11 Mar 2020

The color of autism is gold

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5 mins

We’re in March. Next month is autism month and in the Netherlands autism week. Different things are organized for this. Many organizations try to bring autism to the attention of the public. Part of this are the different symbols and colors that are used. Many see the well-known puzzle pieces and the color blue as the color that stands for autism.

Why is the colour of autism gold?

The chemical symbol for gold is Au. This symbol has been picked up by the neurodiversity movement on the internet and baptized to the “Autistic Union”. Abbreviated to Âû. With this also the color gold was adopted as the basic color for autism.

People on Twitter and other social media started including the letters Âû in their name to let others know that they are part of this union. With this they try to indicate that they are open to talk about autism and are willing to answer questions that people have.

What’s wrong with blue?

I wrote earlier about the problem with blue, but I’ll summarize it. The color blue was invented by an organization called “Autism Speaks” from America. One of the goals of this organization is to find a medicine for autism. They see autism as a disease that must be eradicated. They also express the conviction that autism is mainly a male disease and does not occur among women. With increasing reluctance they have to admit that it also occurs among women, but they claim that it is a male disease after all.

So the color blue is an invention of this organization. This color was soon adopted by other organizations. For example, the logo of the NVA is blue. I’m not saying they should change their logo now, but it is a source of irritation to opponents of Autism Speaks.

Why should we care about America?

Well, not at all, no. We shouldn’t care that some organisation in America has come up with something or what the reasoning is behind it. But the world is not bounded by borders on the Internet. If we as autistic people unite in groups like the Autistic Union, we do that not only in the Netherlands, but internationally.

And then we also have to be aware of the symbols we use. Nowadays in many places it is forbidden to use certain images, purely for historical reasons. Because the symbol has been used in the past for a terrible message, for example. Because we are aware of what the symbol stands for, we as a society have decided to stop using the symbol.

Now that we know where the color blue comes from and what the organization that determined the color stands for, you can imagine why an alternative color has been searched for.

April 2, 2020 #OurGoldenMoment

Neurodiversity. In recent years there have been international calls to do more with the color gold in the autism month. On Twitter there are hashtags like #LightItUpGold, #RedInstead and #OurGoldenMoment.

The latter is an initiative of several neurodiverse sites such as NeuroClastic, Neurodivergent Rebel and The Autistic Wolf (see all partners here). The aim of the campaign is to bring back the Autism Awareness Day by autistic people all over the world. It is an international coming-out day for autistic people around the world.

The battle is no longer about awareness of autism, but for the acceptance of autism and neurodiversity. We will enter April with an opportunity to take people beyond awareness and strive for acceptance.

With the hashtag #OurGoldenMoment we want to write about our neurodiversity. On 2 April, we call on everyone to use social media to write about their neurodiversity with this hashtag. Maybe even for the first time. During this day we can show who we are. People can count on extra support from the community against the prejudices that people have. By using the hashtag #OGMassist on Twitter you can ask for help with possible harassment. Neurodiverse people, autistic people and supporters will then come to your rescue and defend you if necessary.

It seems to me a special initiative and an opportunity for people to talk about their autism. It gives a chance to people who are afraid, for whatever reason, to let the world know that they are autistic.

Share your Golden Moment on April 2nd!

I think it would be great to show everyone his or her beautiful side of autism on the different social media platforms. Such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If we do this en masse with the hashtag #OurGoldenMoment and show people how autism can also be. Different from what is written about us in the textbooks. You know, the textbooks written by neurotypical people, people who didn’t experience autism firsthand. This is not an attack on them, but a moment to show us.

I’ll think about what I can show on April 2nd. Maybe I’ll make a video about my journey to where I am now, or maybe I’ll think of something else. It will be a surprise I think :wink:

But I would love to see what your Golden Moment is. What is your beautiful side? What really makes you you? I think it would be great to see all of Facebook, Twitter and so on on April 2nd with your creations, photos, videos, music and so on with the hashtag #OurGoldenMoment!

And if there are any nasty comments that day (on Twitter, Facebook does not offer the same feature) use the hashtag #OGMassist to let others know. With this we want to create a safe place for everyone as a community to share his/her story.

Thanks for reading
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Tags: autisme OurGoldenMoment RedInstead neurodiversiteit 
Picture of the author David Westerink
David Westerink
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I am David, born in 1984 and I'm autistic. I write blog posts and advocate for autism acceptance. I'm willing to talk to anyone about anything.

I have my own podcast (in Dutch) about autism and neurodiversity! Checkout the AutCast!

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