Autigender and Neuroqueer: Two Words on the Relationship Between Autism and Gender That Fit Me

These two words helped me figure myself out more. Passing them along.


Autigender is not explicitly saying that “My gender is autism” – it’s not about saying you are a boy, girl, enby, autism, whatever. It’s about your relationship with your gender.

Specifically, gender is a social construct. The primary deficit of autism includes difficulties interpreting and understanding social constructions. This means that we have a disability that inherently makes understanding gender part of our disability.

Because of this, we can have exceptionally complicated and unique understanding of what gender is, how it affects us, and how we express gender.

Autigender is a word that describes this unique, complicated relationship. So when a person is saying that they are autigender, what they are saying is more or less that their understanding of gender is fundamentally altered by their autism.

Because autigender describes the relationship with gender, an autigender person’s gender can be, well anything. Boy. Girl. Enby. Cis. Trans. Anything. Agender. Gender Nope.

So what about a person who says they are autigender, and that IS their gender? Well, I think this still describes the relationship with their gender – Specifically in this case, their autism affects their understanding to such a degree that they just can’tbe any more descriptive with regards to gender. That leaves the only word they have – autigender.

Candidly Autistic — What exactly is autigender? I’ve seen it used a…

Reply to @tea_and_bananas Neuroqueer explained #neurodivergent #autismawareness #adhd #80hd #autism #autisticwomen #gender #genderfluid

♬ original sound – Beth Radulski

“Autigender” is a term that some autistic people use to describe their relationship with gender. Specifically, it means that they feel that their autism affects the way they perceive and feel about gender.

Unfortunately, a lot of people interpret this as meaning that people think “autism” is their gender, which results in a lot of rage-filled posts on social media about how your gender cannot be a disability. Because, of course, it can’t. Autism is a neurotype, not a gender.

But this is a complete misunderstanding of the term.

No one who calls themselves “autigender” is going to write “autism” next to the word “gender” on a questionnaire.

The fact is that autism is a neurotype that specifically affects our perceptions and understanding of social conventions, norms, etiquette and mores.

Nor does it affect every autistic person the same way. One person may pick up on social norms easily but may struggle with small talk while another remains oblivious to social norms but can banter easily with strangers in line at the checkout.

In other words, are there really more gay/trans/queer/ace autistic people, or do they just figure it out/come out of the closet more readily than non-autistic people?

We don’t know yet.

What we do know is that there are some people who feel that their ability to think of themselves as a particular gender is affected by their autism. This feeling is shared by enough autistic people that they have dubbed themselves “autigender.”

I don’t call myself autigender, but I get it. Gender is confusing to me, too.

I don’t feel offended by the idea of autigender. But some people really do. They feel it insults other non-binary and genderqueer people, that it mocks and makes light of their relationship with their gender. Autistic community leaders try to remind people that if you don’t like the term, you don’t have to use it.

But if it gives some people a feeling of belonging and helps them describe what must be a very complicated emotional response, then you should support them and let them call it what they want.

If someone feels their autism is affecting how they perceive their gender, let them call themselves autigender.

Considering how many LGBTQA+ autistic folk there are, I think there’s something in that one way or another.

7 Cool Aspects of Autistic Culture » NeuroClastic


I originally conceived of neuroqueer as a verb: neuroqueering as the practice of queering (subverting, defying, disrupting, liberating oneself from) neuronormativity and heteronormativity simultaneously. It was an extension of the way queer is used as a verb in Queer Theory; I was expanding the Queer Theory conceptualization of queering to encompass the queering of neurocognitive norms as well as gender norms––and, in the process, I was examining how socially-imposed neuronormativity and socially-imposed heteronormativity were entwined with one another, and how the queering of either of those two forms of normativity entwined with and blended into the queering of the other one.

So what does it mean to neuroqueer, as a verb? What are the various practices that fall within the definition of neuroqueering

Neuroqueer: An Introduction

A neuroqueer individual is any individual whose identity, selfhood, gender performance, and/or neurocognitive style have in some way been shaped by their engagement in practices of neuroqueering, regardless of what gender, sexual orientation, or style of neurocognitive functioning they may have been born with.

Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities

Just as intentionally liberating oneself from the culturally ingrained and enforced performance of heteronormativity is sometimes referred to as queering, intentionally liberating oneself from the culturally ingrained and enforced performance of neuronormativity can be thought of as neuroqueering.

The concept of neuroqueering represents a rich and important intersection of the fields of Neurodiversity Studies and Queer Theory.

Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities

My favorite articulation of Queer Theory’s transcendence of the limitations of essentialist identity politics is a single sentence penned in 1997 by queer theorist David M. Halperin. In his book Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography, Halperin wrote:

“Queer,” in any case, does not designate a class of already objectified pathologies or perversions; rather, it describes a horizon of possibility whose precise extent and heterogeneous scope cannot in principle be delimited in advance.

This post-essentialist articulation of the meaning and potentials of queer also perfectly sums up my conception of the meaning and potentials of neuroqueer. Neuroqueer is not a mere synonym for neurodivergent, or for neurodivergent identity combined with queer identity. Neuroqueer is active subversion of both neuronormativity and heteronormativity. Neuroqueer is intentional noncompliance with the demands of normative performance. Neuroqueer is choosing to actively engage with one’s potentials for neurodivergence and queerness, and the intersections and synergies of those potentials. Neuroqueer is about recognizing the fundamentally entwined nature of cognition, gender, and embodiment, and also about treating cognition, gender, and embodiment as fluid and customizable, and as canvases for ongoing creative experimentation.

