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Autism and the labor market: experiences, challenges and oppressions



Title: Autism and the labor market: experiences, challenges and oppressions

Release date: 1/17/2022

Co-creation: Annebelle Leblanc e Ricardo Oliveira

City/State: Campo Grande/MS and São Paulo/SP



[intro music]


Olga Aureliano: "Autism and the job market: experiences, challenges and oppressions" is today's episode of Defiças Portraits, the channel of the project Portraits of Brazil with Disabilities produced by co-creative duos from all over the country. In this episode, Ricardo Augusto and Annebelle Arco-Iris discuss the intersectionality of autism, the job market, and the trans agenda. So, shall we go?


[intro music]



Annebelle: Hello everyone, my name is Annebelle Leblanc. I am a singing teacher, I am a music theory teacher, I am a guitar teacher, I am an English teacher, I am a German teacher, I am a composer, a music producer, a sound designer, a sound mixer and a poet in my spare time. I am an activist and member of ABRAÇA. I am autistic person, dyslexic and borderline. I am 29 years old and I am a trans woman.


Ricardo: Hello, my name is Ricardo. I am an autistic person, an activist, a member of the Brazilian Association for Action on Autistic People's Rights, which is ABRAÇA. I am graduated in Social Communication through the Superior School of Administration, Marketing and Communication, which is ESAMC, proudly; I have a specialization in Social Media and Networks by Anhembi Morumbi University and I am currently a student with a specialization Human Rights in Latin America, by UNILA, which is the Federal University of Latin American Integration. I am also part of the research group Traduzir-se, which deals with issues related to autism and neurodiversity, from a transdisciplinary perspective, right? It is a research group at the Federal University of Jequitinhonha Valley, in Mucuri; and I also have a YouTube channel, I produce content, mainly on YouTube, focused on autism and politics called Autismo Pensante [Thinking Autism]. I am 29 years old and live in São Paulo, but I was born in Santos, on the coast of São Paulo.



Annebelle: In relation to the job market. In relation to the job market, as a PWD [Person With Disability] person, besides the issue, as I said, right? Of being autistic, dyslexic and borderline, I went through some small situations, so, I have post-traumatic stress disorder, I spent a very rare case of 21 years depersonalized, so I have depersonalization disorder. In this case, I don't experience depersonalization anymore, but I had 21 years of uninterrupted depersonalization. And then, if you have seen that movie "Suddenly 30", I think the best way for me to explain my life is to say "Suddenly 30 was never so real", you know? So that's basically it, you know? That's the best way I can explain it. So, in relation to the job market, it is already difficult to include autistic people in the job market, now imagine including autistic people who have gone through some issues, like depersonalization, for example, right? Depression issues, among other issues. At the end of the day, we pass through something… something magical… I apologize to autistic people, because I am very sarcastic, I am very ironic, so this is borderline, so when I say "magic" I am being extremely sarcastic. So, a “magical” thing, a “fantastical” thing, again sarcasm, called capitalism. So, capitalism is something that, capitalism doesn't care about you, capitalism doesn't care, it doesn't give a shit about you and it's like, "Oh, you're PWD? I don't care, I didn't even know you existed, you don't make money, you know? Die!". That's it, why? Because capitalism only cares about people in a little box, in a dam box, in a perfect box that doesn't exist, you know? So, for you to fit into capitalism, what do you have to be? You need to be a thin person, you need to be a person without a disability, you need to be a cis person, you need to be a white person, you need to be a person who is mentally healthy, and like, damn, mentally healthy in capitalism, good luck with that, okay? Mentally healthy, you need to… ahhh….be a good citizen, of good customs/manners, you know? Right-wing. So, you need to be literally a standard, an ideal model that only exists in the Bolsonarist idea, you know? Like, I really can't believe that this perfect citizen exists, you know? Like, I really can't believe it. Not even the bourgeoisie itself is a perfect citizen, you know? Like, as much as like, the bourgeoisie itself must have depression, the bourgeoisie itself must have trauma, you know? Even in the bourgeoisie itself I don't believe there is a perfect citizen, because people, you know? People with people generate traumas, so it's impossible. But anyway, coming back to the point, so when I saw this situation, the first thing I saw was "I need a job"; and then, why, right? Because I was in the body of a 26 year old, turning 27 and so, I need a job. And then I was hunting for jobs, and the first thing they told me about was a site called Catho, and this site was free, it was a job site that showed work vacancies, and I put my name on this site, several sites of this type, you know? And then I always put there "person with disability" and I was never called. At the time I presented myself as a cis person, just for the record, I didn't know I was trans at the time, I found out I was trans a few months later. And then, I wasn't called for any, any interview. When I found out I was trans, I decided to put in "non-disabled person" and THEN it finally happened!! The magic! of me starting to be called for interviews, look how curious, look how “fantastic”, and again, I am being sarcastic. So, you know, why? Because capitalism doesn't want you to have a job when you are PWD. When you are PWD, and I apologize depending on what age group you are listening to, when you are PWD capitalism wants you to fuck off! THIS is the truth! Capitalism wants you to fuck off. And then I got a job, right? At the lowest existing level, which was at a call center, you know? But it was a job, and it was my first job. For little Anne it was fantastic, it was wonderful, but obviously, you know? I went to the interview, I did the interview, I got the job, and then when I got the job, I said: "Look, people, I am autistic. Ah!!! Revelations!! you know? And then, right, we don't have the issue of... And then the justifications started, they said that they had the inclusion issue and everything else, but I got the job exactly because this company, this multinational that I cannot say the name, but this multinational did not have an issue of PWD positions in the sense of, how can I explain this? They did not differentiate between PWDs and non-PWDs, that was it, but by law they have to have PWD positions [referring to employment quotas], so they had PWD positions, but they did not offer them, so to speak, why? Capitalism, capitalism wants you to get fucked. And then, right? After I got the position I said: "Look, I am autistic! Aaaahhhh, little surprise! And then, after I got it, in the first week of the test, I told them: "Look, I am trans. Ahhhhhh, double surprise! Then I spent a month there, then two months, then the third month, right? Which is the months of experience, literally on the day of hiring they fired me, ok? Why did they fire me?


