Neuroqueer: An introduction to theory

This article was Co-Authored by David Gray-Hammond, Katie Munday, and Tanya Adkin

The emergence and popularisation of Neuroqueer theory in the contemporary disability rights discourse and Autistic rights movement represents a significant step forward. Not only does it encourage pride in ones true self, but it emancipates the Neurologically Queer from the normative attitudes that society so often indoctrinates us into. For many people this term may be new, so in this article we will explore it’s origins and meaning.

Neuroqueer: Gender Identity and Autistic Embodiment

This article was co-authored by David Gray-Hammond and Katie Munday

Neuroqueering means to subconsciously queer yourself by way of your neurology. One’s neurology is queer and therefore so is one’s Neurodivergent or Disabled embodiment (Walker, 2021). So, what does this mean for gender?

About Me

Hey! I’m Katie. I am a late diagnosed Autistic person with OCD and Attention Hyperactivity. I have worked with Disabled children in the charity sector and coached wheelchair basketball since 2016. I am doing an MRes in Gender Studies, collecting and sharing the stories of trans and / or non-binary Autistic adults.This website is basically my ramblings on being Neurodivergent, Queer and Weird! I share funny stories, info and resources around my experiences, as well as Autistic and Disabled activist info.

Gender Creativity
and the Spectrum

Gender expression and identity has often been considered as binary–either masculine or feminine–but most of us fall somewhere along or outside of the spectrum of gender characteristics. Divergent gender identities appear to be more prevalent in Autistic individuals than neurotypical people. Unfortunately, most of the academic work on this intersection is less than complimentary, posing neuro- and gender diversity as ‘abnormal’. Fortunately, there is growing work in print and online by Autistic trans and / or non-binary activists which champions these identities as an important part of human diversity…

Autigender: Could Gender and Autism be Entwined?

Neurogenders–genders which are understood to be entwined with diverse neurologies–are beginning to be recognised, transformed, and adopted by those across neurological spectrums. These neurogenders include (but are not limited to): autigender, bordergender, cloudgender, foggender, genderanxious, gendermute, posigender, systemfluid, and vaguegender. These genders are often understood as reciprocally determinant of different neurologies including borderline personality, ADHD, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression…

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No Pride without disability pride!

Happy LGBTQIA+ Pride month!

Throughout the month of June parties and events are happening up and down the country celebrating all things queer. Last year saw the start of mass online Pride events, making them more accessible to disabled people and those with mental illness.

Many of these events gave people the ability to partake from home allowing them to access queer spaces in ways that better suit their needs. Online events were smaller and quieter and did not revolve around the usual loud partying and drinking…

Neuroqueer Cartography
Making our own maps to understanding and self-acceptance

Academia and wider society often perceives us Autistic people as being ‘black and white thinkers’,  suggesting that we think in restricted and binary fashions. We are often (wrongly) understood as being male, cisgender and heterosexual, or genderless beings with no passion, love or sexuality to speak of. 

Yet here we are making up a disproportionate percentage of the LGBTQ+ community! 

Far from restricted in our thinking, many of us are incredibly nuanced…

Becoming me: a queer Autistic role model my son can be proud of

I have always felt misplaced, misunderstood and confused. When I realised in my mid-twenties that I was Autistic things started to make more sense to me, but it wasn’t the whole story. After my diagnosis and all the ‘a-ha’ moments which came with it, I could finally get down to the business of sorting out my gender and sexuality. 

There has always been a butch quality to me, even from a young age. New people often mistook me for male, especially with my short hair, baggy shirts and skater jeans. The activities I enjoyed the most were considered boys activities; wrestling….

Am I really trans? Fighting with my imposter syndrome

I have come out of the non-binary closet (see my coming out story here) , and I am so relieved: I am me, finally, entirely, me. When people refer to me as they/ them it makes me feel so euphoric, so seen and comfortable in my Queer embodiment.

It hasn’t been easy coming out, and I know I will be doing it for the rest of my life, which is quite overwhelming but also exciting (see my piece on navigating gender journeys)…

Autistic people, substance use, and vulnerability to exploitation and county lines

This article was co-authored by David Gray-Hammond and Katie Munday

Trigger warnings: This article discusses gaslighting, trauma, criminal exploitation (on various topics including sexual exploitation), substance use, mental health, cuckooing, county lines.

Due to the extensive trauma that we experience as Autistics in our formative years, many of us find ourselves seeking connections with other people. Trauma can be a very isolating experience, and naturally we desire love and support…

The truth about Obssesive Compulsive Disorder – OCD

Cw: obsessive intrusive thoughts, self harm, mention of violence.

Alot of people wrongly assume that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a cute tidy ‘quirk’, a need for everything to be organised and ‘just right.’

When in reality OCD is often a very disabling and harmful condition which chips away at a person’s energy levels, emotional regulation and grip on reality.

In more intense periods of OCD, people can be trapped in obsessive checking of windows and doors…

Spectrum10K: Extreme controversy and a fail for ethics

For those of you not already in the know, Spectrum10k is a large-scale study being conducted by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of California. Spectrum 10k aims to collect and analyse questionnaires, medical records and DNA samples from 10,000 Autistic people (and their family members) in the UK.

The Autistic communities’ concerns…

Functioning burnout: can’t stop, won’t stop

So many of us Autistic folk struggle with burnout – the extreme fatigue which comes from sensorial, emotional and mental overwhelm.

This can cause us to shutdown – some of us can be in bed for days or weeks on end, incapable of functioning at our usual level of activity, finding everything mentally taxing.

Many of us can’t afford to succumb to shutdown and her alluring siren call of isolation and inactivity. We have to surge through and somehow keep ourselves together.

This is especially difficult for those of…

Autistic shields, Autistic communities

I have spent most of my life creating and maintaining a shield for myself (see Autistic realisation and shielding). It allows me to protect myself from toxic neurotypicality – the insistent need for society to make everyone comply to the ideals of the neuro-majority.

The shields are protective, some of the time they are unconsciously created and sometimes they are more of a thoughtful struggle to maintain. Sometimes they are created alone and sometimes they are created together  – Autistic communities often make shared shields which protect and validate all of us lucky enough to be underneath them…

De-centering the ‘male’ Autistic experience

Historically, being Autistic was considered a male childhood experience, with boys more readily diagnosed than girls. This trend is still prevalent in many areas of autism research but thankfully the gap between male and female diagnosis and realisation is slowly closing. As is the access to diagnosis and realisation for transgender, non-binary and gender divergent individuals.

There have been many reasons why many girls and women have been overlooked for diagnosis including (but not limited to); systemic misogyny and transphobia, autism research which favours ‘male’ traits and cultural gender stereotypes…

Autistic realisation and shielding

Since my Autistic realisation, I have been able to make more sense of how I fit into the world. I can now make more sense of strange experiences and interactions in my childhood, teens and early twenties: what it seemed to others that I had done wrong, subtext I completely missed and things I was supposed to be interested in.  

I spent 25 years not knowing what was going on, in a flux of confusion and high empathy but also low interest and nonchalance. I was alone but very rarely felt lonely, it was only when I mixed with others that I just didn’t get it. I wasn’t interested in others, I found their subtext frustrating, I just wanted…