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Theme Resources: Gender Identity, Pride, and Autism

Jun 1st, 2021

This month is Pride! We want to celebrate with you however you’d like to celebrate! There is no wrong way to enjoy Pride and we encourage everyone in the autism community to take some time to reflect on the challenges being faced by those around you. Our very own Amanda has created the following resource blog to help encourage our community to foster a greater sense of understanding and compassion. If you need support, please feel free to reach out to us (or Amanda) here.

Autistic and LGBTQ+

The autism community has a large and diverse representation within it, including a large number of people within the greater LGBTQ+ community. It is possible that autism is overrepresented among LGBTQ+ because autistic people are less likely to bow to social pressures that keep other people from coming out. Perhaps they are less likely to identify with social “norms” and pressures and therefore present themselves authentically. By listening to and acknowledging our autistic peers, we can gain a better understanding of the uniqueness of the human experience. 

Awareness in assessment and medical teams working with autistic people is very important. They should be sensitive to different information processing/communication styles as well as different gender identities. Some autistic people may struggle to express their feelings regarding gender. Even when they do express their feelings, they often face doubts from clinicians because of stereotypes about autistic people, which can block their access to medical care.

Let’s start with the basics!

What is gender diversity?
  • Some people do not feel fully masculine or feminine, and explicitly reject the notion of two mutually exclusive genders.
  • Gender divergent (variant/non-conforming): someone who does not conform/identify with their assigned gender but may/may not consider themselves trans.
  • Some trans people opt to alter their bodies via hormones or surgery, those who identify as genderqueer or non-binary may adopt a name and pronouns that better reflect their sense of self, without physically changing their bodies.
What are some challenges currently facing the Autistic LGBTQ+ community?
  • Limited or restricted access to safe opportunities to explore sexuality/gender identity.
  • Bullying
  • A lack of resources and safe places specific to Autistic LGBTQ+
  • Missing, absent, or incomplete sexual language and education
  • A lack of belief and affirming support for their feelings and/or expressed identity.
What support is needed for the Autistic LGBTQ+ community?
  • Information about sexuality, gender, and relationships should be given clearly from a young age
  • There should be comprehensive and inclusive sex education
  • Programs for people on the spectrum should include information about LGBTQ+ communities to help young autistic people navigate their sexuality and gender.
  • LGBTQ+ groups and communities should be more intentionally proactive and inclusive of neuro-diverse people.
  • We should all highlight struggles attaining an assessment or diagnosis due to masking, not being taken seriously, or heard.
  • We need to highlight the importance of Pride, visibility, and how to be an ally. We are not there yet despite some progress being made.
  • Let’s empower parents and families with how to use language.

 

“Autistic people are more likely to be gender-diverse, but most problems they encounter with such identities are societal and systemic in nature. Gender affirmation and support from friends, family, and health services to clear those barriers can often be the difference between life and death for a gender-diverse Autistic person.” (Gee Abraham, Nov 2019)

 

Now, let’s get into the resources. We have them broken up into categories so you can find the ones you need when you want them.

Autism, Gender, Identity & Sexuality
Articles:

Overlap Between Autism & Gender Diversity – Laura Dattaro

Gender and Sexuality in Autism, Explained – Laura Dattaro

Respect Sexual Orientation, Gender Diversity in Autism – John Strang

Access to Better Sex Education – Steven Stagg

Living Between Genders – Deborah Rudacille

Autism & Gender – Gee Abraham

What is Autigender?

Autigender – LGBTA Wiki 

Neurogender – LGBTA Wiki

Relationship Between Autism & Gender; An Autistic Perspective – Lyric Holmans

Resources:

Gender Equity & LGBTQ2S+ Resources – Government of BC

LGBTQ2S+ Toolkit – AIDE Canada

Dancing to Eagle Spirit Society

LQBTQ+ Immigrant & Refugee Resources – Mosaic

When Autistic Students Are LGBTQ2+ – Wendy McGuire & Dori Zener

Social Support & Connection:

QMUNITY – BCs Queer, Trans & Two-Spirit Resource Centre

What’s On Queer BC

Two-Spirit & Indigenous LGBTQQIA Support Circle – Native Youth Sexual Health Network

Creative Diversity Friends Club

Sydney and Kirra’s LGBTQ+ Social Group

Reading List:

Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Neurodiversity – Dana Vilker

Nonbinary
Resources:

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN)

Self-Advocates:

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Neurodivergant Rebel

Reading List:

Nonbinary & Autistic: What’s it Like? – NeuroClastic

Transgender
Resources:

Trans Newcomers Resource Hub – Mosaic

Autistic & Trans – Facebook Group

Self-Advocates:

Life as a Transgender Autistic: Passing and Masking – August Queue

Alistair – HParadox

Noah Adams

Reading List:

Trans and Autistic: Stories from Life at the Intersection

Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words

LGBQ2S+
Self-Advocates:

Gay and on the Autism Spectrum – Eric Ascher

Hashtags to Follow:

#WeAreNotConfused

Crisis Supports:

Trans Lifeline – (877)330-6366 (In Canada)

If you are looking for help explaining gender to someone, these are both great tools:

Genderbread Person v4 or  

English-Gendy_New-2.0.pdf (egale.ca)

We know how overwhelming the acronyms can be, so we created this handy little glossary to help out! We will be updating it regularly, so please let us know if anything is missing or if one of our definitions is incorrect.

 

Do you know of a resource that should be on our list? Please reach out here and let us know!

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