Ricardo: Why is that, right?


Annebelle: Why is that!? And then I kept asking myself this question for months, okay? Just for the record. But I didn't know why and, like this, I used the arguments: "- No, no, there is a PWD position"; and they said: "- Unfortunately the PWD position is full in relation to the quotas. Detail, I had already gotten the PWD report for the company, the company itself provided me with the PWD report. Like this, I had managed to get it, I had managed to get everything, everything related to this, you know? I had managed to get everything. Then, at this time, I need to give you a historical context, why? Because I was hired at the end of 2019 and then, right? 2019 went by, January 2020, February 2020, March 2020, and then 2020, if you don't remember, I need to remind all of you who are listening to this, something “incredible” happened in the world - again, sarcasm and irony - something “incredible” in the world called the pandemic, coronavirus. And then this “wonderful thing” - again, irony - called coronavirus, you know? It made me go immediately, and then today I know exactly why it made me go immediately, into something called quarantine, I was the first person from the call center to go into quarantine and the first person to go into home office.


Ricardo: I can imagine why, right?


Annebelle: Yeah, so, why is that, you know? You know what's the funniest thing? Like this, a week before, like, I lie, not a week, a few weeks before I had told the company, I said it publicly because, like this, only the HR lady knew that I was trans, only the HR lady knew that I was non-binary, it came to a point that I said: "I can't take it anymore, enough! And then, I said: "- I am a trans woman. And then, I started to demand that I be called by my name, right? I usually prefer to be called by Anne. And then I talked to the HR girl and then she called my boss, sat down to talk, you know? And then, like this, everyone in relation to my work, you know? Like, they had to call me by my name and by my feminine pronouns. That's it, I got tired of it. Because I had made up my mind about it, I had made up my mind that I was going to start wearing women's clothes, and then, like, in the week of the pandemic, literally in the week of the pandemic, I had made up my mind: "Finally, I'm going to buy women's clothes, I'm going to get my ears pierced, I'm going to start the transition itself, my transition to the world in a social way about it. That was it. And then, it was the same week that the pandemic broke out, it was the same week that, like, the world ended, apocalypse, and it was the same week that I was the first to be sent to the home office. First. Why is that? Why is that? Huh? And then I was fired and that day I said: "No, no, I have this here, calm down people, you know? I have the PWD position. And they said: "Unfortunately the quota is full. Aaaahhhh, and then I got desperate, I was fired, you know? They paid me everything right, nice and proper. And then, when I was fired, the first thing I did was, like, gather all the possible evidence, because, like, everything possible, because I thought: "No, I have to do something about this. But I didn't think it was transphobia at the time, but months later I realized 'oops, it is transphobia'. And then I got great lawyers, love-of-my-life lawyers, you know? I am exaggerating a lot, you know? It is hyperbole, but like this, my lawyers who helped me and like, my God, if it wasn't for them. So, I sued this company and I won this year, why? I won because of transphobia and ableism. So, suck-it capitalism, suck-it the world, you know? Suck-it this damned multinational from hell. I won by myself practically, you know? They contributed a wonderful piece to this, but they said: "The chance of you winning is minimal", and I did it, and I didn't even get into the lawsuit, like, it was in the initial phase of the lawsuit, why? Because they didn't want to hire me back and I told them: "Look, I'll give up this clause here if you pay me that much", and they said, "Okay, we'll pay you". Because the clause was that they would hire me back, and they preferred to give up the clause and pay me, rather than follow through with the process, because they didn't want to hire me back. I didn't want to either, okay? Because, like, I only put that crap on because at the time I didn't know how my life was going to be, I was unemployed for months, I was, like, in a disgraceful situation, you know? Because being an autistic trans person in this world is not easy, you know? Being an autistic transvesti is not easy in this world, but fortunately things are working out for me, you know? I go through some trouble now and then, but, you know? I end up managing, why? Because today, as I said, I am a teacher, I am autonomous, right? And so, like this, what are the problems today, right? The big problems today are, for example, I can't get people to sign a contract with me, why? Because people see: "Oh, you are trans! Or maybe it is because: "Oh, they’re autistic!", "Oh no, they’re a trans autistic! And then it's like, it's less human. And then, like, they don't want to sign the contract, they don't want to sign the damn contract. Then they don’t pay you know? They don't pay for the deal, you know? They take forever to pay me, you know? Like, they take fucking forever to pay. This kind of thing, this kind of thing of fucked up people, you know, privileged people that go and exploit me, you know? So why is that? Because like, part of it is because of this fucking system, this fucking system called capitalism, that encourages people to exploit people, you know? Man, that's what capitalism is, capitalism, like, it throws the bone to two hungry dogs and then, like, it sees these two dogs killing each other for [indecipherable] and it's like, clapping its hands, you know? Not clapping its hands, it throws this bone to the hungry dog and while it's doing that, it sees a lot of people clapping their hands, seeing the two dogs kill each other and then, like, capitalism comes and charges for this and people pay for it and then, like, there are a lot of people who don't want to see it, it's disgusting, and then, like, there are some people who are neutral and then these people who are neutral, what does capitalism do? Either it will put fuel on the fire, for these people to be disgusted and then it will charge them, you know? To be disgusted and then, like this, it will make money on top of that, on the people that are disgusted. Or it will do something else, which I think is, like, worse, make, like, neutral people want to see the two dogs kill each other. So, like this, for example, you don't want to buy a fan, you don't want to buy a fan, but you will get an idea, you will be imbued with the idea of wanting to buy a damn fan because of capitalism. Capitalism, it imposes the idea of you buying a fan, even if you don't want to. That's what capitalism is, capitalism sucks, you know? Why? You know, because of factors, you know? Involving, for example, colonization, you know? Colonization was that. Like, there are a lot of nice people, and then like: "Oh, you're cool? Okay, but what if we give you this here?"; "No, we don't want it, we're good"; "You want it!"; "No, we don't want it!"; "Now you want it"; "No, we don't want it. Either you want it or you will die, and we will do worse things to you. I'm not even going to say it here, because I don't want to trigger anybody. So, like this: "We are going to do worse things"; "Okay, we want to". That's it. Colonization, you know? Because of colonization, because of Christianity, you know? Because, you know, colonization has to do with Christianity. And if you are a Christian, I'm sorry, okay? Yeah, it's okay to have your faith, but your religion has not helped much in the last 2000 years, you know? Because of other things, like, for example, a drug called Roman society and Greek society, right? Phallocentric society, right? The machismo. So, it's more than 2000 years of fucked up society, you know? Westerners fucking up people's lives. White people fucking people's lives, you know? That's it.