Neuroqueer transcends essentialist identity politics not only by treating identity as fluid and customizable, but also by being radically inclusive. Neuroqueering is something anyone can potentially do, and there are infinite possible ways to do it and infinite possible ways to be transformed by it. The term neuroqueer points to a horizon of creative possibility with which anyone can choose to engage.

Neuroqueer Heresies: Notes on the Neurodiversity Paradigm, Autistic Empowerment, and Postnormal Possibilities

Coming to Terms

I didn’t have the vocabulary for what I felt back in Southern Baptist Texas in the 1970s and 80s, but I was uncomfortable with and resistant to gender norms as a kid. They felt: silly, arbitrary, oppressive, confining, unnecessary, counter-productive, irrational. They did not make sense. They did not fit.

A small, shareable anecdote of the ways norms went against my grind, from a lifetime collection:

I didn’t openly express myself in dress much—I was deathly afraid of being noticed and totally unsure about what I felt—but I would splash some color in. I opted for a pink tinted coating on a new pair of eyeglasses once. Kids at school gave me grief, but I liked them and came to wear them as a defiant badge and also a sort of shield. My father had the coating removed.

Several burnouts and a retirement later, I have zero capacity for masking, for attenuating myself to the sensibilities of surrounding bigots and bullies. I enjoy my pink and my flower print Thai fisherman pants and wistfully wishing I could dial my gender to my pansexual, polyamorous, genderpunk, genderqueer mood.

Autigender and neuroqueer are the best fits I’ve found after a lifetime of seeking. Perhaps a term that fits even better will emerge. Perhaps it’s already out there for me to discover. I’ll keep reading other queer autistics as we help each other figure ourselves out.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Stimpunks Community Programming: We Need Your Input Dripping Springs, Wimberley, and Austin

Stimpunks Foundation serves neurodivergent and disabled people unserved by public and private schools. Via equity, access, empathy, and inclusivity, we build community learning space respectful of all types of bodyminds.

We create anti-ableist space for passion-based, human-centered learning compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability. We create space for those most ill-served by “empty pedagogy, behaviorism, and the rejection of equity“. We create paths to equity and access for our learners so they can collaborate on distributed, multi-age, cross-disciplinary teams with a neurodiverse array of creatives doing work that impacts community.

As part of our Learning Space, we want to help put on programming for neurodivergent and disabled people and our allies in the Dripping Springs, Wimberley, and Austin area.

We helped put on a punk show and several events with the Dripping Springs Friendship Club, a group of neurodivergent and disabled adults. We’ve been putting our accessibility checklists and philosophy to the test in the field. We help handle the logistics so you don’t have to worry.

What accessible programming and events would you like?

Here are some things we’ve done:

  • concerts
  • museums
  • meetups
  • petting zoo
  • dining out
  • stim dance party

Send your ideas our way. Here’s a poll to indicate activities you’re interested in.


Suggest activities for our community.


If you have further comments, here’s a contact form. Connect with us.

You can also message us on our socials.

We pursue passion-based, human-centered learning compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability. We create paths to equity and access for our learners. We create Cavendish space of peer respite and collaborative niche construction where we can find relief from an intense world designed against us.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Reframe Disability and Difference with Stimpunks

Reframe these states of being that have been labelled deficiencies or pathologies as human differences.

Normal Sucks: Author Jonathan Mooney on How Schools Fail Kids with Learning Differences

Not having the vocabulary to describe yourself and your loved ones is a tragedy. Our story of reframing disability and difference starts on our front page and continues via the “Continue” button at the bottom of each page in the journey.

We’re going to rewrite the narratives.

Those who work their way through the course will have the understanding of neurodiversity, neurodivergent learning, and neurodivergent ways of being needed to make them the allies we need.

The course includes lots of art, music, poetry, and more from our community.

Take the journey. Reframe, and gain vocabulary for you and yours. (Note: The latest version of this course lives here).

Estimated reading time: 245 minutes, about 4 hours

We have protests to stage, driven by the fuel of our righteous anger. We have speeches to make, written from the soaring pleas of our individual and collective trauma, and our wildest dreams of joy and freedom and love. We have cultural narratives to rewrite because they really do hate us and they really will kill us, and if we’re going to rewrite the narratives, then there’s no reason to hold ourselves back from our most radical and defiant rewritings. We have autistic children who need us to support them as architects of their own liberation against the schools and clinicians and institutions and police and prosecutors who would crush and destroy them.

We’re going to need our anger and our public celebrations of stimming and our complicated, imperfect, messy selves for this long and hard road, because we need all of us, and all of our tactics and strategies, to keep a movement going and ultimately, to win.

Autistic Hoya — A blog by Lydia X. Z. Brown: The neurodiversity movements needs its shoes off, and fists up.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

R-word and Genius: Situationally Mute Hyperlexic Autistic

When I was a kid, school didn’t know I could read because I wouldn’t read aloud. Situational mutism and exposure anxiety locked my lips.

One day, in a quiet corner with a semblance of psychological safety, I quietly, in a whisper, read a book cover to cover to my teacher and said, “Can I go now?”

I’m hyperlexic.

And autistic.

During my school career, I was both r-word and genius.

In a culture that conflates eye-reading with intelligence, my course and fortunes changed when school noticed that I could not only read, I could read anything. I went from being a full time r-word to a part time one, depending on who was in the room with me and if I felt safe enough speak.

