Autism and Dysphoria — From an individual perspective
TWs: periods, dysphoria, and societal transmisia, Rowling mention, police mention, etc.
A surface-level look of what dysphoria feels like
Sometimes, you don’t know what exactly you’re feeling like you’re trapped inside yourself or why you can’t relate to your assigned sex at birth like many cisgender and neurotypical people do… “Perhaps that may be burnout,” you’d think. “or maybe perhaps I am having a lot of difficulty in trying to get my work done or attending to [insert obligation]…”
Sometimes, you’re feeling as empty as a pitcher who’s supply of water is depleted because people in real life are expecting you to perform as a false “persona” imposed on you by a society that never cared about your life, but actively tries to erase any evidence that you’ve lived and have survived its detrimental nonsense.
I don’t know where I am going with this, but you know what? That’s okay. I’m just writing this as I’m gaining new ideas to implement into this left and right.
I’ll tell you anyway.
Sometimes you’re experiencing days where you feel neutral with the organs on your body, whether it’s your lower half you’re neutral with, that you hate, or that you feel disconnected with… or it’s the parasites on your chest or lack of mounds you want to have on your chest. But, there’s times where you hate the organs on your body and no one actually understands how you’re feeling because people refuse to look past bodies and brains while unnecessarily gendering them. Also, bigoted gender-conforming cisgender and neurotypical people love to claim that we trans folks are “indoctrinating” their children, but in real life, bigoted gender-conforming, neurotypical and cisgender people are the only ones who actually do this (they’re legitimately projecting their vices and their hateful things they pull with people around them) with their children, especially with people around them. They also love to complain about products that are the “wrong gender” for them (further proof of them gendering things that shouldn’t be gendered, such as make-up and skincare products).
On days, the misgendering and deadnaming from family or from people close to you gets worse and worse that it’s adopted by your own head, that you’re stuck in uncomfortable feelings of self-doubt, self-loathing, along with self-hatred. For me, I got morbid scenarios consisting of me wanting to verbally, mentally, emotionally and physically torture the heck out of my own family and to even ruin their lives (which don’t actually reflect me as a person at all, since morbid scenarios are intrusive after all). I also got intrusive thoughts consisting of internalised bigotries I’m trying to survive, misgendering and deadnaming I’ve subconsciously adopted while I was lying to myself as a dead person I thought I was (in reality, I realised I wasn’t, so that’s that), along with loads of internalised transmisia, ableism, intermisia (intersexmisia for anyone who needs some clarification), and exorsexism (enbymisia). Both intrusive thoughts and morbid scenarios love to suck because sometimes, it feels like you can never escape the shit you’ve been suffering with your entire life.
It sucks deeply that your own family refuses to understand that you’re suffering because they cannot place themselves in your shoes about what it’s like to feel disconnected from yourself, and to feel a disconnect from the social gender that was assigned to you without your consent. Family also expects you to preserve “femininity”, while refusing to believe in your own self-autonomy, because they somehow think that you cutting your own hair is “mutilation”, which isn’t.
I’m grateful I stopped wearing bras during quarantine because for the amount of time that I wore them, they were very uncomfortable and they felt like they were hands grabbing the parasites on my chest. I hate being reminded of the genitalia I was born with sometimes since it feels like my lower half is empty, is odd, and also feeling like I don’t have a phantom rod attached to me. Family tries too hard to ‘prettify’ you, but refusing to acknowledge the often painful reality that you’re not “giving up” being ‘pretty’ or whatever the heck else people say against transmasc folks and trans men, but because they don’t treat you like a human being with your own autonomy. They instead treat you like you’re their doll/puppet to play with and to get upset with if you even *cue sarcastic gasping* ‘dare’ to exercise your own sense of self-autonomy.
I used to not hate bleeding every month. It was something that I am used to since I was 12 years old in December of 2013… But now, I hate bleeding every month, and I dread it. Why I even dread it is because it makes me feel terrible about myself as a person, my tendencies of self-doubt, overworrying and overthinking become worse, and I have morbid scenarios and intrusive thoughts. It also increases the amount of dysphoria I even have about my own body since I feel so sad, but also feel alone and without the support from my family I desperately need.
