Mpepper/ November 30, 2023/ Uncategorized

I was filling out a form that asked about diversity, and… It felt like the form was asking me to out myself in some way(s). Which isn’t cool. I live a really heteronormative life on the outside, and I don’t think I should be required to talk about private things in order to tick a box. I write diverse books… sometimes, anyway… but…

Then my husband pointed out that I’m autistic, and neuroDIVERSITY is kind of a thing? It hadn’t even occurred to me. Being who I am is so “normal” to me that I don’t often think of myself as diverse in that way. But I guess I am. (I have a whole video about it here.)

So I guess I coulda, shoulda mentioned that in the form. But it still feels a bit like tokenism. My diversity is “invisible.” I pass for, well, a lot of things I’m not. Which means my experiences are mostly typical, at least from the outside. The internal discordance is another story.

Maybe it’s an issue that stems from my generation (that known as X). The “whatever” generation. The don’t-make-a-big-deal-out-of-anything generation. We only wanted to stand out on our own terms, and we kept more things hidden than we chose to project. If we’d had social media, though, I think we’d have made other choices. We’d have been loud and proud and all that. Or maybe I just like to believe that.

Really, though, I’m glad we grew up before being on display was common. We were skulkers. My kids still tell me I walk too quietly, which they find unnerving. But that was a key component to growing up Gen X: Sneak in, sneak out, sneak past.

Which may be why I find it an affront to have people demand I show my diversity. Prove my place, as if I need to earn it somehow by being x, y, and/or z. I’m a lot of things, not all of them visible or public. I don’t tick boxes or explain my entire self on online forms. And I’m not sorry for that, nor should I need to be.

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