Julia Bascom is an autistic adult, writer, and the creator and project organizer of The Loud Hands Project. The Loud Hands Project is a new transmedia project of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people, drawing on the principles of the cross-disability community to organize the Autistic community and advance our voices in the national conversation about autism.
I want to tell you about The Loud Hands Project. Have you heard about us yet? We’re currently undertaking a very successful indiegogo fundraising campaign ($3,000 in our first day, halfway to our goal after just four days, currently at 70% after less than two weeks with more than 100 donors!) for the creation of our website and our first anthology: Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking, which contains essays and other submissions by Autistic authors about human diversity, neurodiversity, and resilience. The Loud Hands Project gets its name from the phrase “talk with your hands,” which is something that a lot of Autistic people do. An Autistic person told to have quiet hands is being told to shut up. For many of us, this is standard treatment. Having “loud hands” means resisting. It means speaking, however we do, anyway–and doing so in a way that can be very obviously Autistic. It means finding ways to talk and think about ourselves on our terms.
The Loud Hands Project is a start in that direction. It starts with the basic, foundational idea that there is nothing wrong with us. We are fine. We are complete, complex, human beings leading rich and meaningful existences and deserving dignity, respect, human rights, and the primary voice in the conversation about us. We can have loud hands. In a sentence, The Loud Hands Project is a structured, creative way to record, nurture, and amplify the many different identities, voices, and ways of speaking and knowing that the Autistic community has. As a project, The Loud Hands Project is fundamentally working on larger cultural change, as opposed to specific policy reforms–though we hope to effect change by changing the national conversation about autism, developmental disability, and neurodiversity as a whole. Therefore, The Loud Hands Project’s various components are all united by a dedication to curating, building, and supporting Autistic community and culture. Our purpose is to amplify and empower Autistic voices.
We’re a transmedia project, which means we use multiple forms of content–written words, videos, and more. We’re inherently community-directed and submissions-driven, and we strive to represent the incredible diversity of the Autistic community in all our future publications. We have numerous pieces in development–a youth-organizing component, an archive for our community’s historical documents, the development of materials for newly-diagnosed people of all ages and abilities to welcome them into our community, specific responses campaigns to instances of bullying and abuse, an overarching commitment to undoing the cultural processes and ghettoization that make autistic people strangers to ourselves and spectators in our own stories–but we are not, at our core, reactionaries. Autistic people exist in an unsafe and actively abusive world, but we’re more than what happens to us. The Loud Hands Project is a way to celebrate and share our richness. Please check us out and consider lending us your support.
Visit The Loud Hands Project on the Web.