Ricardo: Alright, I'll tell you a little bit about my experience, right? Regarding the job market as an autistic person, right? So, I say beforehand that I have never worked in a PWD quota-position. I have participated in selection processes for PWD positions, but I have never actually worked in a PWD position, and I will explain more on this later on. So, we have to start dealing with this very complex theme, because there are a lot of variables, because of the initial question, which is a fact that many people, focused on neurodiversity in the job market, end up saying, right? That 85% of autistic people are not employed, right? And this is due to several factors, so let's start from the beginning, obviously, which is the selection process. What do we think about the selection process? The selection process is that part of the labor market where we have the famous RS, right? Which is Recruitment and Selection, right? Which is the HR sector, which aims at evaluating résumés, interviewing the candidate, in short, bridging the gap between the company and the candidate who is looking for a position. Within this selection process, there are basically two branches: the first is the vacancies for the conventional public, that is, anyone, and the second for the PWD public, right? People with disabilities, right? Let's start with the conventional vacancy. So, in my experience, and also based on the experience of other autistic people that I read a lot about this, about these reports, either on LinkedIn or in any other media and social network, in general the following happens. When an autistic person goes to try and get a job through a conventional job opening, two types of situations happen: the first is that when the person does not say that they are autistic during the selection process, it does not make any difference, because, for example, in the selection process phases that involve an interview, right? Especially a face-to-face interview, right? There is a certain disadvantage, actually a huge disadvantage for autistic people, because there is a consensus, a kind of consensus, I don't know where HR got this from, but it is this thought that, for example, an autistic person that doesn’t look you in the eye during speech, right? In an interview, that means he is lying. This is basically fallacious, this goes against the issue of accessibility that I will get to in another part of my speech, but that, in short, ends up harming the autistic person in entering the job market. Many times it happens that autistic people - in this case, reiterating that I’m speaking about autistic people who are not considered autistic in the selection process - may even pass the resumé phase, but in the interview phase and especially in group dynamics they usually do not pass, precisely because of this comportment issue that HR, right? Human resources end up having, as a kind of dogma, right? I believe this is the best word. And the other case is when the autistic person goes for a conventional vacancy job and says he is autistic, the chances are brutally reduced, why? What happens? Those who don't know much about the job market have to understand that the problem is not necessarily only the selection process made by HR. Many times, it also comes from the vacancy manager, because usually when there is a job vacancy it is the vacancy manager that triggers HR, whether it is the company's own HR department or an outsourced HR department, right? A company focused on the selection process. This, normally, this type of information ends up, right? That the person is autistic, ends up reaching the manager. As we live in a society that is structurally ableist, where people have the idea that disabled bodies, people with disabilities, are less capable of doing any kind of activity, and in the job market this is no different, there ends up being this ableism that reaches the manager of the position, you know? To say that the person is autistic and reject them, right? No matter how silly the reason may be because we have to consider that this happens to people without disabilities, but for people with disabilities this is intensified. So, in this case, there is a huge decrease in [the chances of] getting a job. Now, with regards to the PWD position vacancies, aimed at PWD, something usually happens, which I experienced during the few times I tried for a PWD position, which is the issue of infantilization. I won't quote my case exactly, but there is this infantilization, as if this autistic person, no matter how much experience they have in the job market, no matter how much they have an undergraduate degree, no matter how much they are doing a specialization course or has already completed it, there is this infantilization. As I said, it comes from the structural ableism that treats the autistic person as an infantilized being, the famous blue angel, that the autistic person is almost always male, and a child, right? So, that's why there is this infantilization. So, there are these two cases. Now, going deeper into the issue of the job market for autistic people, there is another point that goes beyond the selection process, which is the job market itself, the environment itself. There are several barriers and this is part of the study of disability, there is legislation that talks about this, both the International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Brazilian Law for Inclusion, which is the issue of barriers. There are several barriers. Just to name a few which are: attitudinal barriers, which are related to attitudes; architectural barriers, sensorial barriers, in short. In the work environment, taking up Anne's point, because of capitalism, right? Obviously, which aims at profit above all else, this means that in practice it is even ‘acceptable’, you know? In many quotes, that a person with a disability, in the more specific case, an autistic person, be part of the work environment, but the owner of the company will hardly ever show any kind of attitude aimed at making the environment accessible. In the case of autism, in the case of autism itself, for example, the issue of the muffler, right? When there is an autistic person who is very hypersensitive to sound, there is this artifice, right? So that, in a way, the autistic person doesn't have the famous meltdown. Also, there is another thing