As for “women’s” clothing… I cannot stand most of it because there aren’t any pockets, nor are they gender-affirming for me at all. It also feels like it’s trying to show my body in ways I don’t even want it to show since I’ll typically get misgendered by strangers anyway, even by my older sibling’s in-laws who barely know ME, not someone who’s dead. It’s ironic as heck how there are people who claim that one “chooses” (can people stop talking with choice-based language nonsense from choice feminism??? it’s getting genuinely annoying at some points) to give “value” to “gendering” skincare just because people actually bring up another truth of skincare being so pointlessly gendered [and this is another fact because it unfortunately is so often gendered that you cannot win with people who pretend that it isn’t].
There’s also times where you’re on the internet, you see a lot of transmisic nonsense on social media, especially in the comments section of videos on YouTube where it suddenly feels exhausting and where it feels tiring enough because you’re already dealing with transmisia and bigotry outside of the internet. It can range from unpleasant to mentally and emotionally draining in the worst way.
So if you’re a non-intersex/perisex trans and Autistic person who is designated “female/male” at birth… You know what I mean since you’re experiencing loads of opposition from cis people, from other trans people who have internalised a lot of cis-centric assumptions on what it means to be trans (while they also use respectability politics nonsense against you to try and please transmisic bigots and other bigoted cis people who will never understand how much they take gender for granted), and from people on social media who continue to deny the experiences of trans and POC folks, trans and Disabled folks, trans and Neurodivergent folks, trans and LGBTQ+/MOGAI folks, and trans folks from all walks of life.
Lack of support from unsupportive families and from society
It’s funny how family will claim that they support you, love you, and will never betray or abandon you no matter what… Because when you’re exploring yourself in terms of gender, when you’re trying to ask for basic human decency and respect, when you try and correct them with your actual name (to clarify, this doesn’t mean “deadname”, but your name[s] you’ve picked for yourself), when you do little things for yourself such as growing your hair out or cutting it, but getting harsh reactions in return, denying you your own reality while gaslighting you, along with them reacting to you being visibly disgusted with your deadname (among other things), then family is the one betraying you and/or abandoning you for someone that doesn’t exist, and family doesn’t deserve you, nor do they deserve children if they cannot accept you for who you truly are.
What’s also even more painful… they also send you invalidating articles by detrans people who hate trans people and who try to fight back against gender-affirming healthcare, while claiming that they love you and that “you need to know that”.
It’s also even painful that despite generally accepting cities (i.e., Toronto) say that they support their LGBTQ+/MOGAI residents, the medical system demonstrates otherwise, along with the rest of society that still has a lot of exorsexist beliefs about gender, and even about sex as well. If you’re a transfem person of your own gender(s), you’re looking at loads of visible violence, harassment from people in real life and online, rejection from people close to you, the denial of your own reality from people you thought that you can trust, including additional expectations to be the “perfect” transfem person [think of the ‘minority model’, but in this case, it’s used against trans persons of all walks of life]. If you’re a transmasc person, you’re looking at infantilisation, loads of invisibility, and even violence. You’re also looking at harassment from people in real life, people online (i.e., TERFs, radfems, transmisic cisgender people on the internet, etc.), including people close to you, such as “friends”, even relatives. You’d also face rejection, along with the dismissive attitudes of family because they still expect you to be some dainty dead “daughter” instead of seeing you as their child, and also instead of seeing you as YOU, not someone who’s dead.
If you’re a transneutral person, then you’re also experiencing similar things, but your experiences aren’t going to be the same as any other transneutral person’s experiences, since you’re experiencing things through your own eyes, and you’re the expert of your own life (you being the expert of your own experiences and life goes to anyone else, regardless if you’re transfem, transmasc, or transneutral [etc.]).
To clarify, this isn’t me telling anyone what their experiences will be (and if it does, I take full responsibility for this since I can only talk about my own experiences on this…), but this is me sharing how each experience is going to be different based on what I remember reading about from the lived experiences of transfem folks (who’ve talked about how transmisogyny affects them), and transmasc folks (who’ve also experienced transandromisia/phobia [a specific form of transmisia focusing on discrimination and bigotry against transmasc folks and trans men] and have talked about how it detrimentally affects them) so far on social media and/or the internet in general. As for transneutral folks, I may need to do some more reading on the lived experiences of transneutral folks on social media and the internet so that I may understand them a bit better, but, I’ll never be able to truly understand the amount of pain and suffering transneutral folks have to deal with from society because I am not a transneutral person, but I will listen to their experiences and what they have to say like I will with anyone else.
