On Saturday I went to a Pride picnic in my town. I have some friends in the LGBT community and the annual celebration is for members of this community and their friends.
I know what being marginalized is like. I know what being judged for who and what you are is like. And I don’t think it’s right.
Now I’m not suggesting that people with ADHD have been treated as badly as the lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender community. There is absolute vehemence and intolerance in this world directed towards members of this community.
Those of us with ADHD deal with intolerance, but not as often as, or as intently as the LGBT community. We are more likely to be treated with disbelief or dismissal. At the worst, we are sometimes treated patronizingly, as if we were children who don’t understand that we can’t have a disorder that someone else doesn’t believe in.
But the truth, for both the ADHD and LGBT communities is that, if you have to tell someone that you belong to one of these communities before they can judge you, then they should not be able to judge you.
That is to say, if they cannot tell you apart from the neuro-typicals or heterosexuals, then what makes your difference worthy of their contempt or disrespect? It’s like judging someone for having a narrow urethra or an enlarged heart. It makes no difference and it causes you no harm, why would you choose to make an issue about that when there are so many real issues in the world.
Again, I don’t pretend that the treatment of people with ADHD is generally as bad as the treatment of people who belong to the LGBT community. And another huge difference is that ADHD is a disorder, being non-heterosexual is not. We really need to focus on helping people with ADHD, but first, let’s work on curing those who suffer from homophobia. Now there’s a disorder.
I hope someday that my community is understood and treated with the respect we deserve. We are valid and useful members of society. And I hope that someday the LGBT community is also treated with the respect they deserve. They too are valid and useful members of society. And society would do well to remember that.