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Listen to the individual, work together, and follow expert advice to support autistic people questioning their gender.
Gender nonconformity, dysphoria, and fluidity are oft discussed in Neurodiversity is the diversity of human minds, the infinite variation in neurocognitive functioning within our species.NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodiversity is a biological fact. It’s not a perspective, an approach, a... What I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/.... Neurodivergent people are more likely than the general population to be gender non-conforming. Many prominent autistic self-advocates identify as intersex, non-binary, asexual, aromantic, transgender, and genderqueer.
People who do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth are three to six times as likely to be autistic as cisgender people are, according to the largest study yet to examine the connection1. Gender-diverse people are also more likely to report Autistic ways of being are human neurological variants that can not be understood without the social model of disability.If you are wondering whether you are Autistic, spend time amongst Autistic people, online and offline. If... traits and to suspect they have undiagnosed autism.
“All these findings across Our friends and allies at Randimals have a saying, What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.Randimals We agree. Randimals are made up of two different animals... datasets tend to tell a similar story,” says study investigator Varun Warrier, research associate at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Autistic people are more likely than The existence of the word neurotypical makes it possible to have conversations about topics like neurotypical privilege. Neurotypical is a word that allows us to talk about members of the... people to be gender diverse, several studies show, and gender-diverse people are more likely to have autism than are cisgender people2,3.Largest study to date confirms overlap between autism and gender diversity
We like to think of neurodiversity as a In the broadest sense, the social model of disability is about nothing more complicated than a clear focus on the economic, environmental and cultural barriers encountered by people who are... umbrella that, when opened to its broadest, includes Queer people.
It’s a double rainbow all the way.
Here comes the sun It's shining right through you On everyone You came in so hot You broke the ice up Feeling so strong I got to shine on Through all the black and blue I got it from you It hits so hard with all the colors that there are I want to know you I want to see the sound You're like a rainbow But not the same though
I got to shine on Through all the black and blue I got it from you It hits so hard with all the colors that there are Here comes the sun It's shining right through you On everyone It hits so hard with all the colors that there are You hit so hard with all the colors that there are --Rainbow Shiner by Ex Hex
Genderpunk: a colloquial term for culture and resistance against gendernormativity; an identity that in and of itself is a resistance against gender norms, homophobia and transphobia, oppression and societal status...: a colloquial term for culture and resistance against gendernormativity; an identity that in and of itself is a resistance against gender norms, homophobia and transphobia, oppression and societal status.
Your gender has nothing to do with your eligibility to be Due both to their ability to denaturalize social norms and to their neurological differences, autistic individuals can offer novel insights into gender as a social process. Examining gender from an.... If you agree with the The marketing of mindsets was everywhere this year: “How to Develop Mindsets for Compassion and Caring in Students.” “Building A Tinkering Mindset In Young Students Through Making.” “6 Must-Haves for..., no matter how you identify, you can be a part of the movement.Have A Gay Day : What is ‘Genderpunk’?
Here comes Dick, he's wearing a skirt Here comes Jane, y'know she's sporting a chain Same hair, revolution Same build, evolution Tomorrow who's gonna fuss? And they love each other so Androgynous Closer than you know, love each other so Androgynous
Don't get him wrong and don't get him mad He might be a father, but he sure ain't a dad And she don't need advice that's sent at her She's happy with the way she looks, she's happy with her gender And they love each other so Androgynous Closer than you know, love each other so Androgynous
Mirror image, see no damage See no evil at all Kewpie dolls and urine stalls will be laughed at The way you're laughed at now Now, something meets Boy, and something meets Girl They both look the same, they're overjoyed in this world Same hair, revolution Unisex, evolution Tomorrow who's gonna fuss --Androgynous by The Replacements
Content Note: able·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ nounA system of assigning value to people's bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply..., Ultimately behaviorism provides a simplistic lens that can’t see beyond itself.Why is the doctrine of behaviorism still being used, at all?How can ABA be the gold-standard for autism when it..., Ultimately behaviorism provides a simplistic lens that can’t see beyond itself.Why is the doctrine of behaviorism still being used, at all?How can ABA be the gold-standard for autism when it..., conversion therapy, homophobia, transphobia, abuse, dysphoria, suicide
- Queer and Neurodivergent Liberation Are Entwined
- Gender Variance
- Our Dual Identities Are Not Competing; They Are Complementary
- Gender Copia and Bricolage
- I Don’t Feel Like a Gender, I Feel Like Myself
- Minority Stress
- Autigender and Neuroqueer: Two Words on the Relationship Between Autism and Gender That Fit Me
- Bird, You Can Fly
- The Malfunction Isn’t Us, It’s all the Clamor and the Fuss
Queer and Neurodivergent Liberation Are Entwined
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.
