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.
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?
Hey! I’m Katie, a late realised 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 a community researcher involved in Cancer services accessibility for marginalised groups.
I am available for training and consultation.
My pronouns are they / them.
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…
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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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…
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!
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….
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
have spent most of my life creating and maintaining a shield for myself. 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 use of the word “disorder” is important. This word places a level of responsibility on the individual to return to a more “ordered” state, dictated by cultural norms. This has historically been achieved using psychoactive drugs, which are often prescribed before the use of talking therapies.
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.
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…
All the signs had been there for a long time, but I only realised my Autistic identity in my mid-20s. I come from a family who are also neurodivergent (hard wired differently to most) and very aggressively unique, so my oddities were just seen as Kate-isms…
On the 5th December 1998 the modern bisexual flag was created!
The flag was based on the ‘bi-angles’ symbol created by queer activist, Liz Nania, in 1987.
Both flags were created to make bisexual people, and our community, more visible during Pride marches and liberation marches…
Ableism is prevalent in the wider world, but something that we often don’t consider is the ableist views we hold about ourselves. It is inevitable that after spending our lives surrounded by normative culture, we become conditioned to view ourselves as broken, deficient, or less than. Despite being able to share compassion with others, we still harbour overtly bigoted views towards ourselves.
During pregnancy, everything about my body changed. My skin became soft, my hair became lustrous. My hormones levelled out and for once I felt calm. However, not all the changes were nice. I experienced breast discomfort, back and knee pain, a change in toilet habits, and many more irritating, uncomfortable, and painful experiences. The most difficult change for me was having gestational diabetes.
The autism training that many professionals are mandated to do, if they are at all, is usually outdated and steeped in the deficit model which suggests that Autistic people need fixing. These ideas, under the guise of continued professional development, mean that many professionals continue to oppress and marginalise us…
Αυτιστική θωράκιση είναι να κλίνεις προς τις νευρολογικές διαφορές και συμπεριφορές σου. Αγκαλιάζει τη νευρο-αναρχία: να είσαι αυτό που είσαι, να κάνεις αυτό που κάνεις και στα αρχίδια σου αν δεν αρέσει στους άλλους.
While there has been a great deal of discussion around parenting school-age Autistic children, Katie and I are both parents to younger children and feel that there is somewhat of a void in discussions around the early years or parenting an infant…
There is an ongoing crisis in services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) when it comes to Autistic young people’s mental health. Failing to support our Autistic young people can have a big impact on our wellbeing as parents as we watch our children go through the same systemic discrimination that we have often experienced ourselves…
It is a surprisingly contentious discussion to have, but the neurodiversity paradigm does not just apply to autistic people and ADHD’ers. Neurodivergent is a broad and inclusive term that applies to any bodymind that diverges from the neuronormative standards of a person’s given culture. This includes, but is not limited to; Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Down Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury, Learning Disability, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome…
Neuro-anarchy is an act of protest, it is how one neuroqueers in spaces that should belong to us but instead remain external in our relationship to who we are. Neuro-anarchy arises from a level of cognitive dissonance that presents when a person finds themselves an outsider in a group that they should fit into…
I’d like to start off by saying how excited we are to be launching the first edition of Autistic Revolution!
The response from the Autistic community from both in and outside of the UK has been immense.
Autistic Revolution is the first of it’s kind – a magazine for and by Autistic people.
“Queer”, once used as a derogative expression, is more often used as an umbrella term for people who identify as LGBTQIA+. It is intentionally ambiguous, allowing flexibility for those who identify outside of cishet normativity…
There is a large distinction between the terms neurodiverse and neurodivergent, neurodiverse meaning everyone and neurodivergent meaning people who diverge from what would be considered normal or majoritive.