Survey: Acceptance, Gender, Sexuality and Body Image

This is final batch of survey questions. 😦

Answers to the other surveys continued to come in for weeks after I posted them. If you want to go back and take a look, here are links to past weeks:

Special Skills and Fun Stuff

General Coping Strategies

Relationships

Sensory Sensitivities

Work and School Strategies

This week’s questions are about acceptance and gender/sexuality/body image. You can answer here or at Survey Monkey, wherever you feel most comfortable. (I’m going to break from pattern and answer anonymously this week, because . . . reasons.)

I’ve created two separate surveys at Survey Monkey:

Acceptance survey questions

Gender/sexuality/body image questions

As always, this is open to anyone, regardless of official diagnosis.

Acceptance

  1. Do your friends and family ask you about your diagnosis? Do you feel supported by them?

  1. Do you ever feel ashamed to be autistic/technically disabled/different? Especially after spending a big chunk of your life as a ‘normal’ person?

  1. Do you all experience a lot of double standards regarding your autism, and how do you deal with this? For instance, it annoys me so much that an NT person can move their hands around, fiddle with clothing etc, but when I do it, it’s stimming and therefore A Bad Thing in the eyes of others.

  1. If you could be neurotypical, would you want to be?

  1. How often do you hear someone use autistic as a pejorative?

  1. Before you realised you were autistic did you ever understand yourself as being somehow not human or not from your culture of birth? (e.g. an alien from the wrong planet or born into the wrong country, century or species etc)

Gender/Sexuality/Body Image

  1. How do you relate to gender? What is your understanding of the word/concept?

  1. Has there been a point in your life when you felt that you wanted to be, or were meant to be, a gender different to the one you were raised as? (If so, why do you think this was, how old were you, how long did this last?)

  1. Do you currently believe in or follow gender roles and stereotypes? (for example, roles/rules about how you’re meant to dress and present yourself, what interests you’re meant to have, how assertive/emotional/nurturing/etc you’re supposed to be, what role you’re supposed to take in personal and professional relationships, etc)

  1. If you are some variety of transgender or answered that you’re gender nonconformist in some way, do you think that this is in any way related to your autistic traits? Do you think you ‘do gender’ or ‘do transgender’ differently to other people because you’re autistic?

  1. Is your sexuality, romantic orientation or preferred relationship structure different from our cultural norms in some way? If so how does this differ and do you think this is related to your being autistic?

  1. Have you ever had any difficulties with your self image, if so how did these manifest? (such as physical/bodily gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, eating disorders)

124 thoughts on “Survey: Acceptance, Gender, Sexuality and Body Image”

  1. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Not really, but I do feel supported with what we’ve talked about

    Q2: No

    Q3: My actions have been termed “fidgity” for so much longer than thinking of them as stimming, so I don’t think I’ve internalized it as a bad thing.

    Q4: No

    Q5: Not often

    Q6: Yes-long history of feeling ‘not fitting”

  2. anonymous answers:

    Q8: No

    Q9: yes and no. I have ended up following certain stereotypes after rejecting them, thinking about them, and coming back around to pick up what feels like it fits, which happens to be some roles that have been stereotyped. But it’s an informed choice, and I do sometimes follow different roles.

    Q11: a little. I’m less romantic than the culture seems to support, and I think about the physicality of sex more than culturally, women are “supposed” to. Sensation is sensation, and I tend to experience it as such, not with a lot of emotional feelings attached.

    Q12: Yes. Usually it manifests in some temporary depression, and at times it’s motivating to change things I need to change for general health. I do tend to perseverate on various aspects of my looks and need frequent verbal assurance.

  3. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is totally a spectrum. I identify as female and female-bodied but don’t really try to conform to any one image of female-identity.

    Q8: Totally. I think it was normal and I think it was a process of un-learning all my assumed gender stereotypes of what I “should” be. Also, a lot of people in my life identify as trans or as gender “different” so that is all what is my norm.

    Q9: It’s hard, because I want to be as gender fluid as possible but I also work in a very hetero-normative/cis-normative work environment/world. I definitely feel more gender fluid with my boyfriend and with some of my friends. I also find a lot of my femme/feminine identity to be really empowering, even though it could be viewed as very cis-centric and “female” typical.

    Q11: Totally, and I wish everyone else’s were too. Even though I’m cis-female and I am dating a cis-male, and he definitely identifies as a straight male, I think that I’ve found ways to let our relationship break out of typical hetero patterns.

    Q12: Yes, and that’s societal brainwashing at its finest.

  4. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’ve talked about it with some more than others. I feel supported by the people I’ve shared with. Those I haven’t shared with, I suspect would be less supportive. Maybe someday when I’m feeling stronger I’ll give them the chance to prove me wrong (or
    right).

    Q2: Nope. Maybe because I never saw myself as normal anyway.

    Q3: I don’t I personally, but I see that others do and it’s annoying.

    Q4: No. I have no idea who I would be if I wasn’t autistic. That’s scary.

    Q5: In-person, I don’t think ever but that may be generational. Online I see it occasionally, usually because someone has pointed it out in a social media forum, rather than seeing it in a “naturally occuring” situation.

    Q6: As a kid, I thought I’d been born into the wrong family by mistake because I was so clearly unlike everyone else. Once, in my twenties, I came across the term “misplaced zygote” and was surprised to learn that there were other people who felt the same way.

  5. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes for immediate family, but not extended family. I have distanced my self from those who are unsupportive.

    Q2: No, because I always felt wrong/different/different. Now I know WHY.

    Q3: Somewhat, yes.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: On a regular basis in real life several times a year.

    Q6: Definitely.

  6. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Honestly, I don’t know. I was raised with a traditionally stereotypical male/female concept but I never felt like I fit that model so it’s been a confusing concept for me. I don’t fit the stereotypically female model and in fact find it hard to think of myself as a middle-aged woman. And yet I don’t feel male/masculine either. If there was some other not-female/not-male gender, I feel that would be the best fit. I guess that makes me agender in terms of how I perceive myself, although not necessarily in terms of how I present all the time. I don’t know. This is still a new concept to me.

    Q8: Yes. In early elementary school, I wanted to be a boy and thought a lot about what that would be like. It probably lasted for a few years, on and off.

    Q9: Definitely not. My natural inclinations are mostly “against type” in all of the example areas mentioned in the question. Fortunately I have a partner who doesn’t care about gender stereotypes and encourages me to be myself, whatever that happens to be at any given time.

    Q10: I’m not sure. I think being autistic might make it easier to be gender nonconformist because I’m less sensitive to social norms and people’s perception of me.

    Q11: The gender of my partner has never been the most important issue in a relationship. I’m equally attracted to men and women physically. Again, not sure if this has anything to do with being autistic.

    Q12: This is hard to answer. My relationship with my body can vary from intensely connected to disconnected and confused. In the absence of social conventions around gender, I like my body and feel comfortable in it. But I’ve had a lot of confusion related to people trying to impose gender stereotypes on me when I was younger and that has left some lingering bad feelings that I’m just starting to work through.

  7. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I have felt in-between genders as long as I can remember.

    Q8: I wanted to be a different gender, yes, because I did not feel I was made to be like my mother. Probably started from an early age, and lasted through about 25. Then I decided I was all right as I was and could navigate more or less.

    Q9: Not really. I mix and match as much as personal growth allows.

    Q10: Yes.

    Q11: Hmm. It differs in that I would pick a partner based on comfort level of understanding above gender. Also the person would need to be at least understanding and hopefully enthusiastic about my mixed up traits and predferences.

    Q12: Dysphoria and eating disorders starting in adolescence and continuing to now, decades later.

  8. 1.) I don’t really get ASKED about it that much – I was diagnosed young, so family know already. Most of my friends know; I just sort of mention it where it becomes relevant in conversation. On the whole, everyone’s been really supportive, particularly some friends at uni who don’t necessarily know I’m autistic but have figured out the sensory issues etc.

    2.) When I was younger and newly diagnosed, yes, and let’s just say certain people at school really didn’t help with that. Now? No way. In fact, certain things for which I was made to feel inferior have almost become things I’m proud of. Take tiptoeing, for example. I don’t need to wear heels. 😛

    3.) YES!!! This is actually my question.

    4.) Absolutely not. I’d be a different person, I’d lose the special interests, I’d lose the whole sound/music thing… I feel like I’d just become a sheep, which seems silly because obviously neurotypical people aren’t all sheep, but it’s nice to bring a different perspective to the table.