Silberman, Steve (2015-08-25). NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (p. 285). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
A brief thread about why the fates of LGBTQ+ and #ActuallyAutistic people are intertwined (to say nothing of LGBTQ+ autistic people). This right here is Ole Ivar Lovaas, the father of modern-day Applied Behavioral Analysis.
For the first week of #Pride2022: a brief thread about why the fates of LGBTQ+ and #ActuallyAutistic people are intertwined (to say nothing of LGBTQ+ autistic people). This right here is Ole Ivar Lovaas, the father of modern-day Applied Behavioral Analysis. 1/
Lovaas ran a clinic at UCLA, where autistic children were slapped, administered shock therapy. LIFE Magazine profiled his practices in 1965, showing how one girl was taken to a “shock room” when she made little progress.
When children behaved well, they were given food and affection. Children were initially not given regular meals and only spoonfuls of food at first.
Lovaas had an extremely low opinion of his autistic patients. In a 1974 interview, he demeaned autistic people Self-stimulatory behavior, also known as stimming and self-stimulation, is the repetition of physical movements, sounds, or words, or the repetitive movement of objects Stimming - Wikipedia Autistic adults highlighted the importance of stimming as... (which we now know is a means of soothing). He also called them “little monsters.”
But Lovaas’s practice did not just end when it came to autistic children. As @stevesilberman wrote in his book #NeuroTribes, he also assisted with UCLA’s Feminine Boy Project, which sought to cure boys of atypical sexuality, including homosexuality.
Lovaas and Rekers’ practices bore stunning similarities to Lovaas’s practices on autistic children. Poor Kirk’s parents were instructed to use poker chips. Blue poker chips were used as a reward to get candy while red chips meant he would be spanked.
The red poker chips were given when he displayed feminine behavior. The whippings were so unbearable that Kirk’s brother would hide the red chips. Kirk later joined the US Armed forced before he later died from suicide.
All the while, Rekers and Lovaas’s research was used to show that conversion therapy worked. Rekers would co-found the Family Research Council, which opposes LGBTQ+ rights. More on Kirk’s tragic end here.
People might wonder why I, a cisgender heterosexual from the suburbs of Southern California, included queer history in a book about autism. THIS is why. The same people who want to stop queer kids from being themselves are the same ones who want to stop me from flapping my hands
Conversely, when I first moved to Washington, the gay What I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/... openly embraced me and getting to know gay people helped me shed my own homophobia AND my internalized ableism. It’s why transphobia also bugs me so much.Eric Michael Garcia on Twitter
Protecting queer kids protects also neurodivergent kids—and vice versa. The fight is for inclusion and acceptance—for all operating systems, for all of our different ways of being human. Supporting our kids means supporting all of their possibilities and expressions.
But I don't need a cure for me I don't need it No, I don't need a cure for me I don't need it No, I don't need a cure for me I don't need it I don't need it Please, no cure for me Please, no cure for me --Cure for Me by AURORA
“Cure for Me” is very much inspired by conversion therapy.
I just wanted to make an anthem for people to sing along with that they know they don’t need a cure.