-from the author xemself
Even in death, no one cannot escape being misgendered, deadnamed, and blatantly disrespected by communities… Unless a person has a genuinely supportive community they can fall back on without having to worry about being disrespected, deadnamed and misgendered in death and even while alive.
Ableism and the ways it intersects with transmisia
Yes, there’s little evidence of reasons why Autistic folks are more likely to experiment with their genders than their neurotypical counterparts, but researchers are still working on this, so that society can better understand us and see us for who we are… as people.
There are also more than enough barriers to healthcare for Autistic trans people, since our identities are oftentimes dismissed, invalidated, denied, and made invisible. We’re often told that we don’t know our own bodies, identities, along with our own selves… Which is a disingenuous thing for predominantly NT and cis medical professionals to say. Why it’s a disingenuous is that there are medical professionals who will try to claim that they know us “better” than we know ourselves, which is often not true because they’re NOT the experts of our experiences, nor do they know our true selves deep down. Heck, they haven’t even tried to get down on the same level as us.
There are also normalisation strategies that attempt to erase Autistic trans people, such as cisgender and heterosexual normalisation strategies where an Autistic trans person is routinely denied their reality, their identity, their gender(s), and even their own experiences. These kinds of strategies already cause more than harm. They cause lifelong trauma to Autistic trans people, destroying their sense of self, self-advocacy, and their mental health while only comforting NT and cis people harshly humiliating and ostracising any Autistic and trans person who doesn’t fit into their mold.
Autistic trans people of all walks of life are one of many marginalised communities who are at-risk of being killed by hate crimes, even by people closer to them (i.e., partner(s), peers, “friends”, and family). They’re also denied gender-affirming and culturally sensitive healthcare on the basis of being Autistic and the ways that being Autistic can intersect with their gender.
For example, NT cis people often speak over our experiences (i.e., J.K. Rowling), and deem themselves as “experts” of our experiences while claiming that we’re “confused” and that we’re “brainwashed” to be trans (which, in my subjective opinion, is absolute nonsense because Autistic trans people know their own experiences better than NT cis people do).
We’re often used as pawns for both anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-neurodiversity NT and cis people to harm trans folks and to drag them into danger by homomisic and transmisic violence and bigotry. Also, we’re oftentimes placed into harm’s way in insidious ways. For example, being at risk of being harmed and assaulted by police because they see us as a threat. If you’re a racialised Autistic person who’s BIPOC, you’re in grave danger since the police racially profiles you and cards you, so you’re going to need to stay safe and to keep both yourself and your loved ones protected. The police would also try to harm you on the basis of your neurotype and is most likely going to be ableist towards you, with additional racism.
A/N: If it seems like I am talking over you over your own experiences (because you’re the expert of your own experiences), please don’t hesitate to call me out so I can learn what not to do for future references, and so that I can do better for not only myself, but for people around me.
If you’re an Autistic person who’s LGBTQ+/MOGAI, you’re already in grave danger by the police because they only protect cisgender and gender-conforming people in power, while severely harming people who aren’t cisgender and are gender-non-conforming. On top of this, there’s always going to be people who are already policing you based on how you’re expressing your gender(s) on your own terms, and you’re already dealing with double stigma of being Autistic and LGBTQ+/MOGAI since there’s a lack of accurate information towards lived experiences of being Autistic and Queer, and there’s loads of detrimental misinformation being spread online and in real life which not only harms you, but harms both Autistic and Queer communities.
Dealing with gender dysphoria isn’t easy for any Autistic person who feels disconnected from their designated sex at birth, and from a socially designated gender that’s often placed on them without their consent.
As for non-dysphoric Autistic folks, there’s often a feeling of “not being trans enough” for them due to the gatekeeping of trans identities and what it means to be trans in both the medical community and especially on social media.
For Autistic folks dealing with gender dysphoria, there’s a feeling of being burnt out, like you’re only hanging on by a thin thread, ready to snap at any given moment. You feel like you don’t have any spoons or any battery left to continue fighting for yourself because the amount of spoons or battery you have isn’t an infinite resource, but a finite resource you need to replenish because you cannot always be strong and always be fighting through life’s nonsense all the time (as I am still learning this).
So for Autistic folks who are non-dysphoric and for folks who are dysphoric… please hang in there… things can and will eventually get better so please keep holding on.