    5.) Not very often – it seems to be more of an American thing. I hear the r-word quite a lot, though. Also, in Sixth Form, the insult “spesh” (as in “special”, as in “special needs”) became popular.

    6.) Definitely, although I probably felt more like that when I was newly diagnosed rather than before. Maybe I just internalised what others were telling me.

    7.) I see gender as a spectrum, although sadly people are still socialised into male/female and, furthermore, are forced into very rigid stereotypes. Gender is also used as a system of oppression, both against women and against non-cis people generally, and that seriously has to change.

    8.) No

    9.) NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. I mean, we probably all follow certain stereotypes, but that’s only because they’ve been drummed into us from a young age.

    10.) I’m cis, so I can’t really answer this question. However, I do think my autism has played a part in my dislike of gender stereotypes and my introduction to feminism more generally, basically because I won’t take “BUT SOCIAL CONVENTION!” for an answer!

    11.) No

    12.) Nothing besides the standard body hang-ups that everybody has!

  9. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Though it was always known that I was different, I was only diagnosed 2 years ago aged 36. In those two years, my mother has only just come to accept that Autism is not a mental illness, has started reading and is being totally and brilliantly supportive of me 🙂 Friends sometimes ask but I find it ‘unsupportive’ when the “Oh everybody has that problem sometimes” arises. Another person I know (though not close to) refuses to accept that I’m ASD and prefers to go behind my back saying to others that I’m a self-indulgent fake/pyscho/mentally ill etc…my friends defend me.

    Q2: Yes – when asking for help in the areas of life that others breeze through but elude my comprehension…I’m learning to get over this ‘shame’ now.

    Q3: Not as far as I’m aware. I have had an exboyfriend view my muteness when stressed as some kind of deliberate passive-agressive control thing (despite him knowing otherwise).

    Q4: No way! Too much game-playing and dishonesty there!

    Q5: Rarely.

    Q6: ALWAYS! My elder sister used to tell me I was a space cadet/alien/from another planet/fell out the sky and was discovered on the doorstep. And from a very young age I was aware that my ‘life’s work’ was to be trying to figure out what these ‘humans’ were all about…still working on that one 😉

  10. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I understand it biologically. When it comes to gender roles…I get confused.

    Q8: Yes. Aged 15 when I started at a new boy’s school with a mixed 6th form. The girls were into hair/makeup and impressing the boys…I couldn’t relate and was just one of the boys. I thought it would just be easier if I was a boy. I’ve often thought, with the way I think, I’d be more readily accepted if I was male…but I do quite like being female.

    Q9: I have problems with gender roles and stereotypes. I am totally heterosexual but because most of my mates are male and I do a man’s job, people have wondered if I’m a closet lesbian! I’ve been told I’m very attractive and should ‘use my looks more to get what I want’ but this makes no sense to me. My mother was very elegant but did all the ‘men’s’ jobs around the house whilst my dad tended to the rose bushes. I’m not very in tune with how women are ‘supposed’ to be and am often told that, as a woman, I shouldn’t behave/think how I do… but I know no other way so am quite happy with how I am.

    Q10: It’s likely that my autistic traits are the reason for my not adhering to gender roles. I think I have a nice balance of 50/50 female/male.

    Q11: I love men but it seems I don’t give them (emotionally?) what other women seem to. I’ve had some boyfriends who absolutely love that they have a girlfriend to hang out with who is ‘just like my best mate but female’. Others find it freaky (‘it’s like being in bed with my best mate’). I cook, clean, bake, do outdoors things, do DIY (am a cabinet maker by trade), wear ‘sexy’ clothes when I have to, can do makeup and heels (when I have to), so am pretty self-sufficient…Some boyfriends have complained of them feeling useless and that I do not NEED them. I am stumped by this as I’d like a partner as a complement rather than as a necessity. I like a man who can cook and clean – they don’t need to be ‘macho’ but if they are, that’s fine too!

    Q12: No. I don’t really pay attention to what I look like. I tend towards anorexia when stressed but this has never caused any problems as it’s only temporary.

  11. anonymous answers:

    Q1: In fact, when I got the diagnosic, nobody even thought about telling me what was Asperger’s syndrome. But now I can see that my mother was litteraly battling against others in order for things to stay the same as before (they wanted to put me in a special transportation instead of the bus, and worse, they wanted me to move into the trisomic classe). Except from her, nobody ever care about the diagnosic, and my father denied it for a very long time…

    Q2: At first, yes. When you’re a 15 years old teenager without problem in school and hyperlexic, hearing that you are autistic made me believe an error of diagnosic for a long time. But I must say that I never throught of myself as «normal». But as I was ashamed of the difference back then, now I’m proud of it.

    Q3: Whenever I feel stressful, I tend to put on music and shut up for a long time, looking like I want to kill the whole universe (which is just my suffering face).So when I put on earphone because I can’t deal anymore with humanity, it’s because I’m antisocial, psycopath or just weird as heck. But when my NT friends do it, it’s because they want to shut sounds off or listen to music. Geez humanity!

    Q4: Nop, it seems way too boring! And straigt! Who would want to be exactly like everybody else?

    Q5: Way too often. to speak about someone acting a bit strange: autistic guess (in a very bad way), to speak about really bad music : autistic music… Autistic art is something people usually like, without being aware of that! The people who use it as an insult make me want to jump on them and beat the misinformation out of them by any way! (but I don’t because it’s bad to hurt people and arguments work better)

    Q6: Because I never ever felt at synch with others, and was always out of the way in conversations, debates or classes, I was always felling like I was an alien, or rather that everybody else wasn’t human. When I was younger, I was always living into fantasy worlds in my mind, because I found myself to be more comfortable there.

  12. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I don’t personally relate to my gender much. I always found boy’s cloth to be much more pratical and beautiful than girl’s, but not because I wanted to be a boy. More like genders make no difference at all in my point of view, just like sexual orientation, «species»… For me a gender is rather the biological construction of the body and the way someone live with it than an psychological thing, reason why I like to think of myself as a 50% girl, 50% boy.

    Q8: I think I always wished to be a boy but not as a real desire, rather because boys have less exigences about how to act and dress. A boy who always wear polo shirt and large sport pants it okay, but for a girl it’s weird ( dunno why through).

    Q9: Never understood the «gender roles» thing. Why a girl should act a way? Why a boy should do that? It’s like saying someone can’t study because he got red hair. When I was young, I was only playing with dolls in front of my mother, but my sister got me an Nintendo 64 and we played it to the death…

    I think I never followed the gender stereotype on purpose of being girlish, and usually didn’t at all. I come from a family where the conservative father was happily playing with his two daughter, doing laundry, changing diapers… and my mother was cutting the grass, washing the dogs… so me and my sister being out of the stereotype was pretty normal.

    As for the mind, same thing. I can’t stand love stories, unofficial dress code (laboratory is okay, there is a reason for it, but why should I wear a dress only to freeze off and being looked at?) And as for the professional domain, I might end up as the weirdo of the lot, wearing comfy things in a office (just like today) and act like myself all the time.

    Q10: I really think I do «gender» differently because of autism, but I find this to be a good thing. Because of my own mind about being a «girl» is mostly MY own opinion about it, it’s ME, not some social conformity. I’m not a gender, I’m a person and that all there is in the first place. I kinda think this way of thinking is autistic

    Q11: Well, I hate all the convention about how a girl should act in couple. Where I live, the boy is suppose to pay for almost everything when going out, adding gifts on celebrations day, and the girl is suppose to, well, look cute and be glued to her boyfriend most of the time. I can’t stand having someone else paying for me, even from my parents and sister… I don’t like being on the phone, saying «I love you» (I just hate speaking), sleeping next to someone (because of light touch and contacts, not because I don’t stand my lover!) I seen couple being with the other 100% of the time, and I couldn’t do that for anything in the world, no matter how much I love the person. And that makes me weird as heck.
    In fact, why should anybody act different, I mean you fall in love with someone the way they are, not the way they should act…

    Q12: I kinda hate how I look, and had some eating disorder as a teenager. Nothing up to hospitalization or too much weight lost, but rather eating patterns disorders.

    At first, I couldn’t eat more than one meal a day, because I was always on the run and was skipping lunch because of social anxiety, thus endep up fainting on a daily basis. Now that I can manage my schedule myself and eat wherever I want, it got way better. But I still faint pretty often due to lack of food/exercice/sleep.

    As for dysphoria/dysmorphia, I don’t know if I have/had one, but I do have obsession about never going out of my house and meeting people without wearing something that cover my back down to hide the ass, because I think it’s enormous (even through people tell me it’s not), and if I could get myself some kind of hyper dissimulative comfy suit then I would never get out of it.

