Sometimes, I almost wish it were true that people on the spectrum lacked empathy. Because right now, I feel sick from it.
There’s nothing physically wrong with me, but the ill will and discrimination unleashed by my country’s postal survey on marriage equality is seeping into me, like a frog absorbing pollution through its skin. It’s not even directed at me, I’m straight, but still it pools inside my chest like cold sludge.
For the first time in six years I feel the dark tendrils of depression crawling, probing, searching for cracks in my mind to grip into. It’s a feeling I thought I’d left behind forever.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like for those whose right to treated equally under the law is on the line; some of them are my friends, my family, my colleagues, even the teens on the spectrum that I mentor at work. I see them suffering, and I want so desperately to help, but I feel so powerless in the face of the endless horde of strangers queuing up to tell them they are inferior, they are defective, they don’t deserve to be treated equally.
I won’t tell you what to do, or what to believe, but if you’re an Aussie reading this, I would beg you not to act in anger or fear against those who are already suffering enough. Because I see the results; rising rates of self-harm, depression, and suicide in our youth.