The Ripple Effect Of Adventure Church On Autistic People | Eve Reiland

The ripple effect of Adventure Church bullying our Tower District community, in the name of Jesus, scares the hell out of me.

I am Autistic, pansexual and just plain different than the normies in this area. Growing up in the Central Valley was incredibly difficult and often traumatizing due to my being different and incapable of conformity. 

The Autistic population does not reflect the same as the non-Autistic population in far more reaching ways than many realize. 

70% of Autistic don’t identify as heterosexual, while in the non-Autistic population, 80% of people identify as as heterosexual.

Transgendered people are 6x more likely to be Autistic.

We have a very gender-diverse population and many of us are non-binary. (Note: Gender diversity and sexual orientation are not the same thing.)

When I am asked for advice on Autistics growing up in this area and how to help them find a community that supports differences – I tell them get them connected with The Tower District. I share that Gay Straight Alliance clubs on school campuses are another great space they might find people to connect with that will embrace their differences, whether they are queer or not. 

I’m concerned that the anger and ugly being directed at the community here  and instigated by Adventure Church is going to harm far more people than realized …

Autistic people’s #1 cause of early death is suicide. This is a worldwide statistic. We have an average lifespan of 36 years – not due to being Autistic — but because we live in a world that doesn’t accept differences.

Autistic children as young as five and six have struggled with suicide ideation, made serious suicide attempts and it just gets worse the older we get.

We are a very misunderstood people and finding a community in the Tower District saved my life a few times — and the lives of many others. 

So now that we have this antagonizing takeover with Adventure Church’s attempted purchase of Tower Theater for their agenda and goals – that don’t include actually becoming a part of the community here — I am greatly worried that the tension here will keep Autistics away.

Suicide rates for Autistic people are 9x higher than the typical population. Autistic women’s suicide rates are 15x higher. These numbers are the lowest estimated and it’s believed our completion rates are far higher.

Studies show that 12% of people who died by suicide had definite or probable autism. Two out of three Autistics diagnosed as adults report they have contemplated suicide at some point in their lives. 

Autistics suffer bullying, abuse and even murder in far higher numbers that the typical population. One third of Autistic adults do not leave the house most days.  Fifty percent of Autistic adults also report staying home due to fear of abuse. One in three Autistic adults experience severe mental illness because of lack of support.

Then there’s our statistics with homelessness  … Rates of autism among the homeless population is 3000% to 6000% higher than the typical population. 

The tension and stress Adventure Church is bringing my community is going to harm Autistic people and it will be a silent retreat. Many Autistic adults find themselves rejected by family members, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, simply because they can’t conform to be what the parents wanted. 

These Autistics often are dumped here in the district by their family, or find their way here after suffering years of abuse. This district literally by existing has saved my life multiple times starting when I was age 14. I am now 48. 

I have Autistic children, who are now adults, and they were able to grow up with their differences embraced here. That Adventure Church wants to convert people to being straight in the name of G-d is only going to result in more Autistic deaths. 

We are not your devil. We are not sinners for being exactly who we are … we don’t need you to pray at us to come to Jesus … we are born this way and this is how G-d created us. 

Many Autistics, most of us most likely, suffer in silence. We complete suicide in silence.   I fear the ripple effect … rather wave … is going to cause many to stay home, steeped in loneliness, and continue without support they might have otherwise found here. 

We don’t deserve this. 



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