I had to reflect a bit on the diversity conference I attended this past Thursday. One was for LGBT and the other was for Autism. I can’t say I took anything away from either one of them that was mind titillating but it was a change of pace.
Let’s begin with LGBT. It was sort of scattered and I wasn’t sure where the meeting was going. There were four speakers on the panel and one person asking questions of each individual. Each speaker had a specialty in the LGBT arena. I do think that opinions and thoughts of this topic were relevant but it was just informative and I left without feeling any differently than I did before. However they did hand out a sheet of paper of terms to know. I did have this thought of “here’s something else I have to learn in our culture” because I honestly had never heard of a few of them like:
gender fluid. I would define it but I’m not sure how to and I don’t want to quote it from a dictionary. I would rather express it in my own words because it would truly reflect that I understand the phrase.
Now onto the Autism conference. I wasn’t surprised at the basics that I learned. The were two speakers who specialized in the education arena. One was certified in elementary and special education. First it was a Powerpoint Presentation which made it easier for a visual learner like myself. The whole idea was that with Autism as prevalent in society as it is now there is an increased advocacy for programs that are to help current and future college students adapt and thrive in college society. What I felt was crucially important was that there was a short autobiography written by a person diagnosed with Autism. I was so happy to hear that this person was able to receive an education and is currently involved with social activities. The biggest realization for me was that despite this person having something that was damaging for them they somehow beat the odds. I always hope the underdog wins and he did in this instance. I have a family member with Autism and I hope that society does learn to be more effective in helping those with Autism be a part of society. The biggest lesson I got from this person was to encourage those with Autism the same way you would encourage any other child. They’re a child first.
I always considered myself progressive and hippie like. I guess that’s as political as I get. When I was a child being gay, in every sense of the word, was taboo. “Keep it to yourself,” was the common attitude. I never adopted that mentality. I always thought that when it comes to controversial issues like this one it’s more about one group thinking their “rights” are more important than others’ rights. In a country that claims to embrace society we have a long history of seeming intolerance. The same goes for Autism. When I was a child there were the normal kids and there was the “retarded” kid. I apologize if anyone has a problem with that word but it was the reality. This has definitely changed. There seems to a slow but current change but we’ll see how far it goes. In this PC culture we have a tendency to take it to far and create other problems but, despite my nihilism, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.