that is not normally done, which comes even before this type of accessibility which I have just mentioned, which is the attitudinal barrier. Every barrier to be overcome, whether it is an architectural barrier, a sensorial one or any other, can only be overcome from the moment that attitudinal barriers are overcome, because there is no point in talking about accessibility in the workplace if there are no attitudes - if there is no thought directed towards accessibility. So, it's as if we were trying to talk about something somewhat advanced, but the basics haven't even been discussed, right? So, this issue ends up influencing a lot of autistics, which leads to what I said about the 85% of autistics not being in the job market. First because, as I said, it is difficult for the autistic person to enter the job market, specifically due to abelism - treating the autistic as an infantilized being or sometimes treating the autistic as someone with an intellectual disability, that many people still make this mistake, inside or outside the job market, many people make this mistake of associating a biopsychosocial disability with an intellectual disability. And yet, even if it is classified as an intellectual disability, it is problematic, because it assumes that a person who has an intellectual disability is not capable, which is a huge fallacy. And also, it doesn't want to make the environment itself accessible. So, we start from this huge problem. Besides what I said, when an autistic person is in a job market, since they don’t have accessibility, they don’t stay long, so that term "turnover", right? Which is basically the turnover of employees is very high for autistic people, so, this ends up influencing directly the lack of employability and the non-maintenance of autistic people in the workplace. This is one point. The other point that I consider even more problematic is the issue of the PWD position. When we talk about the PWD position, we talk about a legislation, which is the quota law, that depending on the number of employees a company has, it has to hire a certain number of people with disabilities - and this is in the law - this is kind of circumvented, because in practice it happens that, even if the autistic person is qualified, has experience and everything else, for example, to occupy an analyst position, a management position, normally these autistic people end up in operational positions, right? Or assistants. The famous factory floor, you know? This generates, obviously, a very large number of very capable autistic people occupying positions that do not need to be occupied by those people. And this is a problem that affects neurotypical people, people without disabilities; but with people with disabilities, this intensifies even more. Why? As I said, structural ableism that treats people with disabilities as people incapable of doing anything, of doing a function, right? Labor. These people are relegated to more operational jobs, you know? So, this is a problem, and many companies pretend not to see it, but it is a subject that has to be debated more and more. And another problem, which I consider to be even more serious, is the issue of companies using institutional communication, whether through endo-marketing, social network campaigns, TV campaigns, or any other media, to talk about accessibility. I will make a comparison to make it easier to understand. It is like saying: Company A is super diverse, because it has black people, LGBTQI+ people, women, transgender women, all that stuff for advertising. But in practice these people are in operational positions, like I said. They suffer all sorts of discrimination, they suffer harassment at work and this happens with autistic people in the same way. So, we have to stop thinking that a company by doing the bare minimum of the minimum, which is a campaign aimed at making autistics aware of their role in the job market, if, in practice, these same companies do little or nothing aimed at, in practice obviously, for autistics to have more and more room to work in companies. I know that this is a problem that affects people without disabilities, because, for example, an issue that per passes all social groups, which is, for example, the lack of a salary range, the lack of a job scope, for example, the lack of response in the selection process, the precariousness of the job, you know? For those who don't know, I am from the advertising market, right, I came from this market and practically everything migrated to legal entities. So, we cannot fail to realize that this affects everyone, right? Not only people with disabilities, but also people without disabilities, nevertheless as the autistic is part of this group of people with disabilities there is a greater oppression places atop these people, because besides being inserted into issues of social class, right? Autistic people, especially the poorer ones, have a hard time getting a job, they can't choose a job, they have to submit themselves to increasingly inferior working conditions. In addition to this, the fact of being autistic generates all this kind of oppression for being a body outside the norm, right? Of being outside the standard, right? Of being a person who has a different behavior, for example, has stimms, right? Which are the stimulations. So, this kind of thing, combined with all the things I mentioned before, end up turning the autistic person's life in the job market - we could even talk about other fields - but in the job market, it ends up making this person's life more and more unbearable. And as Anne said, this all has to do with a system focused on enrichment, on the accumulation of profit above all else. Why? Associating, right, to connect, the issue of advertising is precisely to make more people believe that that company is conscious, but this is a ‘consciousness’ only on the outside, right? Only in the mouth [in what they say] because the capitalism will not want, at least at first, for these people to enter the job market. So, it's something that we have to reflect a lot about and try to avoid as much as possible that the labor market co-opts autistic people as if they were mere machines, mere automatons, to only generate profit, you know, and not be in the least sustainable, you know? Although capitalism in itself is an unsustainable system.