It doesn’t take much before the world tells you that you’re different, and that you should change yourself to be the same as everybody else, which is very sad.AURORA “Cure For Me” Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified
She is our miscreant She is our detox She is our dagger in the dark She is the knot mess She is the undressed She is the boy borne in my heart While you sit on the fence I will burn in hell
Research that aimed to preserve autistic perspectives (Kourti & MacLeod, 2019) found that autistic perceptions of gender identity are far more diverse, and put interests, rather than gender identity, at the core of autistic people’s identity perception. Furthermore, autistic people often state repeatedly in their accounts how confusing and emotionally taxing ‘doing gender’ is for them, explaining why they may explicitly reject being confined to traditional and binary gender norms (Davidson & Tamas, 2016).Working with Autistic Transgender and Non-Binary People
Children on the autism spectrum are more than seven times more likely to show signs of gender variance, according to a study led by New York University. The study, published last month in Transgender Health, recruited the parents of 492 autistic children ages six to 18. When the researchers asked these parents whether their children often “wish to be the opposite sex,” a little over five percent of participants said yes, compared to less than one percent of the general population. Bolstering these findings is the fact that a previous study from the Children’s National Medical Center in 2014 found almost the exact same results. The NYU study found that 5.1 percent of children on the autism spectrum showed signs of gender variance. The 2014 study put that number down at 5.4 percent.
Both studies show that counselors working with autistic children should ask about their gender identity. Being both autistic and gender non-conforming, some children face a double-challenge in responding to society’s biases.
Over the past decade, people with gender dysphoria have developed new ways of expressing their sense of self. Whereas many once identified as transsexual or transgender, some now call themselves ‘genderqueer’ or ‘non-binary.’ Rates of autism and autism traits appear to be higher in those identifying as genderqueer. Like Ollie, these people generally say they don’t feel fully masculine or feminine, and explicitly reject the notion of two mutually exclusive genders. The word ‘trans’ is often used to encompass all of these identities and the phrase ‘affirmed gender’ to convey a person’s sense of self.
Inspired by the Dutch study, Strang and his colleagues approached prevalence from another angle. Instead of measuring the incidence of autism among gender-dysphoric children and adolescents, they assessed gender variance — defined as a child “wishing to be the other sex” — in children with autism. “We found rates that were 7.5 times higher than expected,” Strang says.
Others agree with these insights. A 2015 study by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital reported that 23.1 percent of young people presenting with gender dysphoria at a gender clinic there had possible, likely or very likely Asperger syndrome, as measured by the Asperger Syndrome Diagnostic Scale, even though few had an existing diagnosis. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend routine autism screening at gender clinics.
Gender norms should not be imposed on people with autism to make the We urgently need a society that's better at letting people get the rest they need.Fergus Murray WIP by Kristina Daniele I’m in pain. Mental. Physical. The result’s the same. Retreating... of the world more comfortable. Why teach girls with autism how to apply makeup, dress in a feminine manner and shop? Therapists, educators and parents only consider these to be important goals because our society imposes strict gender norms.
“Having autism is a burden; a lot of things in the world change when you have autism,” says Strang. “But adding transgenderism, or maybe some of them aren’t transgender but they are just exploring gender, that is complicated in itself.”
Shumer says it is important that parents and medical providers be aware of the increased possibility for co-occurrence of autism and gender variance. If treating patients for one condition, they should screen for the other and be prepared to treat it. “There also may be implications for how to provide informed consent for things like hormonal interventions,” he adds.
