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The Gender Critical Autistic Women’s Thread

(127 Posts)
SporadicSpartacus Wed 13-Jun-18 15:22:30

I never thought i’d be starting a thread aimed at such a very specific demographic, but there do seem to be a few of us out there.

Anyway, I thought we could use this thread to talk about the interactions of being autistic and participating in the sex/gender debate.

I think it’s particularly relevant as a lot of the argument hinges on clarity (or obfuscation) of language - when many autistic people need clear and unambiguous language to be able to understand, process information and express our own points of view.

Credentials/about me: i’m 31, diagnosed with ASD (Aspergers presentation) last year, and awaiting an assessment for ADHD. I am female, bisexual and married to a man. I’m not a mother yet, although would like to be- and have found Mumsnet very welcoming regardless.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 15:28:14

Hi!
I'm in my thirties with an autism diagnosis. I also have ptsd after several instances of male violence.

I feel that my autism led me to be more vulnerable to male violence.
Women only spaces make me feel safe.
I work in a woman only environment and I hope it remains relatively safe for me to work in.

I posted some comments in the moderation thread about ways I find gender identity confusing

Particularly as a lesbian.

BeyondSceptical Wed 13-Jun-18 15:28:42

Marking my place smile

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 16:15:28

I worry that within autistic groups etc self identity is the prevailing mode.
I have an actual autism diagnosis. I was seen to meet criteria fitting the definition of autism. A diagnosis means my supervisor at work can support me without me being seen to receive unfair or preferential treatment.
I worry that, for example, groups for autistic women might end up dominated by people who self-identify as autistic and also self-identify as women.
I wouldn't for eg travel to Aberdeen to meet with a bunch of allistic men and presumably this could happen if self identity is the criteria for such a group.
But I really do want to meet with autistic women.

LangCleg Wed 13-Jun-18 16:24:46

(Thank you very much for posting this. NT myself but will be reading with interest and, hopefully, learning something.)

PosyFossilsShoes Wed 13-Jun-18 16:31:00

I have the same thoughts as SuperLoud but am also aware that many, like me, were self-dx before getting a formal dx just because it takes so damn long to get a formal dx.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 16:35:14

Yes - I have every sympathy for that position.
I used to say 'I have traits that lead me to think I have autism' and 'I have difficulties reading between the lines in social situations' and that kind of thing.
Dx for me as an adult was much easier than it has been for my children for some reason.
Horrible process though.

It's really only allistic people identifying as autistic that bothers me.
Not autistic people identifying as autistic.

Some adults may have Dx of schizophrenia or bpd or all sorts of things erroneously. I do understand that.

SpartacusAutisticus Wed 13-Jun-18 17:02:06

Checking in.

There's sadly a massive crossover within the autistic- and trans- activist communities which makes it pretty impossible to be in the autistic community and openly gender critical.

If you can get it from the library or afford to buy it (at £40 it is not a cheap book) it's well worth reading Michele Moore's chapter in the book on trans children she co-edited with Heather Brunskell-Evans. It is all about how the trans activist community has adopted the theories and language of the disability/autistic rights movement and misapplied them.

SmilingButClueless Wed 13-Jun-18 17:33:53

I do wonder whether some of the people who were self-identifying as autistic a few years back have now started self-identifying as trans!

I had to stop going to a group for women on the autism spectrum because it became dominated by gender issues. I am not sure I understand that - for me it seems quite black and white that people are biologically male or female (with a small number of people being intersex). I don’t understand gender as the new religion and it’s taken away a much needed source of support for me.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 17:42:10

I struggle with it too.
My understanding of my sex is v much about biology.
I do experience gender dysphoria and for me the remedy is feminism.
But an identity of woman that is about femininity or an internal intangible feeling does not sit well with me at all and for me that feels linked to autism.
I was never good at being forced into the feminine box.
Social compliance was never a big priority for me.

I do know young women who are autistic who have gone along with gender identity for a while and have come out as Trans but they have been bullied and ostracized for expressing original thoughts outside of dogma. Which has put them off socializing in those circles.

It seems a lot harder to be a young autistic lesbian than it was.

In Scotland I think we are still able to be detained without our consent under mental health act 2003 which means we might well be compelled to reside within spaces alongside male people with a feminine gender identity.
That worries me although I'm aware it's under review.

SmilingButClueless Wed 13-Jun-18 17:53:07

From what the gender-obsessed (younger) women at the group were saying, they were taking gender stereotypes as a set of rules. They felt they fitted more of the male stereotypes so therefore must be men. I’m not sure that the positioning of autism being an extreme male brain helps, either.

I suppose it’s whether one’s rigid thinking kicks in about sex or gender stereotypes. There’s definitely an age component to that. I think it’s because everything has become more gendered recently - there was certainly no pink Lego in the 80s!

No gender dysphoria here, but I do get anxious when I am expected to fit into the stereotypical female stereotypes. I don’t, and I’m fine with that, but I resent people trying to put me into a gender ‘box’ when I don’t believe in gender!

CourtneyLovely Wed 13-Jun-18 18:04:07

I'm not dx but fighting to get one - very hard in my area. Am I allowed here please?