Annebelle: Why does the neurodivergent person have difficulty in relation to the job market? It is because, it’s like this, it is right on, you know? Like, you can be autistic, you can be borderline, you can be bipolar, any PWD person, any neurodivergent person, why do these people have so much difficulty? Because it is like, let's explore a little more, right? Let's take up other types of people. Because, after all, it is not only these people, right, people without disabilities also have difficulties. But what do you mean, Anne? You just said that non-disabled people don't have difficulties. No. People without disabilities do, you know? Let's take people who are ethnic minorities, right? Like, for example, which is the cheapest meat on the market? The cheapest meat on the market - I am a white person, okay? Just for the record, but the cheapest meat on the market is black meat. Another meat that is also very cheap, that is also fresh, is Asian meat; the other meat that is so cheap, so cheap that nobody talks about is indigenous meat. That's the big question. Nobody talks about ethnic minorities, you know, because nobody cares. The “gypsies” [Romani] too, nobody cares about “gypsies”, nobody cares about “gypsies”, you know? Because these minorities, capitalism wants them to die, you know? After all, in relation to the job market, it won't just be autistic people who will get screwed, you know? It's going to be like. everybody who is not in that mold. I didn't want to get into this aspect because my struggles are bigger than just this aspect, because, you know. I talk about autism, but I don't focus only on autism itself, you know? Because when we talk about neurodiversity, neurodiversity is not only about being autistic, right? Neurodiversity is much more than that, and then, as I can't talk about borderline and dyslexia, because if I don't, we get away from the theme, so I decided to talk more about the labor market. The issue of the job market itself, for example, the one I went through had no inclusion at all, zero, zero, zero inclusion. They didn't offer me headphones, they didn't offer me a darker environment, you know? They did nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing to try to include me, nothing. The most they did to try to include me was, like, "Oh, pandemic? Send you home. That was it, you know? Luckily for me, I have a powerful computer, you know? And at the time my computer was more than adequate, and I told the company: "Look, my Windows is pirated"; and they said: "Oh, no problem", and that was it, that was it, you know? It is like, you know? A company, a gigantic, absurd multinational company, that if it falls, half of capitalism falls, and I'm not joking, I'm not sarcastic, it’s not hyperbole, I'm not joking. If this company falls, half of capitalism falls together. It was approving, it was authorizing me to use a pirated Windows, so, why? Because they were not interested in inclusion, you know? They didn't even want to give me original Windows. So that's it, that's it, that's the level regarding inclusion. That's it, that's it, you know? I had nothing, you know, zero inclusion. And if I had continued to work there probably what would happen is: I would take pictures, I would take pictures during the week of autism inclusion, I would be the pet, you know? Because that's what autism is at the end of the day, at the end of the day autism is a pet in inclusion week, autism is only remembered in that week, only remembered in that damn week, you know? On autism day, inclusion week, autism month, and then it's forgotten. Then it is: "Shut up, damn you, go back to where you came from, shut up, you have no space here! Like this, when autistic people compose a song, when they compose something: "Oh my God, be quiet, the autistic person is doing something marvelous", but when autistic people want to fight for their rights, it's "Shut up! Don't you have anything to do?” When it is an autistic woman speaking: "No, there doesn’t exist autistic women. An autistic woman? Never heard of it, never heard of it.” If it is a black woman autistic, I won't even talk about the terms, but it is like this: "Go back to that place!” That is it! Why? Because then it is about racism. So, you can't, you know? You can't. If it's an autistic indigenous woman? No, you can't, you can't. If it is an autistic trans woman? I'm not even going to talk about the terms that I've heard, you know, but there's no such thing, either, you can't, you know? Why is that? Because the autistic can only be autistic if… it has to be that perfect little box, right? So, you have to be autistic, male, white, cis, middle class or upper middle class, otherwise? Otherwise you can't. It has to be an autistic person from “the red video store”, you know? That one is an autistic person. Other than that? They don’t exist.