R-word and genius. The difference in impressions is due to psychological safety, it’s presence and absence.

Autistic people are psychological safety barometers, and we’ve turned classrooms into a hell for autism.

Further reading,

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Needed: Emergency Mutual Aid for the Painter of This Piece

Fellow Stimpunk Jasmine is a neurodivergent artist and mother who helps her son deliver care packages to hospitalized and chronically ill people.

Stimpunks Foundation and the family behind it only have so much budget, and we are encumbered by the laws against dealing to friends or family that apply to private family foundations. So, we’ll sometimes ask you to directly help out someone dear to us.

Send whatever you can to Jasmine to help her repair her car so she can work and take her son to school. Any amount helps.

CashApp: $Jasdwrites

Venmo: jasmine-slater-10


Jasmine is working on a strikingly composed hair pride piece and a piece inspired by Nina Simone. Buy her some room to breathe, and create, and feel good.

In a world & societies where autistic, neurodivergent and disabled lives are less valued and systemically gaslighted, abused and classed as less than, it is absolutely vital to keep speaking not just our truth for ourselves as individuals, but to platform and amplify each other.

Existential Autist ∞ on Twitter
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Can you see
You’d agree
Should be free
(Because if we ain’t, we’re murderers)

--I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone

One of the most punk angst people in history is Nina Simone.


She was neurodivergent and did her best work as an activist completely unaware she was bipolar and suffering from PTSD. As such, the disability community should embrace her as a savant in the wider sphere of neurodivergent people who demonstrate talent usually limited to the label autistic savant.

Nina Simone: Black Activist, Bipolar Savant | NOS Magazine

I sing from intelligence. I sing from letting them know that I know who they are and what they have done to my people around the world.

That’s not anger. Anger has its place. Anger has fire, and fire moves things, but I sing from intelligence. I don’t want them to think that I don’t know who they are.

Nina Simone on BBC HARDtalk, 1999
Black mother and daughter holding hands and wearing sparkling ball gowns and crowns
Black mother and daughter holding hands and wearing sparkling ball gowns and crowns

CashApp: $Jasdwrites

Venmo: jasmine-slater-10


We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.


As thanks for your help, whether you donate or amplify, we offer our gallery of sights, sounds, and words by our community of neurodivergent and disabled people.

Related reading,

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

DIY at the Edges at the Conference to Restore Humanity, July 25 – 28

Now we have the opportunity and understanding to move from emergency pandemic remote school and its pantomime of learning to purposefully designed online education spaces that are accessible, sustainable, and representative of the communities they serve. It’s time for the academic conference model to respond accordingly.

Conference to Restore Humanity: The Need

We’ll be iterating our Conference to Restore Humanity track, “DIY at the Edges: Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own”, up to the deadline while half our team is traveling across country for the next two weeks. Our regular trip from Austin to Boston Children’s so they can marvel at our neurodivergence is now. 😀

Surviving the Bipartisanship of Behaviorism by Rolling Our Own

To be hosted by the Ryan Boren, Inna Boren, Kristina Daniele & Chelsea Adams of Stimpunks. Stimpunks combine "stimming" with "punks" to advocate for neurodiversity and push back against systems that restrict our humanity and harm our unique identities.

Behaviorism is dead. Despite that. Behaviorism won. And neurodivergent and disabled students lost. Behaviorism is everywhere. The All Means All of public education is made meaningless by the bipartisanship of behaviorism. The neurodiversity and disability rights movements well-understand the ubiquity of behaviorism, and its tremendous costs. This course fights against behaviorist practices in the classroom.


Conference to Restore Humanity! is an international invitation for K-12 and college educators to engage in a human-centered system redesign: centering the needs of students and educators toward a praxis of social justice.

We are providing educators with the proper tools to build classroom environments that value the humanity of all involved. Our goal is to create a space that breeds innovation through like-minded individuals who draw upon hundreds of years of history and countless research studies. Over the course of four days (and more, if needed), educators will learn at their own pace in an in-depth track on progressive education.

Conference to Restore Humanity

Thorndike won, and Dewey lost. I don’t think you can understand the history of education technology without realizing this either. And I’d propose an addendum to this too: you cannot understand the history of education technology in the United States during the twentieth century – and on into the twenty-first – unless you realize that Seymour Papert lost and B. F. Skinner won.

B. F. Skinner: The Most Important Theorist of the 21st Century

Behaviorism is dead.

Despite that,

Behaviorism won.

And neurodivergent and disabled students lost.

Behaviorism is everywhere. The All Means All of public education is made meaningless by the bipartisanship of behaviorism.

There’s just one problem with Lakoff’s theory. An awful lot of people who are politically liberal begin to sound like right-wing talk-show hosts as soon as the conversation turns to children and parenting. It was this curious discrepancy, in fact, that inspired the book you are now reading.

I first noticed an inconsistency of this kind in the context of education. Have a look at the unsigned editorials in left-of-center newspapers, or essays by columnists whose politics are mostly progressive. Listen to speeches by liberal public officials. On any of the controversial issues of our day, from tax policy to civil rights, you’ll find approximately what you’d expect. But when it comes to education, almost all of them take a hard-line position very much like what we hear from conservatives. They endorse a top-down, corporate-style version of school reform that includes prescriptive, one-size-fits-all teaching standards and curriculum mandates; weakened job protection for teachers; frequent standardized testing; and a reliance on rewards and punishments to raise scores on those tests and compel compliance on the part of teachers and students.