    1. I agree with #11. Just to add on to the different social rules, especially about gift-giving…

      I love sending out cards with meaningful messages to friends, s.o., etc., but I am horrible at gift-giving. (Maybe this has something to do with me thinking in words?) I would rather tell people close to me directly that I am bad at gift-giving and that I need to be hit over the head with what they want. I was told that this isn’t how most people to do things. The norm is apparently to be very indirect about it and give surprises, or take your significant person out shopping and see from physical cues what they’re looking for. This is something I know for a fact I can’t do. If someone decides they don’t love me because I can’t give surprises, then we just weren’t meant to be! I’d rather someone accept me for who I am.

      1. The shopping and then buying stuff is simply torture. If I want something then I might : 1.buy it myself 2. work in order to buy it myself. There is other ways to surprise someone, like cooking a great meal for once (this may only be my stomach speaking through!), or the cards. Mostly because cards aren’t money for money, they are meaning. When you send a card or something you made yourself, there is soo much meaning in it, and no hypocrisy!

  13. ACCEPTANCE

    1. N/A, but as someone who doesn’t consider herself a neurotypical anymore, I’ve started to accept myself and laugh at any social gaffes I’ve made. The one thing to really understand, though, is that not everyone else will be as accepting, so be careful!

    2. Nope. I finally found an identity in being undiagnosed but not a neurotypical. What sucks was that I was made aware of how not everyone accepts people who are different-then it turned into a balancing act between acting normal (so as not to scare the neurotypicals, get fired, get sent to the principal, etc) and being myself. The only way I can describe it is that neurotypicals can expect anyone who seems like a neurotypical to work at a certain pace and in a certain way. When you don’t do what they expect, things go downhill from there and they assume you’re lazy, clumsy, etc.

    3. Oh, I see what you mean! YES! I was told, “Don’t talk to yourself.” Then I started noticing ALL of the neurotypicals talking to themselves. Turns out, you can do it, but in a very small whisper and NOT as a whole conversation that you carry on with yourself. (Yes. I’ve been known to carry whole conversations with myself while studying-I literally *puts on sunglasses* think out loud.) And then wireless headsets and headphones were invented and people looked like they were crazy or clumsy anyway! My belief is that technology will make us all weird, so I completely expect to use technology as an excuse to neurotypicals for why I’m stimming, talking to myself, etc.

    4. I have no idea lol

    5. N/A

    6. Always knew I was different. But when I was younger and when it was more appropriate to be immature or weird, I just kind of lived in my little bubble of naivete and happiness.

    GENDER/SEXUALITY/BODY IMAGE

    7. Gave up on gender. Gender to me has biological gender and the gender you view yourself as. Don’t like the stereotypical gender roles because they never made sense to me.

    8. There was some confusion when I was in middle school, but I ended up reconciling that viewpoint. It REALLY helped that I was surrounded by geeks, low-maintenance girls who don’t always want to put on makeup or who don’t always go to a tanning/hair salon, etc, and in all, a huge diversity of women who weren’t blonde and curvy or Korean-pop-star pretty.

    9. If it relates to clothes-sort of. I prefer dresses, but only because they tend to look better on me than jeans. Otherwise, I’ve been wearing jeans for the most part of my life! Also, there were too many social rules to remember, so I gave up on trying. Only thing I’m learning to do is to consider that there may be better ways to say something. I’d love to completely be myself, but it doesn’t always work like that in a group setting. If you’re working with others, it seems like the only way you can truly be above all the social rules (think Dr. House…he can come across as really mean, but the hospital still kept him around) is if you’re really really good at what you do and no one else can do it better than you, and you’re in a position where you can do that. Otherwise, you probably have to try to figure out what works in your work environment and what doesn’t.

    10. N/A

    11. N/A

    12. N/A

    1. #12. I’ve definitely had some body image issues. Other people were skinnier, more put-together, etc. But watching What Not to Wear has really helped me have a positive image-that what you wear should make you feel great! I definitely don’t like how society portrays the ideal body image. Tabloids are so fixated on how much a female celebrity has gained weight, but now the opposite is also true: I’m seeing articles or even Facebook comments bashing women who are naturally skinny. I think we should just accept that there all kinds of healthy sizes! We don’t need to keep bashing different people just to make a point 😦

  14. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I am not officically diagnosed, and most people do not know that I strongly believe I’m autistic. I haven’t told them specifically because I don’t think they would be supportive. My boyfriend has known ever since I read about Asperger’s and realized it sounded like me, and has been amazingly supportive. I told my mom after a couple of months of researching, and she has also been very supportive. Both my boyfriend and mom have made adjustments in how they treat me because of AS and it’s really helping.

    Q2: I feel much less ashamed now that I know about Asperger’s, actually. I always felt broken, weird, and different, and spent most of my life wondering what on Earth was wrong with me. Now I know it’s not wrong, so much of the shame has disappeared.

    Q3: DThere really aren’t enough people who know at this point for me to experience a double standard.

    Q4: Absolutely not. I wouldn’t be me if I was NT. Although there are a couple of things that bug me about AS (sensory issues), I know that the very things I like most about myself are also related to AS.

    Q5: Quite often actually. Usually used to describe someone who’s different in a way that says “look at their behavior, there’s something wrong with them”.

    Q6: I totally felt like an outsider and like there was something I was missing about being human. People don’t make much sense to me, and I knew deep down that I was different in some fundamental way.

  15. anonymous answers:

    Q1: When I was first diagnosed, I was asked a ton of questions. Now? Not so much. They seem to have reverted back to how they originally looked at me because I don’t really mention it as much. I guess if I made it a point to discuss it more often, they might pay more attention to it.

    Q2: Only when I’m struggling and I have a meltdown in a situation that I shouldn’t. (such as at work in a meeting with my boss which has happened quite a few times.)

    Q3: YES!! The stimming is bad thing annoys me so badly. Then there’s the thing if I repeat a question, I am assumed to be echoing instead of trying to verify if I heard the person correctly because of outside noise interferring with my hearing, etc.

    Q4: No. I’ve spent my entire life this way. I wouldn’t change my unique perspective for anything. The people who love me wouldn’t change me either.

    Q5: Very often. I sometimes hear people use it that don’t know I’m autistic right in front of me who end up red-faced after I inform them that I’m autistic. Most people don’t know I’m autistic because I tend to keep quiet until I determine if a person is safe or not. Those people never get deemed safe.

    Q6: Yes. I’ve always been an outsider. I don’t answer questions the way people expect you to. I don’t appear the way women are expected to. I don’t care about the same things as most of my peers (makeup, clothing, shoes, other people’s relationships, he said/she said stuff).

  16. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Not officially diagnosed, but discussed it with family and friends. Thought they wouldn’t be supportive, but they generally are.

    Q2: No

    Q4: No. Although there are a few autistic traits I would like to reduce the effect of, I wouldn’t want to be neurotypical.

    Q5: Not very often

    Q6: Yes

  17. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I see myself as female. I was raised as a girl but I don’t fit normal female behavior or appearance. I wore my hair extremely short for a long period of time. I wear what I deem comfortable (soft tshirts, etc). I don’t wear makeup. I don’t care for any shoes that aren’t comfortable to me. I understand that there are more ways to view your gender than male/female and I still identify as female.

    Q8: I’ve been told I think like a man. I have a “fix it” brain rather than a “sympathetic ear” type brain. For a long time I basically wore jeans and tshirts constantly. I don’t care for dresses. I did dress somewhat male for a while when I was younger but I eventually defaulted back to more plain women’s clothing.

    Q9: I do somewhat follow gender roles. It tends to be more of a method of emulating others to appear more “normal” or “feminine”. My interests are not gender specific because I enjoy a little bit of everything. I don’t follow the assertive/emotional/nurturing thing because I am very nurturing with my children but I’m not always emotional in the expected ways and I’m defintely more assertive than I am expected to be because I don’t tend to keep my opinion to myself very well.

    Q10: I think it is somewhat influenced by my autistic traits because the way I dress is influenced by my sensory needs. I can’t wear makeup because of sensory issues as well. I don’t fit gender stereotypes because I see a lot of them as completely pointless or useless so I just follow my own needs/wants.

    Q11: My sexuality is different because I don’t follow with the women are soft, fragile creatures theme. I enjoy some things sexually that aren’t the “norm” and I am not a very romantic person.