Ricardo: Also, you have to be an autistic person and work in the IT market. Let it be well remembered.


Annebelle: Look, preferentially, it’s like this, but if you work in other markets it is a differential, you know?


Ricardo: Look.


Annebelle: Depending on the market you work in, it is a differential, you know?  


Ricardo: Look, I never, I never managed, after I put that I am autistic in my LinkedIn profile description and put PWD in my title, in my profile, after that I was never hired again. At most, comes one or another person from HR came asking if I could have an interview, I ended up having the interview, but it didn't go anywhere after.


Annebelle: But what is your profession again?


Ricardo: I am a publicist and I work on some front within digital marketing.


Annebelle: So, but that's the thing. You're a publicist, publicists are usually viewed, depending on the situation, either as poor, you know? Or as, like, ah, like it's kind of whatever, you know? Like, it depends on what it is, for example. What do you have a degree in?


Ricardo: Social Communication, and I have a post-graduation in Social Media and Networks.


Annebelle: Social Communication. So, you know? So, you know, it depends on the area…For example, I know an autistic person that has a degree in Sociology: "- Sociology? Oh no, well, you are poor!", you know? And no. Oh, for example, there is a certain person out there who has a degree in Medicine, so: "Hey, we are interested". Right? It's interesting. But why?


Ricardo: It is convenient. It is convenient for the narrative.


Annebelle: It depends on what it is, it depends on what it is, you know? So, advertising? Who cares about an advertising autistic, you know?


Ricardo: So, that is what I am talking about. Autistic people, if there is a thought, excuse this word, but an imbecile thought that autistic people are good at logic, and therefore, autistic people have to be in technology or exact sciences.


Annebelle: So, but this issue is not only about exact sciences, for example, if he is an artist, you know, "Oh my God, he is a genius, look how beautiful", you know? And like, there is a very big correlation between autism and racism, there is a very strong correlation, a huge correlation, you know? It's such a blatant business, it's such an absurd business. I really wish there was somebody black to talk about this, because I don't want to get into it, but it's such an absurd correlation, so blatant, that it's serious. I can say, in relation to autism and in relation to the lack of rights in relation to autism and racism in the sense of autism and transphobia, because what we transvesti suffer, unfortunately, what we go through, considering lived proportions, right? This is basically history repeating itself, of what black people went through in the 60s, 70s, you know? Because of, like, "Oh, here people of color can come in, and here they can't come in," with due proportions. Why is that? Because like, I cannot place the same situation because there are 500 years of slavery, you know? That is why I say, with all due proportions. Because like, for 500 years we didn't even exist! You know, we existed, but nobody even thought about us, this issue. We abstained from the world.