The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting

This widespread adoption of a traditionalist perspective helps us to make sense of the fact that, on topics related to children, even liberals tend to hold positions whose premises are deeply conservative. Perhaps it works the other way around as well: The fact that people on the left and center find themselves largely in agreement with those on the right explains how the traditionalist viewpoint has become the conventional wisdom. Child rearing might be described as a hidden front in the culture wars, except that no one is fighting on the other side.

The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting

Mooney notes that “No Child Left Behind was perhaps the most damaging form of public policy as it pertained to public education and learning diversity that has happened in our history of education policy, and that was a bill that was sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy. It was a set of practices that was doubled down upon by the Obama administration.”

Normal Sucks: Author Jonathan Mooney on How Schools Fail Kids with Learning Differences

The neurodiversity and disability rights movements well-understand the ubiquity of behaviorism, and its tremendous costs.

Behaviorist education is ableist education.

Stimpunks Foundation exists because of a bipartisan embrace of “Empty Pedagogy, Behaviorism, and the Rejection of Equity”. Reframing away from behaviorism is urgently needed and essential.

Therefore, eugenics is an erasure of identity through force, whereas radical behaviorism is an erasure of identity through “correction.” This all assumes a dominant culture that one strives to unquestionably maintain.

Empty Pedagogy, Behaviorism, and the Rejection of Equity

We’ve been on quite a journey over the past 15 years, navigating increasingly ableist, behaviorist, and underfunded systems while contributing to the Neurodiversity movement and building community compatible with us.

We rolled our own education, because we had too. We built something compatible with neurodiversity and the social model of disability using the tools of distributed work and indie ed-tech.

We received a lot of help from human-centered educators along the way.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Lost In Translation: Ways in Which Neurodivergent and Neurotypical Social Languages Differ

We the neurodivergent are genetically different. We experience the world through a hypersensitive nervous system which informs every aspect of our thinking, our behavior, and our social values.

The dominant social group labels our way of being in the world as disordered because they don’t understand us. Even though they don’t understand, the dominant culture controls the narrative about our differences.

Society believes the experts who are not part of our culture, who see brokenness where there is order. We gradually start to believe the myths ourselves and lose all sense of self-esteem. We come to hate ourselves for being different.

They have largely not tried to understand the biological mechanisms that create our experience of self. Instead they have tried every means possible to force us to act neurotypical.

Some of us can pretend to be neurotypical, for a while, at great cost to our health and happiness, but we cannot change our neurotype. We are neurodivergent.

Our behavior and social values are different because the way we think is different. The way we think is different because our moment-to-moment experience of the world is different.

In this article, I’ll explain the key ways in which neurotypical and neurodivergent people misunderstand each other.

Lost in Translation: The Social Language Theory of Neurodivergence | by Trauma Geek | Medium

This is a great piece of research-storytelling from the intersections of neurobiology and sociology. I highly relate to all of it. Here are the 8 key ways that are covered:

  1. Emotions
  2. Empathy
  3. Nonverbal Communication and Body Cues
  4. Words Mean Things
  5. Social Rules
  6. A Different Value System
  7. Skills and Abilities
  8. Reactions to Stress, Pain, and Overwhelm

Read the whole thing, and follow the thoughtfully curated links.

Check out Trauma Geek for more great articles, including one on “Discovering a Trauma-Informed Positive Autistic Identity”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Missed in Childhood: Nearly All Autistic and ADHD Women

Our results indicate that there may be a substantial group of patients with ASD and other NDDs that are missed in childhood

Neurodevelopmental disorders and comorbidity in young adults attending a psychiatric outpatient clinic – ScienceDirect

Almost two thirds (63%) of the study group met criteria for ADHD or ASD. Most of the patients with NDD (particularly the “NDD females”) had not been diagnosed in childhood. Twelve percent of the females included had been given an ADHD diagnosis in childhood. In the current study we found that 48% of the females had ADHD. The high male:female NDD ratio reported among children, was not obvious in our NDD group. The results underscore the importance of screening for NDD in adult psychiatric services regardless of referral reason.

Neurodevelopmental disorders and comorbidity in young adults attending a psychiatric outpatient clinic – ScienceDirect

This paper on diagnosis of neurodivergence offers shocking confirmation of what neurodiversity communities have been saying: we’re missing a whole lot of people. Particularly women.

We are missing nearly all Autistic and ADHD women.

Content note: Medicalized language

NDD = Neurodevelopmental Disorders

AOP = Adult Outpatient Psychiatric 

More than two thirds of this young AOP clientele were diagnosed with a type of NDD. Almost two thirds of this young AOP clientele met criteria for ADHD or ASD (more than half meeting criteria for ADHD). The majority of these “NDD patients” (and particularly the women) had not been diagnosed in childhood. In addition, one third of the study group scored above cut off in the self-rating scale AUDIT, indicating risk use of alcohol, and although not significant, a high rate of those also fulfilled ADHD diagnosis. The NDD group (the vast majority of whom had ADHD, ASD or both) also usually met criteria for either affective, anxiety, OCD spectrum, or personality disorder.

