The New Sesame Street Julia Doll: An Autistic Review

Kris Guin Update August 6, 2019: The author no longer supports Sesame Street’s “See Amazing” project because of their promotion of Autism Speaks. Please also note the following insights from Cal Montgomery: If you have a Julia doll, be gentle with her. She is just now learning that Big Bird thinks the world would be a better place if she weren’t in it. It is an ugly shock whenever you find out the people you love feel that way. And a lot of people love Big Bird. — Cal Montgomery (@Cal__Montgomery) August 6, 2019 The new Julia toy! Photo courtesy Kris Guin [image: Stuffed “Julia” doll with orange hair, green eyes, yellow skin, big happy mouth, pink dress, green pants, and black shoes.] Sesame Street is a staple in children’s television, and has used its platform to educate children about topics that need to be talked about and that children…


Being Homeless Is Even More Complicated When You’re Autistic and LGBT

World Homeless Day in San Francisco’s Castro District Photo © Steve Rhodes [image: Black banner with white lettering reading, “Make Yourself At Home” draped from a second-story window, next to a LGBT Pride flag.] Kris Guin Homelessness is not discussed as much as it needs to be, especially as it relates to marginalized groups like the LGBTQ and disability communities. LGBTQ people and people with disabilities are disproportionately impacted by homelessness. 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and 40% of people with disabilities are homeless. LGBTQ people and people with disabilities often become homeless because of skyrocketing rent, unsupportive families who have kicked them out of the family home, and discrimination from landlords—among many other reasons. Some cities are getting better at addressing LGBTQ youth homelessness by funding LGBTQ housing programs, and some people with disabilities may qualify for housing assistance through Housing and Urban Development. However, with…


Why “School Choice” Is Problematic For Students With Disabilities

Kris Guin Photo © World Bank, Creative Commons License [image: Students of different backgrounds and abilities, reading books.] During the questioning phase of Betsy DeVos’s Senate confirmation process for U.S. Secretary of Education, DeVos, a “school choice” advocate, demonstrated a lack of knowledge about, and a lack of commitment to, enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) — the law that requires schools to provide a free, appropriate education for students with disabilities. DeVos’s ignorance about IDEA has caused many individuals with disabilities and their families to become very concerned about their or their family member’s access to public education, and understandably and rightfully so. Individuals with disabilities and their families rely on robust implementation of laws like IDEA for equal educational opportunities. Stemming from this concern are calls from some to pull children with disabilities out of public education, and then homeschool them. I, and many other…


The Faith Community and Social Justice: How to Prioritize Disability, Low Income, and LGBT Needs

Kris Guin Source: Mel Green/Flickr [image: Church wall hanging: rectangular quilt reading “Welcome” in blue letters, surrounded by red hearts in white diamonds, on a swirly rainbow background.] I think that communities and people of faith should make social justice work a priority. Not only do I think that people of faith have a moral imperative to make the world a better place, but I think it’s good for the faith community. I don’t know how non-Christian faith communities are, but I think the Church and church* are inaccessible to many folks. Dressing up in nice clothes is a social standard in many churches because of the belief that you need to “dress up for God.” This prevents many people from being able to go to church on Sundays because some people might not be able to afford nice clothes, or some people might have sensory issues with nice…


Under the Rainbow and On the Spectrum

TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s entry is a poem by Queerability founder Kris Guin, about embracing acceptance, the spectrums of intersectionality, and rejecting shame. [image: The international disability symbol, in white, on a rainbow-striped background.] Kris Guin Back and forth Back and forth Back and forth Back and forth Male and female Male and female Male and female Male and female One end of the spectrum To another Culture is made up of Stimming Stimming And Pride Pride in Gender Sexuality And disability Acronym LGBTQ Add D For Disability All parts of me Included Accepted Respected No fear No shame No hiding Safe Intersectionality Embrace it Honor it Celebrate it We are Here Queer And disabled