Richard: PWD too.


Annebelle: Hello?


Ricardo: PWD too.


Annebelle: So, that's the thing. Trans people have always existed in the world, trans people have always existed and there are historical documents regarding this. The son, not the son, the brother of the Sun King of France, he was like that, they said he was a drag, but no, he was a trans, okay? Even so, being like, her being trans, because like, she was addressed with masculine pronouns, you know? But she was trans. And yet, you know, 500 years of history of us suffering this, 500 years of history. And then, like, for more, you know? For more, because. It's fucked up, you know? It’s fucked. Because like, when we talk about non-binary people, non-binary people exist since the world existed, trans people, you know? They have existed since the world existed, but... PWDs too, but it is just ignored more because of this whole issue of Christianity, colonization, capitalism. It is garbage, it is garbage the world, it is garbage the universe that we exist in. And so, you know, there's not much you can do, it's just, you know? Depression and therapy. [laughs Ricardo] Alcohol. That's it, that's it.


Ricardo: You talked about this question of the relationship between the black community, of black people, and the LGBTQI+ community. It reminded me at the time of eugenics. Because eugenics goes through race, gender, and disability. Eugenics affected everybody, everybody, to some degree. So, in the world of the labor market, for a broader thought, ableist thinking is directly linked to eugenic thinking. For those who don't know, eugenics initially was a field of study that started, if my memory serves me correctly, at the end of the 19th century, but eugenics ended up becoming a kind of ideology that later became state policy, like there was Germany in World War II, right? Nazi Germany.


Annebelle: Just a little something. Eugenics is older than that.


Ricardo: But anyway. This state policy is talked about a lot in terms of Nazi Germany, but this was kind of corroborated to some degree throughout Europe. So, explaining this, in the labor market there is a lot of this eugenic thinking that is aimed at normalizing autistic bodies. Of course it is not directly associated with the job market, nevertheless as it is an ideology that ends up being transformed into structural abelism and everything else, it is clear that companies, inserted in the capitalist system - which I will get to the part about Germany - want autistic people, people with disabilities as a whole, to be normalized, and when we talk about normalizing, we’re talking about normalizing corporally, to be people without disabilities and that are basically productive for the promotion of work, right? In the manufacturing of what we call surplus value in Marxism, for example. And so, going back to Nazi Germany in World War II, as Anne said, which is the apex of capitalism, when we talk about the normalization of bodies, we can perfectly associate this thought of the normalization of bodies, that in Germany goes to the extreme of thinking that disabled bodies are not even good for work, so they are good for death, right? They are good for nothing. And in a milder way, within the Brazilian context, that within the Brazilian context we are living in a very neoliberal period, with a world involved in the capitalist system, so even if it is in a mild way we try to normalize bodies, right? So, this is one of the reasons, there are others, but I can't talk about them here, because otherwise it would be too long, but neo-liberalism, in fact liberalism as a whole, but I'm being kind, but neo-liberalism is intrinsically linked to fascism and also to Nazism, since Nazism is charged with normalizing bodies, more than normalizing, eliminating bodies, right? Since it has a built-in eugenic charge.


Annebelle: But liberalism is really fascist, you know? Like, it's not neoliberalism, no, it's liberalism, it's capitalism, capitalism is fascist. That’s it! You know? Like, it is the idea of democracy. No, democracy and capitalism do not go together. It's a lie they told you, that's it, okay? Like, sorry, but it's the idea that Communism is a dictatorship and that capitalism is a democracy, maybe it's one of the lies that they spread to you the most, because like, capitalism doesn't go together with democracy.




Annebelle: What I expect from my profession, being a trans autistic person... I hope that, like, the good thing about understanding how capitalism works is understanding how its mechanisms work. In other words, I get around that shit. Like, I really, really dodge this shit. So, a fantastic thing about this is: I don't have my name in the SPC Serasa database [companies that record consumers' payment history]! Really. I really don't, I know, you must be in shock right now. Because, like, "What do you mean you don't have an SPC/Serasa?


Ricardo: Well, why would I be... would I be surprised?


