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autistic appropriation by trans women

(161 Posts)
Autisticappropriation Thu 14-Dec-17 01:33:48

NC for obvious scaredy cat reasons. Yes it’s another trans thread. No I’m not articulate or well versed in academic feminism but I do fear for women’s rights and safety.

I’ve noticed with alarming regularity that a large number of recently out trans women are also now calling themselves autistic and that a huge portion of the actually autistic community whether trans or not are becoming highly vocal TRAs.

I am an autistic women, uterus owner, born that way will probably die that way. I feel like I’m being pushed out of all my safe spaces by self identifying trans women who are also now self identifying as autistic. I fought so bloody hard to get a diagnosis and access to the pittance of support that is available for autistic women and now women seeking diagnosis after me may find themselves shunned, silenced or ignored in favour of self identifying autistic trans women. I have concerns on so many levels, not least because of the vulnerability of officially diagnosed actually autistic women and the insurgence and potential influence of highly vocal self diagnosed label collectors.

I’m writing this post because a once quite high profile “disabled” man who bullied me on Twitter and set hundreds of his followers onto me trying to doxx me and shut me up has not only in the past few years become a trans woman but also is now claiming to be autistic. They now claim, along with many other trans autistics to be vocal representatives of actually autistic women worldwide and people are listening... but they don’t represent me or my needs or the needs of so many other women formally having or currently seeking diagnosis. We haven’t been listened to for years and when the opportunities start to arise, transwomen are taking them from us. It’s so hard to be taken seriously as a woman seeking diagnosis and only now are diagnosticians recognising the differences in presentation between male and female autistics, I worry about women missing out on diagnosis because trans women present themselves as representatives of autistic women without having the lifetime experience of autistic women.

I was misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and medicated as such despite never meeting the diagnostic criteria. Everyone agreed it was the wrong diagnosis but nobody knew what else could be causing my life’s problems and so I was parked there are told to accept it. This is not an uncommon experience for many autistic women diagnosed later in life (ie adulthood beyond teens) but it doesn’t appear to be the pathway to diagnosis for transwomen. If diagnostic practices and hard won victories of women to be recognised as autistic are lost due to men appropriating so many areas of their life, I fear women will return to a life of enforced misdiagnosis and heavy sedating medications. I feel so bloody helpless and I’m scared to speak up in my usual arena (twitter) because autistic appropriation and trans domination essentially silences me. I can’t be the only female, feminist autistic concerned about this.

I don’t think I have a point I just needed to get it off my chest and introduce an area I’ve not seen being discussed before.

BlackEyedKid Thu 14-Dec-17 01:35:38

There’s no end to the fuckwittery is there 🙄

DustyMaiden Thu 14-Dec-17 01:40:14

Clearly not

Horopu Thu 14-Dec-17 01:49:06

@blackenedkid your remark is ambiguous. Assuming you mean the appropriation then I agree with you.
OP I hope you get the support that you deserve.

Horopu Thu 14-Dec-17 01:50:13

Sorry @blackeyedkid my phone incorrectly corrects everything.

outputgap Thu 14-Dec-17 01:53:04

That is awful OP. I'm really sorry that this is happening. It's so ridiculous that I don't even know where to start.

But I totally hear you about the experiences of autistic women.

BlackEyedKid Thu 14-Dec-17 01:56:08

Yeah sorry - I’m agreeing with the op.

Autisticappropriation Thu 14-Dec-17 02:22:42

Thank you.

I’ve been really torn on my stance because both sides can make quite persuasive arguments but the feminist arguments presented here really got me thinking about the appropriation of women’s spaces and women’s rights and how there’s a real threat to advancements that have been made in the past fifty years or so. I struggle with the concept of identifying as a gender because I don’t feel particularly like anything, then again how does being male or female feel? I’ve never conformed to traditional stereotypes but not have I ever felt the need to belong - I’m told this is my privilege.

I ramble too much when I can’t sleep. Sorry

ALittleBitOfButter Thu 14-Dec-17 02:35:03

You've been colonised OP.

Autisticappropriation Thu 14-Dec-17 02:38:33


Iwasjustabouttosaythat Thu 14-Dec-17 02:44:40

But surely non-trans women and men also incorrectly claim they’re on the spectrum? Then they’re assessed and a decision is made. End of. This is in no way comparable to the erosion of women’s rights. More funding for assessments is nice. Go fundraise. Nothing to be done about men encroaching on women’s spaces.

MotherofaSurvivor Thu 14-Dec-17 03:29:14

OP Can I ask what your 'life's problems/or 'symptoms' were please? I'd rather hear it from a person that google.

I've always wondered if I could be....

MotherofaSurvivor Thu 14-Dec-17 03:29:32


pisacake Thu 14-Dec-17 03:51:28

"But surely non-trans women and men also incorrectly claim they’re on the spectrum? "

No I don't think that's comparable at all. Autistic is strongly stereotyped as male. So men claiming to be autistic don't really affect that much.

Female autism is a minority of autistic people, and visibility is very poor. All the media images of autistic people are male.

QOFE Thu 14-Dec-17 06:48:48

I hear you.

My youngest sibling (still a teenager) is autistic and over the last couple of years has come out as a trans woman and morphed into the most unreasonable and aggressive trans activist sad

I can see absolute and clear links between their rigid ways of thinking, their developmental delays, their history of obsessional behaviour, and this trans stuff. Sadly the rest of our family are tiptoing along behind them. I can tell that my parents think it's bollocks but they won't say so - they're old school lefties who'd rather go along with it than step out of line and risk accusations of transphobia. It's very upsetting to watch.

