Each summer on June 18th, Autistic Pride Day is celebrated worldwide. Using social media and public events, organizations and individuals celebrate the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum, many of whom also identify with the LGBTQI+ community. There are several symbols of this celebration, such as the rainbow infinity sign. Another symbol of this celebration is a flag with three vertical lines in the primary colors: red, green, and blue. When combined, these colors create all of the other colors of the rainbow and “represent the overlap of autism onto every other Pride gradient, since those on the autism spectrum are found in every country, sex, race, religion, and sexual orientation.”
The white infinity sign at the center of the flag symbolizes the infinite diversity of the people who the flag represents. Thanks to the design efforts and voting of Twainbow’s online community members in 2015, the Autistic Pride Flag is proudly waved not only on Autistic Pride Day, but every day. Twainbow seeks to educate, connect, and empower those who live under the double-rainbow of the LGBTQI+ community and the Autism Spectrum. The organization is proud to continue this mission with the assistance of a new board chair, Tony Rowe.
Tony began contributing to Twainbow’s mission by volunteering his technology skills. He redesigned the official website and created an early version of Twainbow’s newsletter, which is debuting today. While Tony’s position as the board chair is primarily to preside over board meetings, he hopes to assist his fellow Twainbow leaders in bringing awareness to the challenges and successes of those living under the double-rainbow by reaching out to individuals who are willing to share their stories – stories that deserve to be heard.
Tony’s story began when he came out as gay as a teenager and was later diagnosed with ADD. After being placed in a “special education” class, Tony realized he was not like other people and struggled with bullying and depression. After overcoming this dark time in his life, Tony became active in the LGBTQI+ and mental health communities. In 2016, he was formally diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder without intellectual or language impairment. Since joining Twainbow and meeting others like himself, Tony has found a sense of understanding and belonging and has made great strides in his own personal growth. As part of Twainbow’s leadership team, he hopes to help others do the same and sees no better time to officially begin than on Autism Pride Day.