Lydia Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya) is a genderqueer and transracially/transnationally adopted East Asian autistic activist, writer, and speaker whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex. At present, Lydia serves as Chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Services, stakeholder representative to the Massachusetts One Care Implementation Council overseeing health care for Medicaid/Medicare dually-eligible individuals, and board member of the Autism Women’s Network. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, the first-ever anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color, published by the Autism Women’s Network in June 2017.

Most recently, Lydia has designed and teaches a course on critical disability theory, public policy, and intersectional social movements as a Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College, beginning in Fall 2016. Lydia is a past Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force, where they focused on reproductive justice and disability rights policy issues, and past Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy Fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership, where they focused on employment opportunities for people with significant disabilities. Lydia also worked for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network for several years as part of the national public policy team, where Lydia worked on various issues relating to criminal justice and disability, healthcare disparities and service delivery models, and research and employment disparities. Additionally, Lydia has interned for the ACLU National Disability Rights Program, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Movement Advancement Project, and the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts.

Lydia has been honored by the White House, the Washington Peace Center, the National Council on Independent Living, and the Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts. In 2015, Pacific Standard named Lydia a Top 30 Thinker under 30, and Mic named Lydia to its inaugural list of 50 impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators. Their work has been featured in various places, including Religion, Disability, and Interpersonal Violence, Barriers & Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability, The Asian American Literary Review, Feminist Perspectives on Orange is the New Black, Criptiques, Torture in Healthcare Settings, QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology, Films for the Feminist Classroom, Tikkun, Disability Intersections, Black Girl Dangerous, hardboiled magazine, POOR Magazine, The Washington Post; Sojourners, The Establishment, Al Jazeera America, NBC News Asian America, HerCampus, AfterEllen, and Vice Broadly. Lydia is now a Public Interest Law Scholar at Northeastern University School of Law, where they co-founded the Disability Justice Caucus.