Youth View — Autism and the Gender Non-Conforming

| Apr 9, 2018
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Hello All! Happy April! As some of you may know, April is Autism Awareness Month. As an autistic person, I view this month as something that is very important. It is important for people to recognize that autism is something that exists and that it affects a lot more people than you might think.

I was diagnosed with autism when I was 17. It came about during testing for my Individualized Education Program. I had suspected it for a few years before my diagnosis, but I was never very vocal about it. When I was diagnosed, I was relieved. It felt so nice to have a reason as to why I am the way I am. I do a lot of things that people consider to be strange or not “normal.” When I feel anxious, I repeatedly tap melodies on my fingers, and when I’m upset, I hit my thighs to get the feeling out. I also have a lot of issues in social situations. I’m very bad at understanding what people mean when they aren’t direct. I have a lot of trouble with sarcasm. Another part of my experience is having to deal with stammering. I have trouble saying things. Sometimes, I’ll get stuck on one word and not be able to continue. Another similar issue I have is saying numbers. I can understand what number I’m looking at, but I have trouble saying it (this gets really annoying as a cashier).

Now, some of you might be thinking “M, it’s great that you want to spread awareness about autism, but what does this have to do with the theme of this blog?” Well, as it turns out, a lot of trans people are autistic. In an article from Spectrum Magazine, it was said that between 8 and 10 percent of all people diagnosed with gender dysphoria are also diagnosed with autism, and around 20 percent have traits of autism. One theory as to why autism and gender dysphoria occur together so often is the extreme male brain theory (I’m warning you now; this is gonna get a little sexist). The extreme male brain theory is the theory that stems from the belief that autistic people show a lot of traits that are deemed classically as male. For example, many autistic people succeed at detail oriented tasks, but they will have trouble with more abstract concepts. This theory is not entirely accepted as true, and whether or not it is is beyond me (I’m an 18 year old kid, not a scientist). I do however, find it interesting that there is this correlation.

The inspiration for this blog came from a stray thought which was followed by a Google search. I was counting the number of my friends who are trans/non-binary and autistic (there are 6 including me). I then did some Googling and found some interesting articles on the subject. That was when I thought it would be a good topic to talk about this month. I’m still really intrigued. I hope that more research is done on the subject so that we can learn more about why the correlation exists.

I figured that since it is autism awareness month, I should point you all towards a good organization to support. I appreciate all that Autism Speaks has done to raise awareness, but they waste money on research into whether or not vaccines cause autism (they don’t). I am partial to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. They are a great organization that helps autistic people advocate for themselves. They have a lot of good programs including leadership classes for autistic people, and they fight against the divide between “normal” students and “special ed” students. I will be wearing a button for them at work for the remainder of the month. You can visit their website and donate/buy things. I hope you all have a good rest of your month, and thank you for reading!

Blessed Be,

M

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M

About the Author ()

M is an 18-year-old agender person who lives in Pennsylvania. They about to enter senior year of high school. Their preferred pronouns are they/them. Their favorite things are music, poetry, and dogs. M is an aspiring writer, activist, and psychologist. They look forward to being a part of the TG Forum community, and would love to share their perspective of the world.

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