When studying the prevalence of NDD within the more traditional psychiatric diagnoses we found that more than half of those with af- fective disorders, anxiety disorder, OCD spectrum, or personality disorders had an additional NDD. NDD was not as prevalent in the subgroup of those with eating disorder, however almost 30% in this group met criteria for an “additional” NDD. The results from our study accord well with the results from a recent study by Pehlivanidis et al. (2020) showing that adult patients with ADHD had a substantial co- morbidity with traditional psychiatric disorders (most commonly depression). For ADHD, the comorbidity rate with a traditional psychi- atric disorder was 73% and for ASD it was 50%. These traditional psy- chiatric diagnoses (affective disorders, anxiety disorders and/or personality disorders), are the ones most likely to be made in young AOP clientele, unless NDD is specifically considered and assessed for. What happens to all the young patients with these early onset developmental disorders in the transition from child and adolescent psychiatry and adult psychiatry? Is it possible that this group of patients have a certain kind of problems in childhood, but then change symptomatology when they grow up and end up with depression and anxiety instead? Or that adult psychiatrists when untrained or inexperienced in the field of NDD faced with young adult patients try to “fit them in” into diagnostic adult psychiatric diagnostic categories that they are familiar with? Our results support that there is a major comorbidity between NDD diagnosis and traditional adult psychiatric diagnosis. This may make it difficult to discover the underlying condition and might explain why NDD is underdiagnosed among adult patients (Fayyad et al., 2017).

Our results indicate that there may be a substantial group of patients with ASD and other NDDs that are missed in childhood. This is supported by the retrospective study of clinical charts of adults in two university services specialized in the assessment and treatment of adolescents and adults with ASD. They found that the mean age for the first formal ASD diagnosis was 22 years for men and 26 years for women (Fusar-Poli et al., 2020).

We found no gender difference regarding the rate of ASD after full assessment, suggesting that many female patients with ASD are missed in childhood, since studies from childhood show a male:female ratio of 3:1. (Loomes et al., 2017). Our results suggest also that female patients may be missed regarding ADHD in childhood, which have been reported in the study of Quinn et al. (2014). Only six percent of the females in our study had a previous ADHD diagnosis compared to 48% after full assessment in the study. The traditional gender ratio reported from childhood studies (Polanczyk et al., 2010) was not obvious in our NDD group. We found a trend for ADHD to be slightly more common in males but the difference was not significant.

We did not either find gender difference in the rate of previous NDD diagnosis established by external clinician when grouping all NDDs. However, more men than females had a previous ADHD diagnosis.

The results suggest the importance of screening for NDD, regardless of referral reason, in both adult psychiatric care and child and adolescent psychiatric care. The high rate found of women with NDD and additional psychiatric problems might suggest the notion that an early identification of NDD might have altered the outcome for this group.

Neurodevelopmental disorders and comorbidity in young adults attending a psychiatric outpatient clinic – ScienceDirect

Such staggering omission.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

May 2022, so far, at Stimpunks: New Pages for the Website

We started a Research page that opens with a spicy assessment of the status quo of autism studies, “Facts, Fire, and Feels: Research-Storytelling from the Edges“.

We started an Access page.

There’s a subpage dedicated to Healthcare Access.

There’s a subpage dedicated to Education Access.

There’s a page for Interaction Access.

And there’s a page dedicated to Identity First Language.

Those are all rough drafts that we’re iterating in the open.

On uplifting notes, our collaboration with Randimals is a nice change from the wildly painful work we do. Here’s a Weird Pride piece we’re working on.

Our new Stim page features the audio visual art of Stimpunk AJ. Mix your own experience.

We’ll be adding stimmy shares from the community that visitors to the page can mix and layer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vendetta Music Fest (and everyone else) vs. Our Loved People: They’re Promoting and Funding Ableism in Our Name

You can’t have our neurodivergent art while advocating to eliminate neurodivergent people.
We can’t keep Austin weird by eliminating weird from society and the gene pool.
We must combat ableism throughout the SxSW and Austin communities. It’s hard to enjoy the party when people keep fundraising for your abuse and thanking themselves for abusing you.

We, Stimpunks

TLDR: Donate for Anti-Ableism and Against Radical Behaviorism

TLDR: Donate to Autistic People of Color Fund because events during SxSW promote radical behaviorism.

To Vendetta Music Fest and ATX Event Systems

This is Ryan Boren of Stimpunks Foundation, a nonprofit foundation and community by and for Neurodivergent and Disabled people. Unlike the autism charities your organizations and events promote, we do not support abusive autistic conversion therapy or eugenics.

I can tell you why your neurodivergent artists and their allies are upset and leaving.

Read Engage with it openly and honestly.

Then ask yourself if you can support what these autism charities do to autistic people, who have been eloquent and overwhelming in describing the legacy of abuse of ABA and other autism therapies. We have ABA and radical behaviorism survivors here at Stimpunks.

But even more compelling is the testimony of young people who understand the reality of this approach better than anyone because they’ve been on the receiving end of it. It is nothing short of stunning to learn just how widely and intensely ABA is loathed by autistic adults who are able to describe their experience with it. Frankly, I’m embarrassed that, until about a year ago, I was completely unaware of all the websites, articles, scholarly essays, blog posts, Facebook pages, and Twitter groups featuring the voices of autistic men and women, all overwhelmingly critical of ABA and eloquent in describing the trauma that is its primary legacy.

How is it possible that their voices have not transformed the entire discussion? Suppose you participated in implementing a widely used strategy for dealing with homelessness, only to learn that the most outspoken critics of that intervention were homeless people. Would that not stop you in your tracks? What would it say about you if it didn’t? And yet the consistent, emphatic objections of autistic people don’t seem to trouble ABA practitioners at all. Indeed, one critical analysis of ethics in this field notes that “autistics have been excluded from all committees, panels, boards, etc., charged with developing, directing, and assessing ABA research and treatment programs.”

