I don’t believe in the ableist, classist hierarchy that treats autistic people as “legitimately autistic” only if they have an on-paper diagnosis while other autistic people are treated dubiously and with suspicion if they self-identify without (obtaining) an on-paper diagnosis. That hierarchy privileges the medical/psychiatric-industrial complex as the sole arbiter of autistic identity and experience. (In other words, only considering someone to be a “real” autistic person if they have a paper diagnosis means that you believe that only medical/psychiatric professionals can define who counts as autistic.) That hierarchy also privileges those who have class privilege, especially compounded by other forms of privilege. Class-privileged white people, for example, are more likely to have the resources necessary to access a paper diagnosis, than lower-income people and people of color, and especially low-income people of color.
Others have written extensively on the issue of privileging paper diagnoses and marginalizing self-identified people, most famously in the letter “Who Can Call Themselves Autistic?” penned more than ten years ago by some of the greats in the autistic movement. I won’t linger long on that topic of conversation.
Read the rest here: Autistic Hoya: Hello, internalized ableism