Lovaas’s crusade to “normalize” deviance was not limited to autistic children. In the 1970s, he lent his expertise to a series of experiments called the Feminine Boy Project, the brainchild of UCLA psychologist Richard Green. After interviewing one hundred men and women who applied for gender reassignment surgery, Green became interested in tracing the roots of sexual identity back to childhood. He teamed up with Lovaas to see if operant conditioning could be employed as an early intervention in cases of gender confusion to prevent the need for reassignment surgery in the future. The project’s most celebrated success story was Kirk Andrew Murphy, enrolled at UCLA by his parents at age five. Bright and precocious, Kirk would ask for his favorite snacks by their brand names at the supermarket. But after seeing Green interviewed on TV about “sissy-boy syndrome”— his term for early-onset gender dysphoria— Kirk’s parents became concerned that he was exhibiting behavior that was inappropriate for a little boy. One day, his father caught him posing in the kitchen in a long T-shirt and saying, “Isn’t my dress pretty?” Children with this syndrome, Green claimed, often grew up to become transsexual or homosexual. Lovaas assigned a young graduate student named George Rekers to become Kirk’s behavioral therapist.Silberman, Steve (2015-08-25). NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (pp. 319-320). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
In a case report that would go on to become a classic in undergraduate psychology courses, Rekers and Lovaas wrote that Kirk (called “Kraig”) possessed “a remarkable ability to mimic all the subtle feminine behaviors of an adult woman.” They When we successfully reframe public discourse, we change the way the public sees the world. We change what counts as common sense. Because language activates frames, new language is required... his “offer to ‘help mommy’ by carrying her purse” as an example of the boy’s devious manipulation of his mother to “satisfy his feminine interests.” Their descriptions of the little boy’s behavior, compared with the transcripts of Green’s intake interviews with Kirk’s parents, were decidedly more extreme, as if the boy were clearly a world-class drag queen in the making at age five. They claimed that he had an elaborate “history of cross-dressing” that included plundering his grandmother’s makeup kit for cosmetics and “swishing around the home and clinic, fully dressed as a woman with a long dress, wig, nail polish, high screechy voice, [and] slovenly seductive eyes.” (In family photographs, Kirk more resembles a Mouseketeer.)Silberman, Steve (2015-08-25). NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (pp. 319-320). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
To nip the little boy’s inappropriate behavior in the bud, they devised a program of total immersion based on Lovaas’s work on autism. This time, instead of hand-flapping, gaze aversion, and Echolalia is the repetition of sound, words, phrases. For example: repeating a phrase you've just heard, repeating a line from your favourite film, repeatedly pressing a button on a device..., the behaviors targeted for extinction included the “limp wrist,” the submissively yielding “hand clasp,” the notorious “swishy gait,” the girlish “hyperextension” of the limbs in moments of exuberance, and prissy declarations like “goodness gracious” and “oh, dear me.” At home, Kirk’s “masculine” behaviors were rewarded with blue chips that could be redeemed for candy and other treats, while his “feminine” behaviors were punished with red chips that were subtracted from the total. In interviews conducted by blogger Jim Burroway, who undertook a thorough investigation of the case in 2011, Kirk’s brother, Mark, recalled their father punishing the boy— with Rekers’s approval— by converting each red chip into a “swat.” Mark broke down sobbing as he confessed to hiding red chips from his brother’s pile so that Kirk wouldn’t have to endure the abuse.
And research supports the idea that a large swath of genderqueer people are also autistic. In 2014, a survey in the Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that “gender variance was 7.59 times more common in participants with ASD than in a large non-referred comparison group.” Gender variance is defined as “an umbrella term used to describe gender identity, expression, or behavior that falls outside of culturally defined norms associated with a specific gender,” according to Pediatric Annals. Another article published in LGBT Health in 2019 found that children who were diagnosed as autistic were four times more likely to experience gender dysphoria.We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation
Price, Devon. Unmasking Autism (p. 51 – 53). Harmony/Rodale. Kindle Edition.
If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman My mother once told me she would have named me Laura I would grow up to be strong and beautiful like her One day, I’d find an honest man to make my husband We would have two children, build our home on the Gulf of Mexico
Our family would spend hot summer days at the beach together The sun would kiss our skin as we played in the sand and water We would know we loved each other without having to say it At night, we would sleep with the windows of our house left open Letting the cool ocean air soothe the sunburned shoulders of our children
Our Dual Identities Are Not Competing; They Are Complementary
Don’t use this information to “blame” trans identity on autism. Don’t threaten identity or reduce agency.
To blame trans identities on autism is to say that autistic people cannot understand or be aware of their own gender. If an autistic person cannot know they are trans, how can they know they aren’t? How can they know anything about themselves?
When a person’s gender is doubted because they are autistic, this paves the way for removing autistic people’s agency in all kinds of other ways. If we can’t know this central aspect of our identity, we surely can’t know how we feel, what we like, or who we are. In short, it implies that we are not truly people, and that our existence, experiences, and identities are for other people to define. This is just another facet of dehumanising autistic people, and gender is certainly not the only area in which this happens.