Alfie Kohn, Autism and Behaviorism
The Effects of Behavior-Based Models on Neurodevelopment and Learning

Behaviorism is a repudiation, an almost willful dismissal, of subjective experience.
— Alfie Kohn

This is a child’s heart in fight or flight mode, constantly, that is being bombarded with all these instructions and prompting.
— Professor Elizabeth Torres

Some artists have decided they cannot be party to funding ableism. We must elevate ableism as one of the injustices of the world. These artists would not do business with an event promoting racism. Likewise, they will not do business with an event promoting ableism.


  1. Oppression, prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination against disabled people on the basis of actual or presumed disability.
  2. The belief that people are superior or inferior, have better quality of life, or have lives more valuable or worth living on the basis of actual or perceived disability.

Source: Autistic Hoya – A blog by Lydia X. Z. Brown: Definitions

Will Vendetta Music Fest and it associates at ATX Event Systems change the charity for the event to one run by autistic people and supported by autistic communities?

Our communities are awaiting your reply. Our people who have survived the abuse y’all are about to celebrate and fund are waiting. Our neurodivergent artists who left in protest of this assault against our people are waiting. You can’t have our neurodivergent art while advocating to eliminate neurodivergent people.

Further, is a single autistic adult involved in planning this event that supposedly benefits us? I highly doubt it, because then you would know not to platform abusive therapies and eugenics universally rejected by us.

Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities and often rests on the assumption that disabled people need to be ‘fixed’ in one form or the other. Ableism is intertwined in our culture, due to many limiting beliefs about what disability does or does not mean, how able-bodied people learn to treat people with disabilities and how we are often not included at the table for key decisions.

Ableism – Center for Disability Rights

DisCrit empathizes with John Powell’s words, “I feel like I’ve been spoken for and I feel like I’ve been spoken about, but rarely do I feel like I’ve been spoken to” (cited in Dalton, 1987). A similar mantra in dis/ability rights circles, “Nothing about us, without us” (Charlton, 2000, p. 3), also speaks to this tenet. DisCrit, therefore, seeks to disrupt the tradition of ignoring the voices of traditionally marginalized groups and instead privileges insider voices (Matsuda, 1987).

DisCrit-Disability Studies and Critical Race Theory in Education (Disability, Culture, and Equity Series) (p. 21). Teachers College Press. Kindle Edition.

You’re throwing a party on the world stage of SxSW to fund our abuse and saying you’re doing it for us. It’s hurtful and obscene. Y’all are taking up all the autism fundraising that could be helping instead of hurting people.

And if it turns out that, contrary to widespread assumptions, behavior modification techniques aren’t supported by solid data even when used with autistic kids, why would we persist in manipulating anyone with positive reinforcement? A rigorous new meta-analysis utterly debunks the claim that applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is the only intervention for children with autism that’s “evidence-based.” In fact, it raises serious questions about whether ABA merits that description at all.

You might assume that those who use the phrase “evidence-based practice” (EBP) are offering a testable claim, asserting that the practices in question are supported by good data. In reality, the phrase is more of an all-purpose honorific, wielded to silence dissent, intimidate critics, and imply that anyone who criticizes what they’re doing is rejecting science itself. It’s reminiscent of the way a religious leader might declare that what we’ve been told to do is “God’s will”: End of discussion.

Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

I think we’re just going to have to let the term “evidence-based” go. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the extent to which a practice is described as evidence-based, and the quality of evidence supporting its use.

Dr. Kristen Bottema-Beutel on Twitter

We educate CEOs and organizations on this stuff. We would like to educate you so that you understand the harm you are enabling. Attempts so far have been dismissed, ignored, and blocked.

In the city of weird, y’all are funding and celebrating radical behaviorism and eugenics that seek to eliminate weird from society and the gene pool.

Every barrier that Autistic adults break down today is one that Autistic children will not face tomorrow.

When I was a little girl, I was autistic. And when you’re autistic, it’s not abuse. It’s therapy.

ABA is a dinosaur.

Until ABA updates its scientific methods, its functions of behavior, and incorporates modern day psychology – including neurology, child development, educational psychology, and other vital research – it cannot be considered to be a safe, effective, or ethical field.

Behaviorism Is Dead. How Do We Tell the (Autism) Parents?

Note: A representative of Vendetta Music Fest directly contacting neurodivergent artists was sent several revisions of this draft over the course of days. The progression of the drafts showed the processing and refining of our pain and anger and hope and despair into what you read now. They were offered opportunity to provide feedback and an official statement. They were given our targeted publication time. We offered honest, candid, and vulnerable communication, as is the way of our people. They went silent and had not replied at time of press, as is the way of too many.

The stress of this has been immense. I’m burnt out.

“A state of pervasive exhaustion, loss of function, increase in autistic traits, and withdrawal from life that results from continuously expending more resources than one has coping with activities and environments ill-suited to one’s abilities and needs.” In other words, autistic burnout is the result of being asked to continuously do more than one is capable of without sufficient means for recovery.

 THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM: Autistic Burnout: An Interview With Researcher Dora Raymaker

“Being autistic has always given me a strong sense of justice and fairness, and a burning drive to do the right thing and to fight for it, even when it seems like struggling against the weight of the world. This seems very related to my extreme empathy, which is also tied to my experience of being autistic.”
“Knowing that injustice or violence exist anywhere is deeply painful for me, whether it directly targets me or not, and I believe that I must do anything within my capacity to work for a world where none of us have to be afraid anymore. If I were not autistic, I am certain I would not have the same drive as I do now.”

