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The Connection Between Trans and Neurodivergent Communities

by Arlo West

I’ve been out as trans since January 2020 and have since medically transitioned - privately, might I add. In one of the various meetings with my gender psychologist, she said that my borderline personality disorder (BPD) diagnosis from 2015 was a misdiagnosis and that I was probably autistic. When I mentioned this in therapy, my therapist also said it was likely I was also autistic, as well as having BPD and being trans.

Since then, I’ve debated getting “officially diagnosed” as autistic but have been told by my gender psychologist that it would affect my transition and gender-affirming healthcare (more than the NHS’ current failings on trans people).

Therefore, I have decided not to pursue this. I had already struggled to get the healthcare I needed, let alone adding more diagnoses onto the list for me to “prove my competence” in making the right decision for my own life.

I was, and still am, really tired of jumping through hoops to live my authentic, happiest life; I can’t and won’t do it anymore for an already broken system.

Even when privately transitioning, I said a lot of what I knew they “needed to hear”, like I played with boys’ toys, wore boys’ clothes, didn’t fit in with the girls' groups etc, even if some of it was exaggerated.

There is a huge overlap between being trans and neurodivergent, and these stats get bigger when we include the entire queer community - so it’s not a surprise that a lot of people who are trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming are also autistic. I think this overlap is just because of the process of figuring out who you really are.

In my situation, I was figuring out and navigating my gender identity from 2016 onwards after not feeling happy within myself for as long as I can remember. I thought it was because I was gay, so I came out as gay at 13, but that wasn’t it.

It wasn’t until I met my partner who gave me the language of what being non-binary meant. In that moment, the world lifted, and everything felt right.

When you’re evaluating your gender identity, you are more likely to also re-evaluate other areas in your life; one being if you’re neurodivergent. Then I explored that, and it all felt right; lots of things started to make sense, and I was feeling more and more at home in myself.

I personally can’t talk about my experiences of being trans & queer without talking about my neurodivergence, and I can’t talk about my neurodivergence without talking about being trans & queer.

Being trans or being autistic isn’t trendy, or trying to be popular. There has just been a rise in people being aware that they are trans or neurodivergent now that the language is out there, the taboos seem to be lessening, and our communities are coming together to create a bigger difference than ever before.

This rise isn’t because we are “brainwashing children” or grooming them into our “ideologies”; we just want to live our lives as authentically as possible with nothing to do with anyone else.

My trans agenda is not to turn cis children, trans. But it’s to turn trans children into adults.

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Apr 08
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you for writing this, the last sentence really struck a chord.

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