    Q12: I do not see myself as particularly “sexy” so to speak. I feel clumsy because of gross motor issues and proprioceptive sensory issues and I hate the forced eye contact thing that tends to go with sex. I couldn’t care less if someone looked me in the eye or not and I’d rather they didn’t look me in the eye at all.

  18. anonymous answers:

    Q8: No, I’ve always considered myself to be male and that’s it.

    Q9: Gender roles and stereotypes must exist for a reason, and can be useful. However that doesn’t mean that they must always be followed.

    Q11: I’m asexual. A significant minority of asexuals are autistic, and I suspect even more are non-diagnosed. There’s probably a link between the two, but I’m not sure what or why.

  19. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I understand gender as a mental thing, not governed by one’s physical sex. I’m cis-gendered, a woman in a female body.

    Q8: I’ve always been happy being female.

    Q9: Nope. I dress feminine now (in a tough, sort of grungy way though) because I like it and fashion is a way for me to be creative. I didn’t always dress like that though, and had no problem wearing men’s clothes.

    I really reject the stereotype of women as nurturing, emotional, social, centered around others, selfless, and agreeable. I’m intellectual, distant, assertive, unsentamental, and tough. Definitely not your stereotypical 20 something girl.

    My interests are centered around art, nature, science, and technology. I was never really interested in stereotypical girl stuff.

    In relationships, I need equality, respect, and a purpose. I’m not the most accommodating or ‘nice’ person, but I am very fair and don’t manipulate people. Again, very different from the female stereotype of being social for socializing’s sake and being generally agreeable and nice.

    Q10: I do think my lack of gender conformity has soething to do with autism. Since I’m not wired to be socially centered, I care less what people will think. Also, since I find it hard to identify with others, I don’t see myself as part of a group.

    Also, there are some traits that go with autism (being reserved, less social, less nurturing) that directly oppose female stereotypes. I kind of automatically don’t fit society’s mold.

    Q11: I’m heterosexual, so that’s not different.

    The structure of my relationship with my boyfriend is different, however. We’re completely equal; all decisions are made together, we each have equal say, and housework is divided equally based on skill rather than gender role. We’re living together but not married (and we aren’t going to get married), and we have decided not to have kids. We’re not social or family oriented so we pretty much keep to ourselves in our quiet apartment.

    We think we’re both autistic, and our relationship shows that. It’s very rational, everything’s planned out and decided, socializing is minimal, and our apartment is very sensory-friendly.

    Q12: I lost weight as a teenager, and now at age 23 I’m on the skinny side of the healthy weight range (5’8″ at 125-130 pounds). Still, until very recently, I hated my body. I couldn’t see myself clearly and thought I was still fat even though I wasn’t. I’m still working on it. Thankfully, my boyfriend has helped me tremendously in this area.

  20. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, I am unable to share my diagnosis. Expect with a few and they do not talk about it.

    Q2: No, but I wish I could trust my family with hearing my diagnosis.

    Q3: I get very upset when this happens about emotions. If I am able to articulate what my emotions are then, the person turns it around and says that I am “too sensitive” “being harsh” “overacting” However when they do it they feel that they are entitled and that it is not the same.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: I don’t.

    Q6: Yes, always! I never felt as though I belonged and the world confused me very much.

  21. anonymous answers:

    Q1: My family refused to believe my diagnosis and after some very cruel things said I cut off communication. Dealing with the diagnosis was hard enough without dealing with them as well.

    Q2: Yes, I feel profoundly ashamed. The explanation was useful, but I work in an environment where excuses aren’t tolerated, so I live in a state of fear that I will make too many mistakes.

    Q3: Very few people know I am autistic. Those that do don’t make any allowances. I am ‘normal’ or I am ‘wrong’, there’s no middle ground. I don’t notice other people doing autistic things so I can’t make a comparison. Fortunately my main stim is teeth grinding, which is hidden.

    Q4: Yes, I would be neurotypical simply because I feel so alone like this. If I could find a way to be accepted and know that people would forgive my mistakes I wouldn’t want to change, but that’s not likely to happen.

    Q5: About once a week.

    Q6: I just always felt wrong, and eventually came to realise that any feelings of fitting in were only temporary.

  22. Doing your surveys in one fell swoop today. Sorry if I’m spamming you!

    Acceptance
    1. Do your friends and family ask you about your diagnosis? Do you feel supported by them?
    I’m not officially diagnosed due to life circumstances, but I feel mostly supported. Sometimes things get hard because my partner has her own disorder which means she gets hurt when I can’t process her words or because of my tone of voice. I sometimes get the feeling that people think I’m trying to be “special”.

    2. Do you ever feel ashamed to be autistic/technically disabled/different? Especially after spending a big chunk of your life as a ‘normal’ person?
    Yes, I do, because as a society we’re told such awful things about autism and I think many of us soak up some of the ignorance whether we want to or not. People get taught to make themselves feel better by comparing themselves to other people, and there comes a point when you realise you are now the person they are using for that. Which is why I think the online community and acceptance movements are so important.

    3. Do you all experience a lot of double standards regarding your autism, and how do you deal with this? For instance, it annoys me so much that an NT person can move their hands around, fiddle with clothing etc, but when I do it, it’s stimming and therefore A Bad Thing in the eyes of others.
    My main stim is not socially acceptable because it doesn’t look “normal” and I don’t see NT people (excepting those with other disorders) ever doing it. But I do feel as if there are other things I am not allowed to react to because it’s going to be taken as me trying to “prove” I’m autistic. This may well be in my head.

    4. If you could be neurotypical, would you want to be?
    I often think it would be easier. But overall, the answer is still no; I wouldn’t even be me anymore.

    5. How often do you hear someone use autistic as a pejorative?
    All the time. Particularly now it’s a trend on the internet to use it as an insult.

    6. Before you realised you were autistic did you ever understand yourself as being somehow not human or not from your culture of birth? (e.g. an alien from the wrong planet or born into the wrong country, century or species etc)
    No, but I did think I was awfully inept and simultaneously inferior and superior to my peers.

    Gender/Sexuality/Body Image

    1. How do you relate to gender? What is your understanding of the word/concept?
    Well, I’m transsexual, but I think gender roles are a construct. I don’t see anything wrong with anyone of any gender doing stuff not stereotypical to that gender. I don’t have a “feeling” of being male or female, only masculine or feminine, and I don’t think those necessarily correspond to being a man, a woman, or something else entirely. I transitioned because I felt that my body was wrong for me, but I don’t think it has anything to do with “gender” as it is understood in the concept of stereotypes or levels of masculinity/femininity.

    2. Has there been a point in your life when you felt that you wanted to be, or were meant to be, a gender different to the one you were raised as? (If so, why do you think this was, how old were you, how long did this last?)
    Covered above.

    3. Do you currently believe in or follow gender roles and stereotypes? (for example, roles/rules about how you’re meant to dress and present yourself, what interests you’re meant to have, how assertive/emotional/nurturing/etc you’re supposed to be, what role you’re supposed to take in personal and professional relationships, etc)
    Not at all. I mostly fit male stereotypes, but I have a few interests that would be deemed “feminine”, and I don’t think this makes me any less of a man, and vice versa for women, of course.

    4. If you are some variety of transgender or answered that you’re gender nonconformist in some way, do you think that this is in any way related to your autistic traits? Do you think you ‘do gender’ or ‘do transgender’ differently to other people because you’re autistic?
    Certainly studies seem to suggest a testosterone connection in both autism and FTM transsexualism, but I do think autistic people on the whole seem to care a whole lot less about what’s “appropriate” for their gender role, and seem to have interests which don’t necessarily match it.

    5. Is your sexuality, romantic orientation or preferred relationship structure different from our cultural norms in some way? If so how does this differ and do you think this is related to your being autistic?
    I’m bisexual, but I don’t think there is a connection in this case.

    6. Have you ever had any difficulties with your self image, if so how did these manifest? (such as physical/bodily gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, eating disorders)
    I have gender dysphoria and have struggled with my body image.

  23. 2 feeling ashamed) sometimes. I have a bit of internalised ableism. I don’t look down on other people just myself :/

    4 do i want to be nt) no. Despite the internalised ableism, I don’t want to be NT.

    5 how often do i hear autism as an insult) pretty much never. I hang out in disability-friendly circles on the internet, so at most I just hear people talking about the discrimination they face. I’m sure this is a thing, I just don’t have any interaction off the internet that is more involved than “Thank you for shopping at store today! Do you have your store card with you? Will you be paying in cash or with a card?” so it doesn’t come up. Also, I don’t think the average person in my country has heard of autism anyway. I do occasionally hear teenagers talking to each other, their voices carry in through the window. The most commonly used insults they use are “semen” and “fag”.