I do think there's a high correlation between young autistic males and TIM. My own belief is that they feel like they don't belong, don't fit in, and with trans being such a big thing currently it's easy to decide that the reason they feel they don't belong is that they're actually women. I'm not always very good at articulating what I feel so I hope that makes sense!

My DD, who is dx with ASD, was banned from a fb group for autistic women a few months ago because she said that a TIM's experiences growing up were different to hers as a teenage girl. Not better, not worse: just different.

Please may I ask what allistic is?

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 18:06:43

Allistic=not autistic

Best of luck with the process of getting a dx. It's so intrusive.

How sad for your dd. As I say- I've heard of quite a few young autistic women being excluded in this way. It's heartbreaking.

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:11:08

My DD is HFA and GNC and is in a proto-relationship with another girl her age.

I’ve had a lot of worries about all those things combined but she seems to be very clear now re her sex being female but rejecting stereotypes re dress and hair.

She has found puberty enormously difficult and has been through a process that began with obsession with the stereotyped stuff as a toddler, being thought of as naughty during young child years and being subject to sexism re her atypical behaviour, through ‘trying to look like a boy’ at onset of puberty and is now (2 years on) morphing into ‘picking which bits I like’... she asked for a peach coloured flowery sun dress the other day after years of dressing only in black jeans and a black T-shirt!

I’m on the looooooooooong waiting list for formal (had the initial one) because so much of what led to her diagnosis matches dreamily with my difficulties in childhood/teens.

I don’t know whether I will end up diagnosed but her diagnosis has certainly given me a lot of questions about myself re having always attributed the stuff to me ‘being weird’.

I think, from watching DD, belonging has been a massive issue in her life all her life because she has been aware that she wasn’t quite the same as everyone else and so she’s variously obsessed over conforming or totally rejected it all.

(I was never really concerned about belonging at all though I was aware that I did not belong and made some rudimentary attempts at about 14 to belong but basically realised I could not get it right and so I might as well just be me - weird).

CourtneyLovely Wed 13-Jun-18 18:11:33

My DD was more furious than upset. And the barriers being put in my way by first my GP and then the specialist - let's just say that could be a whole new thread and I'm not going to derail this one.

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:12:22

*formal assessment

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:17:22

The exclusion re the combined issues re DD was my main concern when a poster suggested my DD seek out all sorts re her developing sexuality TBH.

She says many things that others do not consider socially acceptable (‘why has that (Muslim) woman got a towel on her head’ when she was 6 was a difficult one) and she’s learning a lot more about socially acceptable language and other people’s feelings but I wouldn’t want her to be ‘re-educated’ if she was seen to be misgendering or if she failed to be as sensitive as is demanded.

That would be traumatic for her because she desperately wants to belong and doesn’t actually understand when she’s saying ‘the wrong thing’ a lot of the time.

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:18:49

they were taking gender stereotypes as a set of rules. They felt they fitted more of the male stereotypes so therefore must be men.

This is exactly me when I was preschool. I believed I was a boy because for me being a boy or a girl was based on what you liked.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 18:19:56

Offred- re: belonging - I realized recently that I hyperfocus on the things I struggle with. I think it's why I'm always reading aibu and CF threads on here and have done for most of my adult life. It informs me about social situations in a way people don't in real life.
I struggle with language so I have a degree in languages.
I hated taking on the role of mother in the sense of it being linked to being female (gender dysphoria) and I am now a breastfeeding specialist and doula.

Its a weird one.
I can sound v articulate and knowledgeable about the things I struggle with the most.

When I get things wrong I feel I plummet in people's estimations which makes me a bit anxious at times.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 18:22:06

I hope I haven't put women off posting on here if they're currently without a dx.
It's always been hard for women to get them.

I was just musing on trend for self id regarding gender and regarding autism.

Someone on a path to a formal dx within a system that makes it very tricky is not who I was meaning at all.

More someone with no intention of asking for support and a dx and who comes across as possibly not autistic.

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:23:03

I can sound v articulate and knowledgeable about the things I struggle with the most.

When I get things wrong I feel I plummet in people's estimations which makes me a bit anxious at times.

This is very similar to my DD TBH! It’s exactly the merry go round she has been on for years. Her difficulties are masked by her intelligence and her desire to belong.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 18:27:32

Hopefully she will come to see herself as good enough, and will find folk she feels she belongs with, without having to mask.

For me radical feminist and lesbian groups often meet that need.

Also Pokémon tcg and Pokémon go groups.
Pokémon is a great leveller.

Offred Wed 13-Jun-18 18:29:15

This relationship she is in has helped enormously TBH. It’s the first time she has really been accepted for who she is by someone.

SuperLoudPoppingAction Wed 13-Jun-18 18:30:14

Aaw that's so nice. It took me a long time to find that!

SickofPeterRabbit Wed 13-Jun-18 18:32:19

I'm not Autistic (though have a couple of the traits??) but I have a Self ID question if ok?

Due to severe depression after a breakdown, couple with crippling Anxiety, I like to remain relatively and blissfully unaware of any non-major current events. Therefore I'm clueless about all this Gender self ID row. Am I right I'm thinking that this has all come about as it has recently become 'acceptable' or legal to Identify as any gender you wish? Or have I got that a bit twisted??

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