7 activists tell us the best thing about living with autism

To SxSW Community

We must combat ableism throughout the SxSW and Austin communities. It’s hard to enjoy the party when people keep fundraising for your abuse and thanking themselves for abusing you. It’s hard to enjoy SxSW Edu when it also needs to be tended for radical behaviorism. See for our upcoming track at Conference to Restore Humanity on this very issue. Mainstream ed-tech is dominated by behaviorism that should not be platformed. It teaches educators to systematically abuse us. The deficit model is a business model, and ed-tech is a monster.

The number of autistic young people who stop attending mainstream schools appears to be rising.

My research suggests these absent pupils are not rejecting learning but rejecting a setting that makes it impossible for them to learn.

We need to change the circumstances.

Walk in My Shoes – The Donaldson Trust

There are monsters because there is a lack of care and an absence of justice in the work we do in education and education technology.

 The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology

SxSW should be a venue for being different. It is, but also isn’t, not for us, the most different. You are trying to correct and prevent us instead of help us be our authentic selves, selves that are accepted despite our spiky profiles, inability to speak, and inability to tie shoelaces.

Is Stephen Hawking low-functioning? Is being able to tie one’s shoes the pinnacle of human achievement?

We’ve been on quite a journey trying to change things, especially here in Austin. But it’s so hard to compete with these highly profitable non-disabled led charities. They can be so distracting. Disability led orgs find ourselves battling them instead of doing the work we set out to do.

SxSW seems like a likely ally for neurodivergent people such as ourselves. We are looking for support in building spaces where we can show up, be who we are, and share our art without being distracted by our oppressors who still find ways of overshadowing and silencing us.

To Certain Former Partners

Imagine-a-Way Foundation funds and promotes autistic conversion therapy.

The Broad Institute effectively practices eugenics.

You advertised them on your flyers, after being told about the psychological scarring and long lasting harmful effects. That really hurt. Seeing those images on your flyer broke me, because it made clear how little people care. I regret coming at y’all so hard with an early and emotional draft of this piece, but I felt that hurt deeply. I’m sorry if I hurt you deeply.

Your response to us explaining the harm on your flyer was to block us.

To All

We exist as friction. The work that I do; it’s wildly painful.

Changing the Disability Design Narrative – UX Cake Podcast

Blocked. Ignored. Dismissed. Abandoned by allies who can’t leave money on the table. Allies who won’t take the least little risk on our behalf. Who won’t speak a single challenging word to power. Who will never take a role in social change. Who will never pressure the status quo.

Over and over, because few care. Ableism doesn’t count. We’ve been on quite a journey getting anyone to care about the funding and platforming of ableism and radical behaviorism in our community, facing ableist aggression, micro and macro, along the way. Presumed incompetent because we use a wheelchair. Presumed drunk or on drugs and denied opportunity and audience when we slur our speech even after informing people we’re neurodivergent. Yelled at to neurological consequence. Presumed all kinds of ignorant things when we tell someone we are autistic.

Few really give a shit about the truly weird in the city of weird. Autistic children are just marketing and grist for industry as everybody hustles to bank on our misery.

Against all that, we exist and resist as friction.

If we were not threatening to the social order in some way, there would not be therapies designed to control how we move our bodies and communicate.


Very Grand Emotions

Society feels thoughtlessly and consistently sub-ethical and uncurious compared to our very grand emotions.

Justice, equality, fairness, mercy, longsuffering, Work, Passion, knowledge, and above all else, Truth. Those are my primary emotions.

Very Grand Emotions: How Autistics and Neurotypicals Experience Emotions Differently » NeuroClastic

Black and White

This is the clincher. You have to live up to autistic standards of honesty if you are to convince us to follow a different path or to change our minds.

If you aren’t willing to make sure that what you ask of us or want us to believe is reasonable, fair and true, then you won’t have our respect and the relationship is doomed.

The influences that distort the morality of those around us simply don’t penetrate our conscious minds.

Let’s get black and white.

If you wouldn’t support gay conversion therapy, you shouldn’t support autistic conversion therapy.

Autistic and queer folks share some dark history-and some bad actors. Chapter 7 of NeuroTribes, Fighting the Monster, shares the legacy of Ole Ivar Lovaas, the twisted father of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and conversion therapy. He applied his abusive, torturous techniques to autistic kids and “sissy boys” to make them “indistinguishable from their peers“. He had little regard for their humanity-they were engineering projects.

Neurodiversity and Gender Non-conformity, Dysphoria and Fluidity

Everyone involved in Vendetta Music Fest and other events platforming radical behaviorism and eugenics has an important ethical decision to make. Show them so they can make that decision informed.

I will move carefully and fix things. I will make things that help people, and I will not make things that harm people. I will bake ethics into everything I do.

Creed – Stimpunks Foundation

What’s your creed?

What do you call the suppression and elimination of an identity group, of a community, of a culture, of a people?

I call it violent bigotry.

Violent bigotry against our loved people.

Do you support violent bigotry against neurominorities?

That is the question. That is what it boils down to. explains why.

Therefore, eugenics is an erasure of identity through force, whereas radical behaviorism is an erasure of identity through “correction.” This all assumes a dominant culture that one strives to unquestionably maintain.