    6 feeling-not-quite-human) I’ve always felt a bit of culture shock that never goes away no matter where I live. A “they don’t do things like that where I come from” thing but I haven’t figured out where the “where I come from” is. I get that feeling in the place I was raised, I get it with my family, I get in the place I’ve lived my entire adult life in.

    7 how-relate-to-gender) I have multiple genders.

    8 do i feel I’m different gender than the one assigned at birth) Yes, at times, but i don’t want to transition, because I’m multiple genders. I have at times presented as male and at other times presented as female and I was able to pass as either.

    9 do i believe in gender roles) It depends what you mean by believe. I believe that they are in important concept to most people, that many people are comfortable acting them out, that many people find it important to feel womanly and feminine or manly and masculine. I believe that it is largely a social construct, perhaps with some weak biological factors. It is also objectively true that I am infantalised less when I present as a woman in a skirt with my hair in a bun and that I am treated like a child (I’m 30ish) when I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt. When I was presenting as male I had trouble buying smokes because people refused to believe I was an adult and that my ID belonged to me. When I dress womanly, people use the polite form with me and when I dress tomboyish they use the adult-to-child language form. At religious meetings, I’m sent off to play with the children if I’m wearing pants, and my friends who are my age try to mother me (try to get me to exercise more when I’m sick, tell me to be quiet while the adults are talking, speak very condescendingly to me) if I’m not fitting the appropriate gender roles.

    12) I have trouble recognising myself in the mirror. My face looks different each time I see it and it never looks like me. I have a bit of dysphoria. I think my body looks nice enough it just doesn’t look like me, but I don’t know how to make it look more like me because me is a blurred, undefined thing. A small example: the last time I looked at my hands, I noticed they were longer and thinner than I was expecting them to be. Now, looking at them, they are shorter and fatter than I was expecting.

  24. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I always felt female, however when I was at school boys used to refer to me by my surname while they referred to the other girls by their first name. We were in school uniform and I had long hair so I don’t know what made them do this.

    Q9: I used to like dressing up and wearing make up however my social phobia has stopped that. I can be quite assertive but often avoid it because I find the interpersonal emotional fall out too difficult to handle. I nurture my animals and try not to think about the things I can’t have (eg children).

    Q11: My touch issues are so severe that I cannot manage a relationship; if could I would be heterosexual.

    Q12: Someone once told me I have body dysmorphia. I have never seen myself as attractive. My weight swings between a UK size 12 and 16; once I went up to a 22. I have disordered eating firstly because I need a lot of carbohydrate to not feel depressed and secondly because I have autistic eating patterns – I can eat the same thing day in day out for weeks, and that thing is rarely very healthy. The only plus is that I have no interest in fast food.
    I don’t think of my body as part of me, at least, not in the way other people seem to have ownership of their bodies. I brush my hair without noticing my face, and outside the bathroom I never look at my reflection. I rarely wear make up because it wouldn’t occur to me to check or reapply it. I forget to brush my hair. It’s not that I don’t remember, exactly, it’s just that getting through the day requires all my concentration and there’s nothing left for anything else.

  25. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender: ???

    Q8: Tomboy as a child, girly in youth to “fit in” now my gender is not specific, I know I’m a woman but that just means I have certain organs men dont

    Q9: These are thing I used to spend my daily life perfecting, after my self-discovery, I just can’t give a monkeys, I leave it to the other party to form the boundarys in any relationship

    Q11: I can’t understand anything from my parents culture/religion it just dosnt make logical sense to me so I ignore it and do what I feel is right for me (never easy)

    Q12: Controled what/how much I ate as a child/teenager and I had to learn that the person in the mirror was me

  26. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I see gender as being the roles defined by our society/culture and how we view each sex. So a female is a female everywhere but the female roles/attributes expected by different groups make up the female identity i.e. gender (or something like that!).

    Q8: Yes in terms of when I was a young girl I could see how much less was expected of my elder brother and how he was excused and forgiven lots of “bad” behaviour. I remember my mother joking to some relatives that I had penis envy because I wanted to be a boy. I was 12 and knew about Freud and hated her for months after that, because she was being untruthful and laughing at me just to get other people to laugh.

    Q9: No I think most of it is rubbish because none of it ever fitted me – therefore it must be wrong! I also think they’re used to control people. I’m androgynous in many ways. I work in IT, dress in women’s jeans and shirts at work, flat shoes, no so called sexy clothes ever. I used to try but could never handle makeup etc, too uncoordinated for all that stuff anyway – too easy to rip, dirty, spill or smear.
    I am caring, gentle, quiet, fun to be with and I enjoy cooking. I’m not big on ‘being looked after’ or ‘looking after’, I do it if required because it is necessary and then I pay attention and try to do it right. But it’s not because I’m a natural nurse. I’m also intelligent, opinionated, logical, analytical, anti-social and androgynous in public. I expect to be treated as an equal and I learned to see people’s weaknesses and if under fire will use humour to expose them.

    Q11: I’m female and basically heterosexual. Probably because although I find some women attractive, I also find them scary and often beyond my comprehension. I’m middle aged and now most men don’t even see me unless I speak, and then most find me a bit scary and threatening. So the relationships I have are not the same as those of my NT friends. And yes, for me I think it’s related to being autistic.

    Q12: Yes, and it shows as a lack of self care, because usually I’m quite fastidious about being clean/presentable. I can also eat or drink too much and so put on weight.

  27. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is a social construct which does not necessarily square with biological sex. There are a variety of male and female “genders”.

    Q8: Biologically I am female and it took a long time to accept this. For a long time I wanted to be male and had I been so my education would have been more suitable for me personally, and I might have fitted in better. Other than sex, it was only motherhood that made me happy to be female.

    Q9: I generally only follow gender roles where it would be difficult not to, except that as a mother despite many protestations I end up doing things because they need doing. I always wear trousers and never wear make-up. I’m not at all romantic. I have always been interested in football and cricket, and interested in listening to rock music rather than caring what the band members looked like.

    Q10: Possibly. A lot of the conformist behaviour makes no sense to me. I do try to argue against stereotyping. I hate pink. May be more to do with being rational and logical.

    Q11: I am heterosexual although I am no longer that interested and wondered if this was due to lack of biological imperative (not expecting to have any more children). I never had “normal dates” when I was younger. This may be due to difficulties with social communication.

    Q12: I am usually unhappy with my self image but have (I think) more important things to worry about and move on to those. No shortage of sources of anxiety.

  28. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I see gender as a social construct that describes roles. It is often confused with biological sex because the same words, male/female, are used for the dominant two variants. I see gender as being more of a cognitive attribute than a physical one.

    Q8: Not as such. I’ve never really seen gender as part of my identity.

    Q9: A tricky question. I believe gender roles/stereotypes exist as a set of cultural rules. Some I follow because I was raised that way and they have become habit, others I follow because of fear of other people’s reactions to non-conformant behaviour. I relax some of these constraints in the company of people I know to be accepting (close friends).

    Q11: I’m largely asexual. My two relationships have both been hetero, my closest friends are mostly of the opposite sex, and I’ve found that people I consider visually attractive are roughly evenly split between women & men. I can’t say how much this is a consequence of autism.

    Q12: No.

  29. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, they don’t understand/believe me

    Q2: Yes as I feel like I’m letting my family/friends down but I can’t pretend anymore, its left me depressed

    Q3: Yes yes yes!!!

    Q4: Hell NO!!

    Q5: Rarely, I don’t think many around me are clued up enough

    Q6: Yes!!!

  30. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I have only told my (twin) sister at this moment (I’m going to get tested hopefully in the next week or so, but I have been a suspect for a while). I feel supported, but she warns me not to immediately blame everything on Asperger’s… Which is natural.

    Q2: I do not, I am someone that waves my freak flag high (coincidentally, my friends and I designed a “freak flag” that we could literally wave around). I’ve always known I was a bit different, so I have never considered myself “normal”… After a while, I just stopped caring what other’s thought since I knew there was no way I was going to be like them (so why pretend?)

    Q3: Especially with stimming. I do it all the time, but I can’t stand it when people around me fidget.

    Q4: No. I think that Asperger’s is one of those things that makes up or influences a large part of who I am, so I could never imagine myself not having it, and personally, don’t wish to.

    Q5: Not that often, since autism (unfortunately) doesn’t come up in usual conversation. Although I was talking to a friend the other day about Asperger’s (she doesn’t know I’m a suspect) and she was saying how she pitied autistic people and wondering what it would be like to have autism. I was a little annoyed about the pity, and the tone of voice was slightly derogatory.

