sometimes even receiving backlash from those that commissioned them for being “too accurate.” We often code truth and authenticity with realism in the subject of art. The change in our beauty standards from truth and realism to harmful misrepresentation of weight, skin tone, ability, scars, physical features, age, and gender norms come from displays of wealth in art. However, most people didn’t and still don’t have access to wealth. According to Google Arts and Culture,  “It is not difficult to find displays of wealth in art, since art has aesthetic value only, it was not normally afforded by the poor. Wealthy or powerful people patroned the arts, and in turn the subjects within the art were often wealthy.” So how does wealth affect modern fashion and body standards? Well according to the Atlantic article Fashion’s Racism and Classism Are Finally Out of Style by Amanda Mull, if we changed the fashion industry, “It would be a world in which you don’t need generational wealth to get your ideas heard. It would be a world in which European fashion conglomerates no longer have a stranglehold on the goods or images the industry creates, or on the revenue it generates. It would be a world in which more people share power, and in which that power isn’t tied to the hoarding of wealth and resources.” So let’s apply the hoarding of power, wealth and resources to a disabled worldview. For disabled people to be truly accommodated in beauty standards, I believe a few things would have to happen. 1. A shift from the love of wealth to love and empowerment of self. What does this mean? This means promoting and highlighting what is unique about us as people as a positive thing. Our bodies are not made to be vessels of sexualization and oppression. They are meant to house our organs, give us energy, protect us from cancer-causing sunlight, and be biological houses for us to live in. We need to celebrate things about us that are us, including finding unique ways to really celebrate the diversity of our bodies. Including making more adaptive clothing for people with Down syndrome and autism.  Sometimes celebrating our bodies means understanding that disabled bodies can come with unique needs, and that is OK. 2. Understanding creative ways to work with what we have. Disabled fashion needs to accommodate and promote self-love for all skin tones, genders and weights, as all kinds of disabled people are beautiful! Disabled fashion culture is often created by disabled people and their families themselves rather than large corporations. This means that the disabled fashion industry can uniquely promote disabled designers as bosses and workers in their own small businesses, which in turn promotes whole community accessibility. 3. Thinking about the messages we are sending. Industry leaders need to start looking towards respecting cultural boundaries and away from cultural appropriation in fashion. This includes promoting multicultural positive imagery so children can grow up seeing themselves and each other as beautiful, and grow into adults who respect each other, encourage people from varying perspectives to collaborate and lead, and understand their own self-worth. Promoting positivity in media, fashion, and the world as a whole has never been more crucial, especially as our world youth are imploring us to be more inclusive cross-culturally and provide accessibility. Thank you for reading and hopefully thinking about how we can work on respectful fashion and beauty standards.

Community Voices