Use Your Power; Ethics are Demonstrated

Every single one of us has a moral obligation to use whatever resources we have – time, money, knowledge, skills, emotional energy, access to physical resources – … in service of justice, and fighting against injustice and oppression and violence in all of its forms, structural and individual, subtle and overt.

Making Work Accessible, Wherever it Happens –

Just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.

Toni Morrison Talks Love

Those associated with events supporting harmful autism charities have a chance to demonstrate that you don’t support profiting off and funding the misery of our people. You have a chance to take an ethical stand, of whatever size you can take. You have a chance to help out the punks. Even after these events conclude, build pressure by letting organizers know you don’t like their choices and behavior. Become an ally to people so marginalized that abusive therapies were invented to control how we move and speak. Be help against the onslaught, not part of the onslaught.

I would like to honour all the autistic people who survive the care system somehow.

All those who survive extreme ‘therapy’.

All those who are brought to their knees, reading hellish descriptions of their loved people.

And all who did not survive this onslaught.


Read Read our Mission page. Read our Creed. That’s worth fighting for, with whatever power you have. Little acts of pressure against power add up. Without y’all, we are easy to ignore.

You Can’t Have This Art

These artists did the work of allies. They used what power they had to talk to organizers about our concerns and then pulled their art, leaving money on the table. Doing the first is what we ask all allies. Doing the second is next level. Our thanks to them is bottomless. Few choose to be allies. Fewer still take action like these folks have. They are going to bat for some of the most marginalized people on earth. They load-shared our burden of existing as friction.

Those with the least power in the industry of SxSW are making the biggest sacrifices. Ain’t it the way?

They platform our destruction. We build community in response.

These artists did what they could to exert pressure. You don’t have to pull your work to join us. We know you gotta eat in this dystopian world. Just talk to the organizers and say you are not okay with this and maybe even say you won’t work with them in the future if their events fund against autistic community preferences. Heck, just reading this far merits some ally cookies. Thank you, thank you, thank you for witnessing our appeal.

Now, feast your senses.

Anti-Ableist Art

These artists join us in a message of anti-ableism and celebration.

Heike Blakley is a self-taught, emerging artist working with a wide array of mediums such as acrylic, oil, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, pastel, mixed media, pen & ink.

Also specializing in resin art, jewelry making, woodwork, clay sculptures, fabric art and poetry.

Using her creativity as a form of learning and for meditative purposes, she is determined to, “absorb as much “collective knowledge,” as she is able to grasp in one lifetime and effectively communicate understanding through art.”

Home | Heike Blakley, Heike Vogt (@hblkly) • Instagram

The artist hopes to convey this: that the universe is given forth folded and unfolded. Although explicit understanding helps, it is too cumbersome, and should only provide refinement to something already greater that exists.
That greater thing is what was given to the artist first by the practice of origami. An enlivening of the intuitive mind, experience with a universe of many dimensions, and the promise of creation revealed when one folds a flat square into the likeness of a higher dimensional thing. That inspiration reaches a young mind in a powerful way.
The artist wants the viewer to see proof of what their intuitive mind already knows is true, the universe is a multidimensional phenomenon and the ability to understand its nature already exists within us each.
The artist hopes the viewer will be inspired to seek the understanding of freedoms available to the individual inspired by the exposure to artistic expressions, and of a nature of dimensionality unimaginably greater than the object presented here.

Adriel Jeremiah Wool
Pseudo Proxima by Adriel Jeremiah Art

Raised between the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and a small farming community in Wisconsin, Kyle gained an appreciation of the land, wildlife and the beauty of nature.  Kyle grew up as a 3rd generation artist, his grandfather was an oil painter and his mother ran a stained glass business out of their home in Wisconsin.  There was no shortage of art projects, outdoor activities, hunting, fishing, camping and gardening.  Post college, Kyle traveled and moved back to Colorado, Seattle and now Austin.  He has been living in downtown cities since college.  The clash of these two timelines reflects the duality expression in most of his work. This duality can also be seen through his passion for the skate, snow, music, tattoo and architecture world.

Custom Artwork | Cryptic Creative | Austin
Kyle Duce (@cryptic_creative) • Instagram photos

More artists coming as we gather images, bios, rights, and informed consent.

Special thanks to the artists at PunkFlowers–a neurodiverse artist coalition led by neurodivergent and disabled people–who have been steady allies through all of this. We are allies in return. We got your backs.

The marginalized are the only ones helping the marginalized. Again, ain’t it the way?

We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community which allows us to continue our struggle and work.

The Combahee River Collective Statement – COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE

A Good Autism Charity

The Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence

The Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment exists to provide direct support, mutual aid, and reparations by and for autistic people of color.

Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment

Join Stimpunks Foundation in donating to the Autistic People of Color Fund. They are a legitimate autism charity run by and for autistic people. Your money will help instead of harm when sent to Lydia.

Give to the Fund

The Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment practices redistributive justice and mutual aid by returning and sharing money directly to and with autistic people of color. We provide microgrants to Black, Brown, Native, Asian, and mixed-race people in the autistic community for survival, organizing, leisure, and pleasure.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Navigating Stimpunks

Need financial aid to pay for bills or medical equipment? Visit our guide to requesting aid.


Need funds for your art, advocacy, or research? Visit our guide to requesting creator grants.


Want to volunteer? Visit our guide to volunteering.


Need a table of contents and a guide to our information rich website? Visit our map.