    Q6: When I was younger I would think that I was an old robot (a sentient automaton) that was pretending to be human. I think my terrible empathy skills played a part in choosing something that wasn’t human.

  31. anonymous answers:

    Q1: My diagnosis was not only recent but the few people i have told seem to forget it most of the time. They thought it odd that I wanted a diagnosis, and seem to still just see me as me, no difference. Which is lovely in many ways.

    Q2: No, diagnosis is too recent and I hope I never do.

    Q3: Doesn’t apply as so few people know. I have always talked to myself and I just make a joke of it and tell other people not to interrupt. I have made a huge use of humour and self mockery over the years as then I can get away with ‘being me’.

    Q4: I don’t know what that would be like, and I do wish I’d known earlier about my AS, as I feel a deep sense of loss that most of my life was spent not being me. I’ve worked so hard at trying do everything well but it took so much effort and I never quite succeeded the way so many others seem to. However, many people are anxious and unhappy about things in their lives, regardless of their neurology – I find that sad. And now I know who and why I am it is an exciting place to be, rather than wishing I were different.

    Q5: Never recently. But I don’t know any other autistics and few people know I am.

    Q6: Yes. At primary school I was called Mr Spock (tho I am female) – one of my pet phrases was “But that’s not logical” and I’d get upset because no-one else cared about logic. I always felt different with other people and apart from my family – no known autistics anywhere at this point, but who knows?

  32. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Currently awaiting diagnosis and have only told one friend who is supportive – but then she has her own problems with MS and is more understanding than most.

    Q2: Not ashamed but wary of NT reaction – I think they have more to be ashamed of.

    Q3: Not diagnosed but I have always been called a fidget, and sometimes people expect me to be able to stop when I can’t.

    Q4: That’s a difficult one. Probably not, but I would like more acceptance and feel society should adapt as significant number of people are atypical.

    Q5: Occasionally. Memorably Chris Huhne’s son used it as a pejorative in one of his texts/e-mails – the story was big in the UK but as far as I know nobody called him out on this.

    Q6: Yes. An alien or possibly foreign. I usually get on better with people whose first language is not English. Or that it was all a figment of my imagination – since then I have decided I could never have imagined anything so bad.

  33. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I don’t have much contact with my family: sort of drifted apart after my mother died. Friends are a different matter: a couple of them have been most supportive at times.

    Q2: Quite the opposite: it was a relief to have my suspicions confirmed and to have a reason to explain why I am how I am. I’ve always felt myself to be different but have always just seen that as the way I am – no value judgement.

    Q3: People who know me do accept things from me that they wouldn’t from other people, so perhaps that’s a positive kind of double standards?

    Q4: I can’t answer this – I can’t imagine being me without all the traits that combine to make me who I am.

    Q5: Not for many years now, at least in the circles I frequent.

    Q6: I always had a feeling that there were these beings that looked like me, called humans, and then there was me. I still occasionally refer to “humans” or “people” in way that excludes me.

  34. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Sure. I think gender is the manifestation of multiple variables [only one of which is your biological sex].

    Q8: No

    Q9: While I do think all gender roles are societally-conventional — I don’t think that means they’re pointless or harmful. Basically that means I stick to some and don’t stick to others — depends on what’s the most expedient/helpful for a given set of circumstances.

    Q11: Yes — I believe in a familial-style that is based on multiple men and women creating a family in which all adults are married to each other [meaning there are wives with plural husbands and husbands with plural wives], and where children are raised communally by all adults in the family regardless of paternity-tracking.

    I’ve never tied it to being autistic before — I just think that being “used to” being different makes autistic people more likely to give the unorthodox a chance.

    Q12: No.

  35. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No. I feel supported by my wife — but that’s it.

    Q2: No — I just feel frustrated that no one ever took notice when I was a kid and intervened to get home some support early on. I had to figure all this out on my own as an adult.

    Q3: Absolutely — there’s the fidgeting you mentioned, there’s passionate interests in things, there’s correctly guessing the mental states of others, etc. An NT doing these things is allowed a normal margin for variability — but mine is a diagnosable behavior.

    Q4: No

    Q5: Often. I work on a university campus — so many of the younger undergrads use it to mean “Rain-Man like” — [like they use “that ‘s gay” or “I’m so OCD” incorrectly]

    Q6: I felt out of place for sure. I always preferred a fantasy world in my mind to what there was to experience out there.

  36. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, they don’t ask, but my SO is supportive and is better about my “quirks” now that we know why.

    Q2: Sometimes. Then again, it’s kind of liberating not to have to fail at being “normal” over and over.

    Q3: Yes. And of course, Asperger’s has become a dirty word since the shootings.

    Q4:I’d probably be bored to death.

    Q5: Fairly often. It’s uncomfortable.

    Q6: Oh, yes! All of the above (except possibly being from the wrong planet).

  37. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Since I have a few trans* friends, and not necessarily fitting into the gender stereotype myself, I feel like I’m rather open to the concept of gender. Although how much of it I actually understand is questionable.

    Q8: I am agendered (no gender), so I guess that counts? I’m not quite sure why, just that I have felt this way for a long time. I suppose having friends of both sexes helped influence my feelings.

    Q9: I am definitely at odds with gender stereotypes. I feel like people should dress and at how they feel instead of what is “normal”. Especially males, since it is a lot harder for them to crossdress in public than females. Personally, I know I don’t dress or act according to my biological sex.

    Q10: I believe being autistic has played some part in my beliefs, but I think that even if I was neurotypical, my thoughts would be the same regarding gender.

    Q11: Well I’m asexual, so I guess that is different, although I don’t think that has to do with being autistic (for me anyway).

    Q12: I’ve had a bit of body dysmorphia in the past, but luckily that is practically gone now. I have a new haircut and supporting friends to thank for that.

  38. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is whether a person thinks of them selves as male female or something inbetween – different from biological sex.

    Q8: No, but while I was raised female, I was taught that there were very few differences really between male and female – so there wasn’t really any conflict for me

    Q9: Not really, at least not with awareness of doing so. I am just me. I think I probably break people’s gender roles but as much because of a family upbringing that taught that there was little difference, rather than because of being Aspie.

    Q11: I am bisexual – or at least that is the best label – I like women from a sexual perspective but have mainly had relationships with guys which my friends tell me makes little sense – but maybe it is because of actually following some stereotypes to some degree – I am female and want kids. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my Aspieness.

    Q12: Yes, found it hard as a teen to handle the changes in my body then got sick with an autoimmune disease and was even less happy with my body as a result. Overcame this when I chose to do artist modelling.

  39. 1) They don’t know. I expect superficial approval and behind the scenes judgement. I would 100% expect it to be weaponized against me in an arguement.

    2) Not anymore. I was ashamed of not being “normal” because I thought I could fix it and was choosing not to. I want to improve some things in my life that may be autism related, like time management and cleaning, but I’m not ashamed of stimming or anything anymore.

    3) I don’t disclose my autism, so I still receive the benefit of the doubt at work. No one labels my behavior as stimming.

    4) No. The grass is not greener on the other side. There is no “neurotypical utopia”. The only thing NT society has over autism is privilege. The privilege to take misery out on others. Most NTs are not happy people and are not content with their lives, no matter how much money and privilege they have. That’s why the hate exists. People that spend their time hating or “at war with (insert)” are spending time being miserable, not being happy. Social instincts have nothing to do with being happy.

    5) Never as far as I know. I hear it used neutrally in clinical settings. “So and so is Autistic” “My child is Autistic”. Never as an insult. Usually the R-word, or other demeaning words are used to make fun of an Autistic or other neurological condition.

    6) I knew I didn’t know what to say in conversations, and that I did stuff that no one else did that I had to hide.and that I was different. I wasn’t voluntarily unwilling to speak. The words just don’t come. I blamed myself though, as others blamed me as well.

    7) I understand it biologically. I don’t care for stereotyped roles or social rules in general. Whatever works in a partnership and makes everyone comfortable and happy is fine with me.

    8) I listen a lot more than I speak, and people (mostly women)have labeled that behavior as feminine. I never felt like I wanted to be a woman or I should be a woman though. I play female characters in RPGs and MMOs often.