In itself, the very urge to find a ‘reason’ that someone is transgender is a result of believing that being transgender is a problem, and that it would always be better not to be. The fact that clinicians like Zucker are focused on why someone is transgender, instead of focusing on what kind of help they need and how to best provide it, demonstrates clearly the belief that it is fundamentally bad to be transgender. Not only that, but the belief that it’s even theoretically possible for anyone besides the individual in question to know what someone’s gender is. That’s just not how gender works! No-one really understand what gender is, or what it means, or where it comes from. The only thing we know for sure is that it’s internal, subjective, and personal. You can’t prove or test someone else’s gender any more than you can prove or test their favourite colour. The idea that it can be tested is constantly used to invalidate trans people. Our genders are doubted or disbelieved if we fail to adequately ‘prove’ ourselves to everyone else – if we express too many or too few gender stereotypes, if we are too old or too young, if we claim to be nonbinary or our description of our identity is too complicated or confusing.
The best option is to allow someone to explore their feelings, support them in gaining self-understanding, and accept their identity whatever it turns out to be. It is not complicated, and it’s only scary if you are still holding onto the belief that being either autistic or transgender – or, perish the thought, both – is a terrible thing to be. Which it’s not. I am, along with countless others like me, living proof of that.
“Too frequently, autistic people are denied basic rights to make decisions about our own bodies and health care, including when it comes to expressing our gender identity,” said Sam Crane, Legal Policy Director for the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. “Whether we’re transgender or not, autistic people’s gender identities are as real as anyone else’s and should be respected and supported, not dismissed based on baseless stereotypes.”
Few people listen to autistic transgender people or ask them their reasons for transitioning. Their dual identities are not competing; they are complementary. The acceptance of each affords transgender autistic people new freedoms they otherwise would not have. A lot of the bias against this population is also rooted in the idea that autistic people cannot understand what is in their own best interests. This pernicious ableism compounded with transphobia implies that autistic people cannot understand their own gender identity. Still, autistic people know what they want and need. They are the ones who know best about their identities and how to ensure that their bodies line up with what is in their minds. The only thing they need from other people is affirmation and support.We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation
Now I am home I can feel wind on my skin Feel true love from within battle scars Now I'm reborn Can occupy space in my body Surgery gave me freedom How long can you put up With doctors making decisions about your life My body, my choices I am so fed up Of asking for approval and being doubted Seen as abnormal Now I am home I can feel wind on my skin Feel true love from within battle scars Now I'm reborn Can occupy space in my body Surgery gave me freedom
No more waking up at 3 o' clock Panic mode, trying to accept this body is yours Seeing in the window of a crowded street 'I'm still not as flat as the boy next to me' Your binder in the closet, it gave you too much pain But mentally this is suffocating too in a way There's no one here, no one there, No one that looks like you, Your life is the joke in a hollywood cartoon Home I've been searching for it Like a snail, lost without it Home I've been searching for it Now I have found my Home I can feel wind on my skin Feel true love from within battle scars Now I'm reborn Can occupy space in my body Surgery gave me freedom --Reborn by Eyemèr
Gender Copia and Bricolage
The deconstruction has begun Time for me to fall apart And if you think that it was rough I tell you nothing changes Till you start to break it down And break apart I'll break apart I'll break apart Right now it's going to start I'll break apart The reconstruction will begin Only when there's nothing left But little pieces on the floor They're made of what I was Before I had to break it down --The Deconstruction by The Eels
A friend shared “Gender Copia: Feminist Rhetorical Perspectives on an Autistic Concept of Sex/Gender: Women’s Studies in Communication: Vol 35, No 1” in response to my “Autigender and Neuroqueer: Two Words on the Relationship Between Autism and Gender That Fit Me” piece. I really like this graf:
Gender Copia: Feminist Rhetorical Perspectives on an Autistic Concept of Sex/Gender: Women’s Studies in Communication: Vol 35, No 1
Confronting and denaturalizing social norms describes the terrain of many autistic lives. We’re social construct canaries.
The article goes on to propose a gender copia that sounds like our kind of In the arts, bricolage (French for "DIY" or "do-it-yourself projects") is the construction or creation of a work from a diverse range of things that happen to be available, or....
