My experience, based on a rather small sample, is that there is a strong overlap between being on the Spectrum and having at least some doubts about ones gender identity. Possibly our lack of social awareness (= tact) means we are more ready to admit to something that most people would keep well hidden. Possibly there is a real correlation.
At one point I found that of the four male Aspies regularly posting to a small forum, three had well developed female personas. Too small a sample, but interesting. Another forum member was a paintball ref and really one of the lads (and female).
Anyone else willing to speak for themselves? Any parents noticed boyish girls or girlish boys?
Gender identities and the "tough bloke" image are rather NT conformist things - it is of no surprise if Autistics feel they do not fit into these neat pigeon holes.
In terms of how I identify myself, I am very definitely female. Absolutely 100%.
As far as society's pigeon-holes... I'm not a girly-girl, I like to wear clothes that are comfortable. And if you think I'm taking tweezers to my eyebrows etc you've got another think coming. But I'm definitely not a tomboy. I like skirts and dresses. And I don't object to makeup if I'm going out, although it's too much effort for every day. Make of that what you will.
Now in my case, I think my strong sense of female-ness has confused my understanding of my sexuality. I am beginning to suspect that I am not in fact bisexual, but that the biological imperative to procreate couple with the confusion of undiagnosed autism has caused me to confuse friendship for more. Lots more thought needed...
I believe I am gender-less. Gender does not shape who I am. I like to look good, but only if it makes me comfortable, so no high-heels, make-up or short skirts. I look very girly, so would not pass for a 'tom-boy', but I do not abide by any gender-rules, because who cares? we are all human in my mind, and that is what counts. Live and let live, social norms are a waste of time
It is good to see these issues are being aired, even if the topic has had a recent 2-month gap. It must be very worrying for parents seeing their children on the spectrum living with the difference and discrimination that brings and then having gender or sexuality crises on top, with all the stigma that still attaches.
For the individual on the spectrum I can see Hope's point of view. If you are already different because of autism, and the identity you find is one you are happy with, fair enough.
My worry is with individuals with strong morality issues. There is huge conflict over sexuality for example if the individual is torn between aspergers high morality and inbuilt inclinations. Similarly some people in the spectrum are drawn to strongly evangelical religion which is bound to create conflicts, and some religious zealot groups like to adopt disabled people in the firm belief they can cure problems.
Also in the nature of people on the spectrum this is likely to get bottled up and not expressed properly, and I can imagine some parents being quite glad not to have to talk about it.
So please keep this topic going.
The "religious zealot group" that I was a member of took quite the other view. Even raising the question was enough for "Out and never darken our door again".
I did wonder if the leader of this group was making the common mistake of confusing gender identity with sexual orientation and had doubts about his own orientation.
Their view on disabilities seemed to be that a disability is only real if I can see it.
Hi UK Aspie. It sounds like you were lucky. There does seem to be a divide between religious groups that wont countenance such issues and those that feel they have a mission to put people right. I know of one that produced a newsletter purporting to have saved one individual from aspergers who was giving an interview in the newsletter about this salvation but was rather vague about the evidence for having aspergers.
Some of these groups try very hard to recruit token disability representatives, but there seems little regulatory control over what goes on as it is supposed an individual has a choice to disassociate. That's not always so easy for people on the spectrum, and they could be taken advantage of.
On the sexuality side I was made aware on one religious group ten years ago that was recruiting gays on the pretext of being friendly then detaining them against their will and trying to exorcise their sinful habits by force.
Does NAS have any insight into religious groups trying to adopt people on the spectrum and whether the best interests of the individuals is being served by this? I'm not saying such recruitment is necessarily bad, but I find it rather worrying nevertheless.
My beliefs are important to me, so the reaction of churches is also important. If it is a terrible sin to have doubts about your gender identity - I don't think it is but I can't prove it isn't - the reaction of "I'm never going to speak to you again" is clearly not going to help me. On the other hand the reaction of some churches of "Oh don't worry about it" isn't helpful either.
I have joined another church, specifically because they have an LGBT subgroup. I do wonder if I should apply the principle attributed to Groucho Marx, who wasn't the first person to say it, slightly misquoted as: "I have no wish to be a member of a church that would accept a person like me as a member".
On your last question, it sounds more like the sort of thing that would happen in the USA, but it is a worrying possibility.
yea i tend to refer to myself as gender nutral with no strong feelings any way
I am interested into how many males are in this conversation.
I'm not sure it matters, but if it matters to you, that's OK too. Can you say what your particular interest is in knowing?
Sorry to ask, but for my part I just talk to people. Occasionaly someone will say what their gender is, and some user names give it away too I suppose, but unless it's something in particular to do with getting a diagnosis, my answers will be the same. The exception is when we talk about the difficulties of female diagnosis.