Sex Positive Feminist Michelle Smith Talks Life with Asperger’s and Her New Doc Best and Most Beautiful Things
Meet Michelle Smith: a vibrant young woman with Asperger’s who also happens to be legally blind. She’s the subject of a new documentary called Best and Most Beautiful Things, which showcases her journey into adulthood as she searches for independence. According to Smith, it was originally supposed to be a documentary about Helen Keller but, after talking with her, others agreed that she should be the focus. Filmmaker Garrett Zevgetis gained full access to her life, showcasing her quest for love and connection through a sex-positive community. I had to the chance to speak with her about her incredible experiences and what led her to becoming so sex positive.
Michelle Smith: One of the best things I’ve learned is not to internalize when people are being condescending to me… Because I did that for years and years and years. I internalized it and I thought maybe I will never be mature enough for people to treat me like an adult and I would try my hardest and people would still talk down to me… And after a long enough time, when I was about 20 or 21, I realized, “Holy cow! I’ve been internalizing this my entire life.” This is not me. This is other people being ignorant and ableist and it’s not my fault.
The Mary Sue (Keisha): What are the biggest misconceptions people who aren’t on the autism spectrum about about individuals who are?
MS: People think that our brains are broken. I think a lot of that reason that being Autistic is a disability and a disadvantage has more to do with our society’s perception of it than of Autism itself… If people just understood that people with Autism… our brains are different… maybe in general we might think differently than a neurotypical person, but that doesn’t mean we think any worse or that we think the wrong way.
TMS: Were you always sex positive or was this something you grew into?
MS: It’s something I sort of grew into because… my parents were a lot less conservative than some people’s parents are but a lot of the stuff was stuff I had to learn on my own and as stuff started to click into place, it just didn’t make sense that people got shamed for having sex. Like if it’s all between consenting adults, who gives a fuck? It’s such an awesome, fun thing to do. It’s like what I say about masturbation: I have this thing on my body that makes me feel amazing. Why would I restrict myself from it? Sometimes when I’m done masturbating, I say, “Take that, fundamentalists!”
(image via Beacon Street)
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