Today, World Autism Acceptance Day, I’m proud to be a supporter of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. In October 2021, I was introduced to AWN’s amazing work when they reached out to me to begin translating their resources to Spanish. As a Latine nonbinary mother, editor, and translator who was born and raised in Ecuador, I appreciate how much I’ve learned about disability justice from working with AWN since 2021. Autistic people from Latine communities in the US and abroad often lack visibility and resources, which is why I’m so excited to be helping AWN with creating culturally appropriate Spanish-language neurodiversity resources as part of their commitments to racial justice and language justice.
This April, AWN is hoping to raise $6,000 to support the release of the forthcoming book A Neurodiversity and Gentle Parenting Journey…in Color by Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, including translating it into Spanish. Morénike is AWN’s Equity, Justice, and Representation Co-chair, and in her book she bravely explores issues of systemic racism, sexism, and ableism in a world that is not designed to fully include Black neurodivergent children, including Afro-Latine neurodivergent children. I believe this book, drawn from Morénike’s journey of parenting while Black and autistic, needs to be shared far and wide in both English and Spanish.
Translating for AWN has been a learning experience for me in terms of language justice. Spanish is intrinsically a gendered language which favors male representation. But it is also a language that is constantly evolving. Translating for AWN with a focus on gender-neutrality has allowed me to navigate the amazing work that Latine LGBTQIAP+ people are doing in Latin America to make Spanish a truly inclusive and representative language. From Argentina to the US, younger generations are moving towards writing and speaking with gender-neutral pronouns, such as replacing the masculine “o’s” in todos nosotros (all of us) with the gender-neutral “e” to make todes nosotres. Yet language justice goes beyond replacing letters; it’s about identifying and fighting systemic gender oppression, such as when medical professionals are assumed to be male (“Los médicos”) while the wisdom of Indigenous midwives are simply disregarded.
Language justice is also about making resources available for those communities who have been historically marginalized. Spanish-speaking neurodivergent children of color exist, including autistic Afro Latine children, and their families should not have to navigate alone through a world that opts to not see them. Which is why I’m so excited to translate Morénike’s book.
Thank you for being part of Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network community, and I’m glad to be in community with you.
Sofia Jarrin-Thomas, translator, Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network