Annebelle: Because everybody has a bad name in SPC/Serasa. Everybody has. And I have managed this feat, I don't have it. Why? Because I know how the mechanisms of capitalism work. And like, I study a fucking lot about how capitalism works in order to literally get around this shit, to survive this shit, you know? Because I'm an anarchist, I'm leftist, and because I'm like that, I'm a mutual anarchist, just for the record, in case anyone undertands. And so, I hope that I can continue to survive, knowing the mechanisms, because it is difficult. I am autonomous, you know. It's really is hell. I depend on... it's my profession, right, I'm in a  home-office [work from home] until today, you know? I managed to reinvent myself, I created myself from scratch, you know? Like, I really reinvented myself, you know? And then, like, now I'm reaching a situation, like, I'm reaching my peak in relation to being a teacher, you know? So, for example, people think that, because of Twitter, you know, singing teacher, homeoffice, online - people think of me. Online German teacher, people think of me; online music theory teacher, ok, so they still think of Naiara Rita, but for now, you know? Because in a little while they will start thinking about me too. Online guitar teacher, but then there are a lot of people, because I'm not the only one, you know? But like, online singing teacher? The first person that comes to mind is me. And like this, I reinvent myself every day in this aspect, you know, and I don't even divulge much in the music production area anymore, because it is very exhausting, it is a very exhausting area, but I who knows, if I have to go back to this area, I will, you know? If I have to go back to music production, I will, because that's what it is, you know? It is like I said, reinvention. And other than that, right? What I expect for other autistic people in this area is what I expect for myself, I know it is a hard thing to say, but it is therapy, depression and alcohol. Sorry people, but I have to be honest with you, because capitalism is like that. No matter how optimistic the news about the pandemic is, that the pandemic is over, thanks to the Bolsonaro government having destroyed a large part of the Pantanal and the Amazon, what happens? Animals go to the cities, because of animals going to cities, that's why the coronavirus happened. In other words, we are going to be a factory of pandemics. So, there will be new pandemics, you know? So, I am sorry to tell you, but this was just the first of many. So, depression, therapy and alcohol.


Ricardo: Right… My thoughts for the future, more specifically for my profession, is not very different from Anne, because currently I do not have fixed-work in the labor market where I work, right? Advertising, digital marketing and related things. The most I can do is get some freelance work. And I do not feel at ease in any way, shape or form, to return to the labor market of advertising, communication, digital communication as a whole. Currently, as I said in the beginning, I produce content on YouTube focused on autism, and one of my goals, among several that I have with the channel, is to monetize this, to get to a point where I don't have to depend on going to the formal job market that I know I'll have to do a violence to myself up, to do a violence to myself up psychologically to try to look as neurotypical as possible, right? Which is the famous masking, right? And, besides this, there are elements that permeate all fields, not only autism, which is the precariousness of the job. Everyone is becoming an autonomous worker, there is an increasing accumulation of functions that already existed in the communication market and it is becoming more and more intense, and this, is increasingly demanding a lot from a communication professional and increasingly pays less and less, and even more precarious pay, you know? So, I don't want, at least my wish is not to return to these conditions in the job market, you know? My goal is to monetize the work I already do, either with the production of content that I do on social networks, especially YouTube, or even earn, survive, you know? In the financial aspect with texts, right? Because I spent a good few years working with texts. And also to follow an academic career as a professor. So, the advertising market, even though the teaching market is not a miracle, there is no point in wanting to go back to the market I started in, because that would mean reliving difficulties that I know I won't be able to overcome. Because, as much as I am an autistic person who has critical thinking - is trained in critical thinking - you know, because everyone has critical thinking, but I end up developing it practically every day. I have experience in the market, I have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, and so on. I know that I alone will not be able to change a structure, be it the structure of a company's thinking, be it the structure of the labor market that is inserted in the capitalist system, unfortunately. So, I believe that in my case, it is this.

[end track]



[intro music]


Olga Aureliano: The script, recording and editing is by Ricardo Augusto and Annebelle Arco-Íris, co-creators of this episode; the finalization and intro music is by Rodrigo Policarpo, and the transcription is by Beatriz Simões, with proofreading by Bruna Teixeira and English translation by Deise Monica and Matthew Medeiros. Ateliê Ambrosina is the artivist NGO from Maceió-Alagoas that is leading the realization of Defiças Portraits, a project funded by Canada's Western University. It is locally produced along with me, Vanessa Malta and the consultant Bruna Teixeira, and as researchers, the anthropologists Nádia Meinerz and Pamela Block. Follow "Defiças Portraits" on Spotify and Instagram to stay up to date on the co-creations that have been happening in Brazil. See you next Monday!

[intro music]

Card cinza claro, quadrado, do podcast Retratos do Brasil com Deficiência. No centro de um triângulo em diferentes tons de lilás, a cabeça branca da medusa, de perfil esquerdo. O triângulo tem pontas arredondadas e está na horizontal, voltado para a direita. A medusa é uma figura feminina, da mitologia grega, com serpentes no lugar do cabelo. O rosto dela é branco e as serpentes são vazadas, com contorno branco, fino e parecem se mover em todas as direções. Na parte inferior, o nome do podcast. A frase Com deficiência está em negrito e Podcast, em negrito, maiúsculo.

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