The sources considered here imply not a binary model (masculine=feminine) or even a view of gender as a continuum, but something more like a copia, the rhetorical term Erasmus used to describe the practice of selecting ‘‘certain expressions and mak[ing] as many variations of them as possible’’ (17). Copia provides a strategy of invention, a rhetorical term for the process of generating ideas. To be specific, copia involves proliferation, multiplying possibilities so as to locate the range of persuasive options available to a rhetor. I find the concept of invention fitting to describe the kind of rhetoric in which many autistic individuals engage when they discuss sex and gender, a rhetoric we might consider, following Mary Hawkesworth, a feminist rhetoric, insofar as it seeks to ‘‘call worlds into being, inscribe new orders of possibility, validate When we successfully reframe public discourse, we change the way the public sees the world. We change what counts as common sense. Because language activates frames, new language is required... of reference and forms of explanation, and reconstitute histories serviceable for present and future projects’’ (1988).
Individuals who find themselves engaged in this rhetorical search for terms with which to understand themselves can draw on a wide array of terms or representations, such as genderqueer, transgendered, femme, butch, boi, neutrois, androgyne, bi- or tri-gender, third gender, and even geek.Gender Copia: Feminist Rhetorical Perspectives on an Autistic Concept of Sex/Gender: Women’s Studies in Communication: Vol 35, No 1
I Don’t Feel Like a Gender, I Feel Like Myself
The discussion looks at how autistic people are sometimes forced to act in certain ways to fit in, and how this can make them feel confused and depressed. The research design was led by the participants and this meant that a group who have rarely been asked their opinion were able to have a say.
Notably, all participants in this discussion felt that they did not relate to the typical presentation and activities of the female gender.“I Don’t Feel Like a Gender, I Feel Like Myself”: Autistic Individuals Raised as Girls Exploring Gender Identity
A number of participants described occasionally enjoying activities that they considered to be typically female as well as activities they considered to be typically male:
Most participants reported having a fluid sense of gender, being gender-queer, or feeling male and female and seeing others in the same way. For example, Clare described:
An absence of a sense of gender or being unsure of how their gender should ‘‘feel’’ was another common report:
Many participants also described feeling agender or not identifying with a gender:
Only one participant reported themselves as being trans- gender:
Participants also noted that some of their experiences reflected prevalent attitudes when they were children. As Sally reflected:
Participants also described ‘‘masking’’ their autistic be- haviors during childhood but tended to view this as some- thing they resisted as adults.
Participants also discussed how discovering their autistic identity has helped them accepting themselves. Sally said:
Of particular note is the extent to which interests played a role in defining both gender identity and identity in general. Most participants within this study characterized their sense of identity as ‘‘fluid’’ and defined more from their interests:
Participants also discussed ways in which the discovery of their autistic identity had helped them to accept themselves. Sally wrote:
These accounts, although very different, conveyed a common experience of individuals finding themselves unable to identify with the typical gender expectations within their environments, and their individual struggles to make sense of themselves against these.
Participants in this study provided powerful narratives de- scribing feelings of alienation provoked by the pressure to con- form to ‘‘gender-typical’’ and ‘‘neurotypical’’ expectations of them. Gender identity is traditionally perceived in terms of bi- nary categories, which is not useful for those who do not con- form to them.
The connection between participants’ interests and gender identity was an important and unexpected finding of this re- search. Participants’ questioning of their gender identity often stemmed from their interests not conforming to those typically associated with femininity.
Participants in this study provided powerful narratives de- scribing feelings of alienation provoked by the pressure to con- form to ‘‘gender-typical’’ and ‘‘neurotypical’’ expectations of them. Gender identity is traditionally perceived in terms of bi- nary categories, which is not useful for those who do not con- form to them.“I Don’t Feel Like a Gender, I Feel Like Myself”: Autistic Individuals Raised as Girls Exploring Gender Identity
Call me a girl again Not asking for the hell of it Call me a girl again My gender's not your business Call me a girl again Not asking for the hell of it Call me a girl again Non-binary resistance! (Woah-oh) They them, they them! (Woah-oh) They them, they them! (Woah-oh) Not asking for a friend (Woah-oh) They them, they them! (Woah-oh) They them, they them! (Woah-oh) Not asking for a friend --They/Them by Dream Nails
This is the Story of Victoria
Just like a mourning dove
And there’s no glory in Dysphoria
VictoriaBad Cop/Bad Cop – Victoria Lyrics
With fascists criminalizing transgender existence and pushing for government-mandated conversion therapy—forcing youth to have the wrong puberty—the chorus to Victoria has been running through our heads.