I didn't know about the TAs self identifying as autistic but it doesn't surprise me at all. My sibling has always refused to engage with the idea that they have autism until quite recently when they started to add it to their list of oppressions/labels (ie queer trans girl lesbian 100% female autistic at the top of all their social media).

They are biologically male but despite everyone knowing this from a single glance, presumably any services they now engage with will record them as female and their presentation of autism will now affect how autism in women is understood. Very deeply frustrating.

IndominusRex Thu 14-Dec-17 07:04:21

I'm worried that my 12 year old female cousin might be autistic, and that that in turn might leave her vulnerable to TRAs.
OP you have every right to be angry about this.
I've wondered before if it might be worth trying to engage Sophie Walker on this issue as even though WEP are utterly useless she is a strong campaigner for autism as her daughter has it.

B0033 Thu 14-Dec-17 07:12:18

This is very concerning; my teen DD is likely on the spectrum. We've been discussing the TRA issue a lot recently.

Thiswillbemyusername Thu 14-Dec-17 07:14:41

I hope I don't cause offence to anyone autistic (i even have suspicions that i myself might be), but it doesn't surprise me that trans-women might be autistic. I'm not sure why since I can't verbalise my thoughts too well, but it feels like it fits. And if they're vocal about being autistic and oppressed? Well, good. Autistic people have been 'shat' on for ages, so it's about time someone got angry about it

notafish Thu 14-Dec-17 07:18:35

That's very worrying OP I know in my town there us a charitable support group for adults with autism and ADHD and an official duanosis is not required to attend. I could easily see how such a group could be infiltrated by those with their own agenda.

This is an area where there is recent and significant research showing the differences between a male and female brain in people with autism. The two are very different and I can see how doubly dishonest it is for a TIM to not only claim to have a female brain but a female brain in a person with autism.

I would hope the academics and doctors involved in research of what autism more typically looks like in females won't be swayed by the TIMS but I can understand how not having a supportive community who accurately recognise the diffrent difficulties females experience will be affecting your wellbeing. I'd be upset and angry too.

AnachronisticCorpse Thu 14-Dec-17 07:20:54

As I understand it, there’s a huge crossover between autistic girls and girls transing. So you’ve already got skewed numbers of autism in girls because they are now, er, boys.

And you’ve then got autistic men (who are far greater in number than autistic women), transing in later life, who are then counted, not as women but as Transwomen. As in, they will be recorded as women but presenting with male Autism traits. So basically, as with lesbians, there is an erasure of women happening. Autism in women will remain under diagnosed and underfunded because the research available will be skewed out of all recognition.

This stuff honestly keeps me awake at night. It’s a kafkaesque nightmare and it seems there’s only a minority of us resisting it.

AnachronisticCorpse Thu 14-Dec-17 07:21:54

Should add that afaik there’s a huge crossover between autism and trans in both sexes, not just girls.

897654321abcvrufhfgg Thu 14-Dec-17 07:25:20

Am flabbergasted that they have now jumped on this. It's long been known that gender confusion can be one of many signs that indicate autism. However, this was originally a way of showing young teens that the reason for their confusion wasn't because they are trans but because they have an underlying condition. By receiving help with autism many teens went on to lead happy lives living as the gender they were at birth. This makes me so angry that they will do anything to make trans a "gender" it's own right.

DamnDeDoubtanceIsSpartacus Thu 14-Dec-17 07:25:31

This is the trouble with allowing people to decide what they are. Men take over, there will be no area where women can be heard with out a male voice. I think society is so used to female oppression that they don't give a monkeys when we are oppressed that little nit more.

I am so sorry you are having your space invaded op. All we can do is raise awareness and keep on standing up for women and girls.

DarthVaper Thu 14-Dec-17 07:30:53

Testing name change and placemarking to post later.

Cliques Thu 14-Dec-17 07:33:01

Have also namechanged.

I am also an autistic woman, and yes, it’s scary. What really terrifies me is that all the autistic women I know do not follow gender stereotypes (of course we don’t, we don’t pick up social norms in the same way!).

We are also black and white thinkers. If you had told me at the age of 10 that my short hair and love of all things “boy” and hatred of pink, meant that I was a boy and not a girl, I would have believed you. I would have “followed the rule”. That’s what I do.

I’m not a boy, I’m a completely normal adult woman who doesn’t follow gender stereotypes because they make no sense to me. I never wanted children until I did want them in my. 20s. I might have missed out on that by sterilising myself.

I am so frightened for young autistic women. Not liking a dress, not being interested in dolls or hugs or “caring” playing, is normal for autistic girls. That’s often how we present. It does not make us boys.

I am a rape survivor. I have times that I cannot be alone in a room with a person with a penis. That’s my rule. Transwomen in my support network excludes me. There is no support. There is so little out there for us, and now there is even less

I don’t understand any of it. None of it makes sense. Lying hurts me, and they want me to lie and say that a penis can be female. That a dress is how you define a woman.

I am so proud of being a woman. I am so proud of being autistic. And I am so frightened of the gaslighting of people like me. We have had it our whole lives - people telling us what we experience isn’t real and to stop being silly. We are not protecting autistic people.

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