The internet has become a place in which transgender+ Autistic people can gain access to resources, ideas and language to describe our gender and neurological identities. Using online support groups allows me to find out more about myself and how I relate to others as a late diagnosed Autistic gender divergent person.
Having safe spaces online to discuss gender and sexuality is important for transgender Autistic people like me as we are often subjected to sex education programmes which dismiss the experiences of Disabled people and overlook trans experiences due to the long-lasting influence of Section 28 (in which it was illegal to discuss LGTBQIA+ experiences in UK schools).
Access to the internet allows us to become self-determining advocates which improves transgender Autistic visibility with the hope of influencing societal attitudes and legislature. Online spaces are a critical revolutionary tool, especially for those of us who are immuno-compromised and cannot leave our homes due to the consistent rampancy of Covid-19.
Many of us Autistic advocates use the internet to challenge inaccessibility and violation of our human rights, especially around Applied Behavioural Analysis, conversion therapy and other forms of ableist ‘treatments’ (many of which are also applied to trans people).
However, our online spaces are not always safe, bigots often invade them to spread hate, disinformation and intolerance, particularly people from conservative campaigns which discredit Autistic and transgender rights as human rights.
Social media is a useful for shifting, challenging and revolutionising norms – allowing us to validate, support and champion queer Neurodivergent people. It can be used to reframe Disabled and trans identities as a celebrated aspect of human diversity, challenging neuro-typicality and cis-sexism. We still appreciate that many of us also have support needs (most of which are unmet) but it is so refreshing to have a space where we can freely be ourselves.
Find out more about trans Autistic experiences in my articles:
Find some helpful resources exploring LGBTQIA+ Autistic experiences here (bonus, they are mostly written and created by #ActuallyAutistic queer people!)