everyone's walking in a straight line I can't seem to fit in I won't even try to be like them what is it like? to just be accepted for being yourself and not having to come out of your comfort zone so here, here I am
we are the people you see on TV that can't seem to shut up that never seem pleased our entire existence is still part of debates when breathing is political then you just don't believe in slow progress and take your faith in own hands So here, here I am don't hold me up everyone's walking in a straight line I can't seem to fit in I won't even try to be like them what is it like? to just be accepted (here I am) --Queer Line (Non-Binary / LGBTQIA+ song) by Eyemèr
Why are there greater mental health stresses on autistic people from gender-minority groups? To quote from the research paper,
I've got one fatal flaw I'm a compulsive liar If I don't love you I will tell you anything And even if I love you I'll always be conniving I'll always be negotiating with the truth And I can trace the habit To when I was eleven And I thought boys were pretty And I couldn't tell no one
It opens at a young age That all-protective closet Just lock the door And settle in among the raincoats The longer you stay in there The more you'll get distorted The more contorted all your lies will have to be Don't wait a moment longer: Stand up and turn the doorknob And I'll tell you my secret If you will tell me yours --Compulsive Liar by Ezra Furman
Transition from nowhere to nowhere Here I come again Nobody cares if you're dying 'til you're dead Ambition leads nowhere I dream of going right back to bed Nobody cares if you're dying 'til you're dead And if it's not enough to keep the lights on Let 'em turn the lights off Broken spirit and a bad cough Turn 'em off, turn 'em off And when you’re really at the end of your rope No, you don’t take the night off Too many demons to fight off Cut me off, cut me off
Remember I tried to ask what it means to be a man? They threw me in the back of a truck and they tied my hands --Transition from Nowhere to Nowhere by Ezra Furman
For more songs—and perspective—on dysphoria, The primary aim of the minority stress model is to explain disparities in health between majority and stigmatized minority groups (Meyer 2003). Social stress theory hinges on the idea that..., and queer and neurodivergent mental health, check out our playlist ”Chronic Neurodivergent Depressed Queer Punk: Punk Rock, the Social Model of Disability, and the Dream of the Accepting Community”.
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 flag: black infinity symbol over gradient green horizontal stripes 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.
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…
“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.
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.
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.
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
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
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 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... 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 is a social skill.Noncompliance is one of the most important social skills. Noncompliance skills make it possible to say no, even when others want your right to say no to... with the demands of normative performance. Neuroqueer is choosing to actively engage with one’s potentials for Neurodivergent, sometimes abbreviated as ND, means having a mind that functions in ways which diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodivergent is quite... 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 Autistic burnout is a state of physical and mental fatigue, heightened stress, and diminished capacity to manage life skills, sensory input, and/or social interactions, which comes from years of being... and a retirement later, I have zero capacity for Masking is exhausting. Utterly utterly draining. I’ve had people say to me many times over the years “But WHY are you so tired? What have you been doing?” and I’ve..., 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 There are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child's Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and... other queer autistics as we help each other figure ourselves out.