    9) I follow male stereotypes mostly with my interests….mostly (football, most sports, video games,). Getting back to the above question though. I enjoy playing as females in games and I spend a decent amount of my time in MMOs on giving them distinct looks. I have also been told in relationships that I am unusually emotional for a male and I have been told by many people that I am unusually nurturing for a male. I have received that feedback in both positive and negative ways. As far as physical appearance, I am overtly male. I look and sound like a guy.

    10) I honestly don’t know. There appears to be a good deal of diversity in the online and blogging community for Autistics in many avenues. Bloggers are sadly a vocal minority. I don’t know the sexuality of the silent majority. I don’t know if neurodiversity and sexual diversity correlate. I really don’t care if autism is responsible for my non stereotypical emotional behavior either. I don’t want to “fix” it and become another “bro”.

    11) I like a woman that can carry the conversation and make social plans because I am not good at that.

    12) I have always had a problem with my weight, I would like to lose more. At first it was for social acceptance and believeing I was fat and ugly but now it is for health issues as well. I would like to be thinner because I have severe damage to my left leg. (almost lost it last year). I would like to reduce my weight to avoid that fate.

  40. anonymous comments:

    Q7: I feel more conscious of “personhood”. I never felt that you could/n’t do something because you were a girl or a boy.

    Q8: I was/am a Tom Boy.

    Q9: My best friend is pretty girlie. I have emulated her dress style . I am happiest in jeans shorts, t shirt and flip flops

    Q11: dunno

    Q12: eating disorders

  41. anonymous answers:

    Q1: When first diagnosed my DH had 50 million questions. That has turned down greatly. He’s been very supportive and our marriage has been given a new lease on life. My Dad very supportive and asks questions. he feels badly that i wasn’t diagnosed as a kid, like he “failed”. nothing could be more from the truth. Mom sort of but not supportive. i’ve been going back to get more info from them about how i was when young. pretty much mom emphasized that i have no empathy. and it came off not in the best light. my best friend has been supportive.

    Q2: NO!!! I knew i never fit in, now i understand what my blind spots are.

    Q3: I used to spend a GREAT DEAL OF ENERGY TO SURPRESS MY stimming. But I also didn’t know what it was, ie when my hands would shake etc. No I really don’t give a flip and stim to my heart’s content. Actively doing it helps to calm me

    Q4: NO. I am me. I don’t want to change that. If I did, I feel I would loose all the best parts

    Q5: yes. I have actively pointed out to people that they are being biased. Usually they don’t realize they did it. They also don’t know that I am AS.

    Q6: I SO NEVER FIT IN. I blamed on moving a lot, but I realize now it was so much more. I don’t feel crazy any more.

  42. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I was diagnosed as an adult. My mother is the only one in my family that I have told, but the issue is just ignored. I don’t feel comfortable telling the rest of my family. My partner asks some things. It has taken a few years since diagnosis for us to be able to talk about it at all. I think she felt like she was trapped. I only have one friend, I am fairly open about it, but often feel like she thinks that I am just being dramatic. I find this very upsetting. So, no, I am not well supported at all.

    Q2: I feel like most people think that I am lying about being autistic. I push myself hard to try to do things that ‘normal’ people do (like go to work, get good grades) but then people only see what I achieve and don’t see what is eally going on (inside me and when I am at home) for me to be able to do these things. My day to day life is very difficult.

    Q3: If my partner is upset I will take care of her. But when I am having a hard time it is “autism again, I’m so sick of this affecting everything!” It doesn’t matter that I may have been coping ok for long periods. She perceives that it a constant issue.

    Q4: No. Although my ice would be much less difficult without anxiety.

    Q5: Never

    Q6: A previous person commented that they felt both superior and inferior to everyone around them. This sums it up for me also. I never fit it.

  43. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No they do not ask. I feel supported by close family and my best friend but not anyone else.

    Q2: I don’t tell anyone I am autistic because I am afraid I will lose my career and people will avoid me. But I am not ashamed, just afraid people won’t understand & I don’t feel like being the one to educate them. I just make my money and go home.

    Q3: No, because most people don’t know I am autistic.

    Q4: NO. NT’s have a lot of shortcomings, and my autism comes with what I call “superpowers”: eidetic memory, high IQ, artistic & musical abilities, uncanny focus & concentration. NT’s are forgetful, dull, and flighty in comparison lol.

    Q5: about half the time I hear it mentioned at all, it is in a negative sense, and even when it is not directly negative, I get the sense that pity or lack of understanding is involved. No one talks about it as though it is positive, that’s for sure.

    Q6: This information was not well received by my elementary school peergroup.

  44. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I am both genders. My understanding of gender is that it is something that someone intrinsically knows about themselves, without question. I do not question that I am both genders.

    Q8: There have been many times that I thought that I was a boy. When I was young I was a tomboy. When I was a teenager I realised that I was a lesbian, though now that I look back on this time, I was struggling more with understanding my gender than being gay. I had never heard of anyone who was confused about their gender, but I had heard of plenty who questioned their sexuality. So I just assumed that this was my case also. Now I don’t really think of myself as a lesbian, though others would. None of the labels really matter to me. I think this is because I don’t really care what anyone else thinks of me and I believe this is because of my autism.

    Q9: No. But I have one friend, she is quite girly in her manner and beliefs. When I spend time with her I feel affected by her views and change my behaviour- I dress more girly, I don’t talk about my more male based interests. Maybe I don’t care what people think about me in general, but it seems I do care about what this friend thinks of me, because I don’t want to lose my one friend.

    Q10: I don’t seem to place the same value on the issue of gender. Many would be tormented by the thought that they are confused about their gender, but like being gay, I just don’t see it as a very big deal. I grew up in a very conservative family and area, so this has not come from being raised with an open mind. I think it comes from having autism that I can look at myself and at others without judgment. Someone in the “gay” box or the “transgender” box is no different to someone in the “I like red” box or “I am blond” box.

    Q12: For a short time I believed I wanted to change to a male. But I realised that I would not fit that body any more than my current one.

  45. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender annoys me, as does race and any other physically differentiating trait. I do not appreciate having it foisted upon me and I do not relate to either gender. I understand it as a biological condition which humans ascribe way too much meaning to. People identify with their gender which makes about as much sense as identifying with being short, or having hair. It doesn’t make one who one is.

    Q8: HI hated being a girl as a child, but I did not want to be a boy either. I wanted to be taken seriously is all, and it seemed that girls were constantly being coddled and condescended to. I wanted to be gender neutral. Despite trying to come to terms with being female, I still feel this way and struggle with it as an adult. If there was a neutral gender option I would take it.

    Q9: In public, I follow all of the gender rules and stereotypes with depressing exactitude: makeup, heels, hair; I even raise the pitch of my voice as I notice it gets males to acquiesce more quickly to my requests. It helps me make money, network, and be accepted; and prevents harassment & ridicule. At home I am gender neutral, and with people I am very close to, I am too, but sometimes even people who claim to care about me complain I am not feminine enough, which is infuriating & causes arguments.

    Q10: Perhaps. Since socialization is not very important to me, it is understandable that the importance of conforming to any societal expectations beyond that which is necessary to make money and survive, is also lessened. Also I am activity-oriented versus people-oriented, so it makes sense that my identity is more wrapped up with the things I DO versus how people may perceive me.

    Q11: I experimented with bisexuality for a while, but found I had the same problem with women as with men: I do not want to be in a relationship with them or spend large chunks of time with them. Considering spending time with people is part of socializing, then yes, I would say it is related to being autistic. Also, I cannot deal with alpha males, and must be the dominant person in my relationship, even though I am the female and he is the male. Again, since I don’t relate to being female per se, and this is because I don’t identify with how people see me, but more with what my actions are, which might be connected to lack of interest in social concepts, then yes, this disregard for traditional relationship structure may also be related to my Autism.

    Q12: Yes. I do not like being perceived as a sex object, which it appears any female who is not disgusting, is. I used to cut myself as a result, to try and make myself less sexually attractive. I also like to stay very thin, but not to the point of eating disorders or being underweight, because that would weaken me physically and I like to be physically strong. I just don’t want to have to have more breasts and buttocks than are absolutely necessary.

  46. anonymous responses:

    Q1: My mother does, definitely, but no one else really asks much at all. I feel supported by my mother and my partner.

    Q2: Absolutely. I feel I’ve let people down.

    Q3: I don’t think I’ve experienced this.

    Q4: I don’t know… maybe if it could guarantee that I would be confident and ‘normal’ around other people.

    Q5: Never

    Q6: yes. In fact for a long time I was part of the Starseed community (those who believe their soul originated on another planet) but even there, I felt out of place.

