“Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”– Mother Jones
As organizations long led by many queer and trans autistic people, the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and the Autistic People of Color Fund teams are grieving the loss of five community members and allies and injuries to 25 others in this weekend’s shooting targeting Club Q in Colorado Springs. We have witnessed years of escalating hateful rhetoric and legislative attacks on the rights of queer and trans people. That kind of hate enables and encourages exactly this type of violence. We are in deep mourning for the lives violently taken at the same time as our observance of Trans Day of Remembrance.
We share in the rage of our community members that far-right bigots keep targeting our communities for violence, stoking fears based on dehumanizing stereotypes and prejudice, and attacking and harassing community spaces meant to serve as safe havens. Our community members have witnessed and survived the mass shooting at Florida’s Pulse Nightclub, bomb threats to children’s hospitals, neo-Nazis organizing hateful rallies at libraries and cafes, and intensified policing and criminalization of trans youth and supportive family members. These attacks on our communities are not isolated incidents. They are part of a coordinated plan.
Our work will continue. When bigots try to weaponize ableism against queer and trans people, we will fight them. We are a community of survivors and freedom fighters. AWN and the Fund will keep building safer community spaces for queer and trans autistic and other disabled people, and we will keep fighting for gender justice, trans liberation, and racial justice. Our children and many generations to come deserve so much better than what they are offered now. Through our work to address gender disparities in autism research and assessment, advocate for trans justice in federal policy, and support emerging projects led by disabled queer and trans people and disabled people of color, AWN and the Fund are in the struggle for the long haul.
As we strengthen our commitment to social justice for all, we thank our community members for keeping each other safe, and ask for continued vigilance and commitment to solidarity in the struggles ahead of us.