- Focus: Autism Spectrum Disorders: Gender Identity and Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Increased gender variance in autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. – PubMed – NCBI
- Autistic Traits in an Internet Sample of Gender Variant UK Adults: International Journal of Transgenderism: Vol 16, No 4
- Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents
- Evaluation of Asperger Syndrome in Youth Presenting to a Gender Dysphoria Clinic
- Gender Variance Among Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Retrospective Chart Review
- Gender Dysphoria and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review of the Literature
- Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents | SpringerLink
- Traits of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults with Gender Dysphoria | SpringerLink
- The effect of High-Functioning Autism on Sexual Orientation and Gender-Identity
- Brief Report: Autistic Features in Children and Adolescents with Gender Dysphoria. – PubMed – NCBI
Bird, You Can Fly
So the time has come For your soul to finally belong Stop the facade Though the world is not ready for you and I You're starting your life From this moment now Bird you can fly Bird you can fly You're breaking out Out of your shell today
You're starting your life From this moment now Bird you can fly Bird you can fly You're breaking out Out of your shell today Kid, you'll be fine You're not a girl You're not a boy Nor am I Kid, you'll be fine You're not a girl You're not a boy Nor am I
If you loved me I wouldn't have to run away I wouldn't have to hide away Through this life If I could transform And change the way I am right now I'd be Exactly what you want to see If you loved me I wouldn't have to be sad I could smile and you'd be glad That I'm from this life If I could transform I wouldn't have to be afraid I wouldn't have to be unmade From this life I don't want special treatment I don't want attention I just want to coexist On the realm that you There is nothing more human than play. Humans were designed to learn in play. In fact, nearly all mammals evolved this way.Play's Power At our learning space, we provide learners fresh... on Open up your heart Take me as I am Love me, hate me, break my heart Just let me live
Well, if you loved me I wouldn't have to be sad I could smile and you'd be glad That I'm from this life (If I could) Transform And I don't have to be afraid I wouldn't have to be unmade From this life Life Well, if you loved me I wouldn't have to be sad I could smile and you'd be glad That I'm from this life If I could transform I wouldn't have to be afraid I wouldn't have to be unmade From this life Life! Transform!
Give yourself a combo plate (Combo plate) Transform Transform, transform, everybody transform If we could transform We wouldn't have to be afraid We wouldn't have to be unmade From this life If we could transform And change the way we are right now It'd be Much, much, too easy Can you take those thoughts away? Can't you see I'm fine? Warm your heart, don't you see It's just the same as mine? Am I naive? --Transform by Steam Powered Giraffe
The Malfunction Isn’t Us, It’s all the Clamor and the Fuss
Raise your hand if you’re not from a mold (yeah me) Varied strings are worth more than gold Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl function away Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl function away Malfunction! Malfunction! Malfunction! ... Their Malfunction isn’t us, it’s all the clamor and the fuss
I’m about to pick you up get you back up on your feet you don’t need to worry love Even if we’re incomplete Come on baby open up Pull out the wires and trim the fluff Be yourself sounds so cliche But hey let's do it anyway
We’re functioning just fine, we’re alive At this junction of dysfunction we are arrive What’s your Malfunction? Don’t be scare, It don’t matter how you wear your hair What’s your Malfunction? Bring it forth perfect’s a bore for what it’s worth Curvy, skinny, or bizarre The best shape is who you are Raise your hand if you’re not from a mold (yeah me) Varied strings are worth more than gold Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl function away Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl function away Malfunction! Malfunction! Malfunction! Feel the fires as they tickle your face Watch and learn as they make you feel disgrace Ones and zeroes left over, left out to haunt Comb them in and let them want I want more from this stupid life Do you want more from this stupid life? (oh yeah) Ones and zeroes, ones and zeroes, ones and zeroes Add them up, take them up, show them I’m functioning just fine I’m alive At my junction of dysfunction we arrive What’s their Malfunction? It’s a start; Can we teach them not to fall apart? Their Malfunction isn’t us, it’s all the clamor and the fuss When I say that I love you, dammit Janet, take it as truth Everything’s a little broken To be pristine well you must be jokin’ Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl-function away Mah-ah-ah-ah-ahl-function away -- Malfunction
I’m about to pick you up get you back up on your feet you don’t need to worry love Even if we’re incomplete When I say that I love you, dammit Janet, take it as truth
- Queer and Neurodivergent Liberation Are Entwined
- Gender Variance
- Our Dual Identities Are Not Competing; They Are Complementary
- Gender Copia and Bricolage
- I Don’t Feel Like a Gender, I Feel Like Myself
- Minority Stress
- Autigender and Neuroqueer: Two Words on the Relationship Between Autism and Gender That Fit Me
- Bird, You Can Fly
- The Malfunction Isn’t Us, It’s all the Clamor and the Fuss