I’m Pete Carr. I'm a photographer and this isn't a photography newsletter. This is a form of "Rubber Duck Debugging". Writing helps me process thoughts and work through problems. So I write to my computer about issues relating to mental health and being autistic. I then share it with you fine folk. There's nice photos too. 🖖
As I write this it should have been Liverpool Pride. It would have been wonderful. Next year. Next year will be incredible. The photos this week are from Pride 2015 when it rained so much my camera broke. But before it did I had an incredible hour dancing around the scores of people laughing defiantly in the rain. It was amazing.
I sat down this morning to start working on the newsletter but my brain wanted a distraction so I command-tabbed to Safari and went surfing. I'm glad I did because I discovered that Gonzo is non-binary. They came out this week. FYI Gonzo is a Muppet.
It's occupied my brain all day. This is a kids show. The show, the writers, are telling kids its ok to be yourself. I was moved to tears by the power of this short clip and it's all I've thought about today. It's hope in a world that feels hopeless some days.
"You all expected me to look a certain way. I don't want you to be upset with me but I don't want to do things just because that's the way they've always been done either. I want to be ME."
As an autistic person I question so many things. "But why?" Traditions. Identity. Religion. Information. I question. Be curious not judgemental. I questioned my Catholic upbringing because it logically made no sense. Thankfully my parents were open to my ideas and let me explore them instead of forcing me to go to church. Just because it was the way doesn't mean it should be the way. So I question. I learn. I expand my horizons.
Gonzo did the same. They questioned. They didn't accept the way things were just because that was the way. That questioning led them to be a happier version of themselves. They were brave and challenged their friends perception of themselves. Thankfully their friends were apologetic for making Gonzo feel sad and also cool with them for being who they are. I am fortunate that being publicly open about being autistic has been a wonderful experience for me. My neighbours, friends, and family have all been as cool as Muppet Babies about it.
But it is an invisible disability. I can blend in. How would they react if I started re-pointing the front wall in a miniskirt? I have no real desire to do so but I have had looks from people when I wear my towel robe after swimming. It's like a very long hoodie made out of a towel. You get out the water and throw it on to dry off and change in. It makes perfect sense but of course when I cycle along the prom or sit outside a cafe having a post swim mocha it looks like a hoodie dress thing. I get looks. No questions just looks. If someone had an issue with me wearing a dress I could explain and I hope they would understand its purpose. Gonzo however has no explanation other than "I want to wear a dress because I like it." They can't hide like I can and society doesn't quite accept someone wearing something not made for their gender. It should not be a problem. Logically the person should respond with "Oh ok. You have a good day then." However there have been multiple attacks on trans people locally so I can't imagine things would go that way.
Gonzo just wants to be accepted. This is what I fight for being autistic. I have an invisible disability. People see what they want to see through perception filters and unconscious personal bias. The me in their head isn't the me in mine so I have to educate and inform. The autistic community have rebranded Autism Awareness Day to Autism Acceptance Day for this reason. People are aware of autism now please accept us for who we are. Don't cure us. Accept us. Let us educate you on who we are rather than you forcing your ideas of who we should be on us.
I absolutely loved seeing this clip. Representation matters. People need to see themselves in the media. I hope it has the same effect on kids as it did on me. I hope people struggling can come to terms with who they are and be supported by those around them.
You be you. 🖤💜🤍💛
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“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll be back. Feel free to subscribe or send to a friend.
I'm streaming photography in various forms on Twitch.tv/petecarr. Stream schedule is Tues/Wed/Fri at 7:30PM GMT and Monday at 2PM GMT. Photography focused but accessible. Friday is a look at art events I've photographed. You can also ask me about autism and there's cat cam too.