  47. anonymous responses:

    Q1: No, they don’t ask. My bf is very accepting (has ADD himself, probably with a touch of autism). My family does’t really understand, think that with my brain (high iq) I shouldn’t have problems.

    Q2: Not ashamed! But uncomfortable, yes, sometimes. And now that I’m looking for a job it is a concern, because I will need some adjustments (quiet workplace in particular), but I don’t know how or when to bring it up.

    Q3: No, sorry, I don’t recognize this.

    Q4: Depends on what would be taken away. I would like to be able to lie, interpret body language and be more socially able, but I wouldn’t want to miss my eye for detail, high iq, analytical skills, rationality etc.

    Q5: About once a week, if media counts.

    Q6: No, not really.

  48. anonymous responses:

    Q1: Yes, and no. Mostly no. One person, yes.

    Q2: I have been so different that I was never able to pass for ‘normal’. I feel less ashamed now that I’ve stopped trying.

    Q3: Not really.

    Q4: No.

    Q5: Very rarely–sometimes when speaking about themselves, but not really negatively, more like ‘I’m a little autistic today’.

    Q6: Definitely–in nursery school. I knew I was not like any of the other children. I was a different kind of thing.

  49. anonymous responses:

    Q1: Yes, I talk about my diagnosis a lot with family and friends. I am quite outspoken about it. I see it as an opportunity to educate the masses about autism and smash stereotypes and stigmas.

    Q2: I did go through a very short period of feeling ashamed of not being able to cope like a NT especially as I am recently recovering from a breakdown. I am now very happy and at peace with who I am. I like the fact that I am different and can now fully embrace my differentness and understand myself so so so so much better than I ever have and am continuing on that journey of self-awareness.

    Q3: Not really. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest. Others just see it as part of who I am and mostly accept it. If they don’t and don’t try to understand me then I move on.

    Q4: I haven’t ever thought about being NT or normal. I am happy being my own autistic self and love learning more about myself and meeting like-minded people.

    Q5: Not very often, yet. I may still hear it.

    Q6: When I was 6 years old (my first year of school) I remember standing in the middle of the playground looking around at all the other children playing, laughing and talking and I realised I was different. I felt alien and ugly, that I didn’t belong and never would. My diagnosis brought so much relief. I did go through a grieving process of the lost years, years that I never will be able to get back. I sometimes wish that I could have been diagnosed when I was younger so I could have had more support and understanding of why I was different. Instead I was labelled as the naughty, difficult, different child who nobody tried to understand. Very painful and lonely at times. I have risen past this and embraced my differentness. I see my diagnosis as an excuse to be my true self without worrying about being judged for it.

  50. anonymous responses:

    Q1: My immediate family knows and are accepting. My closest friends, likewise. I’m incredibly careful about protecting my privacy beyond that, though, because I don’t need to find out the hard way that there is no acceptance.

    Q2: No, I feel less shame, now. I used to be a “normal” person who was just failing. Now I am just different and can accept my limitations along with my strengths.

    Q3: Because I’m largely still closeted, I don’t have to deal with the attitudes of others. I guess I see fiddling NTs as stimming, also, they just have less of an intense need or whatever.

    Q4: Nope, not a chance.

    Q5: Every other day.

    Q6: Yes, absolutely.

  51. anonymous responses:

    Q1: They might ask some questions if I bring it up. The people I make a point of spending my time with at this point in my life, both friends and family, pretty much accept me as I am and accommodate this new information about my diagnosis last year, at age 44, as part of who I am. We’re all outside the norm in one way or another, so they just think of this as being my way of being outside it. Many have been very supportive. Some were kind of doubtful as I awaited my diagnosis, but they’ve become more supportive since I got it.

    Q2: I’ve had fibromyalgia for most of my adult life, having been diagnosed at a time when the combination of my having been so young and the condition having been so poorly understood / heard of by so few made it very difficult for me to cope with the reactions of others on top of dealing with the condition itself. As a result, I’ve had some prior experience with certain types of struggles I’m facing now, with my Asperger’s diagnosis. However, I find it hard going to manage my feelings about my history of people expecting things from me that were different from what I could do and how I could be. It’s kind of like when I struggled to come out as gay as a teenager, coming from a liberal family that accepted gay people but didn’t think I could be gay or that, as such a young person, I could even know I was gay. In some ways, it’s also maybe like I’d imagine it is to come out as gay in midlife after having been raised as a fundamentalist Christian. In some ways, I’m afraid to stop masking/hiding certain aspects of myself, and seeing others be open about those things in themselves can be unsettling for me, even though I like them and don’t feel uncomfortable with them or judge them for being autistic. It’s as though I feel I have no excuse for being as I am and no right to claim Asperger’s as a legitimate explanation. In other words, “You’re not autistic, you’re just weird!” But this is from long years of trouble and abuse in my past, not because of the way most people I spend time with now are treating me. It just goes to show how powerful such a history can be, I guess.

    Q3: I grew up feeling as though there were two sets of rules; one for me and one for others, but not in a way that was to my advantage at all. I was always the weird, annoying one, and I had great difficulty understanding why others reacted differently to me. I now know it was probably a combination of my lack of understanding of how things worked and other people’s preexisting negative attitude towards me that caused much of that judgement. Some was also caused by the fact that I was the younger sibling of a sister with unrecognized sensory issues of her own, who was bullied by others and then turned around and bullied me. Some was also the result of being the daughter of a mother who also had unrecognized sensory issues and a serious anger issue with a hair trigger temper. So, the matter was complex. These days, I hang around people who are very accommodating of each other, and my relationship to family members has greatly improved. My openness about my diagnosis has also helped.

    Q4: No. I think I’m worthwhile as I am, in spite of the fact that I sometimes struggle with my self esteem. I know I’m worthwhile, especially when I think of how many people like and respect me these days. I also think nature thrives on diversity.

    Q5: I’ve heard it from time to time, but I don’t think I watch enough television or find myself forced into enough intolerant environments to be overly exposed to that kind of thing. I haven’t been able to work, and I haven’t been in school, in many years. Also, anyone who cares about me these days won’t throw that kind of thing around in my presence, now that they know how I’d take it, if they even would have done it before. I’m extremely lucky in that regard, and I really know it! That’s helping me recover better from the years of my past.

    Q6: Well, I’ll admit I’ve entertained the notion of perhaps being some other kind of animal born into a human body!

  52. anonymous responses:

    Q1: No. My husband and ONE of my friends have shown interest. Family not at all, even though I’m sure my mom is Aspie too.

    Q2: Yes. But it’s not really the autism I’m ashamed of…mostly I feel like a failure compared to “normal” people.

    Q3: No, I hide very well. People usually assume I’m stupid or flighty, not autistic.

    Q4: No. I want to be accepted as I am.

    Q5: Not very often, but my social circle is very small.

    Q6: YES. I thought I must be an alien well into my teen years.

  53. anonymous responses:

    Q1: My sister, yes. My parents, definitely not.

    When I first brought up thinking I’m autistic to my parents, my mother told me that autistic people can’t speak and asked me why I wanted to be an [ableist slur]. That was the end of that.

    Q2: On the contrary: I feel relieved now that I know why I’m different. I’ve always been me. I used to buy into all the things other people said about me: Lazy, rude, standoffish, weird, unempathetic, strange, etc. I knew I was different from everyone else, because nobody else in my school could get straight As and still be called stupid by the teachers.

    Now I know why. And that makes all the difference to me.

    Q3: Most people don’t know that I’m autistic, so they just chalk me up as fidgety.

    Q4: No.

    I like who I am.

    Q5: At least weekly.

    Q6: Yes. Wrong planet, wrong culture, wrong species, etc. When I was very young, I used to wonder if I was adopted because personality-wise I was so different from my family. When I got older, I used the analogy of being a human brought up by Miralukans (I was and remain a Star Wars geek) or a cat being raised by dogs.

  54. anonymous responses:

    Q7: Sexism!

    Q8: I didn’t want to be a boy but at primary school – loved to play with cars. At high school I couldn’t relate to the other girls because they talked about boys/make-up/discos. Now I do not conform to the stereotype of women… Although I do hate myself! I cannot wear make-up/skirts/revealing clothing! Would not feel safe! … Don’t anyway!

    Q9: See above! Men and women do not have behaviours dependent on gender. Society says that they do and most believe it because it’s easier than thinking for themselves. If only they knew the damage it does.

    Q10: Yes but upbringing and abusive “relationships” have a big part to play too.

    Q11: No… but as I do not judge/argue etc. I am more easily abused.

    Q12: Slight body dysmorphia because I hate myself so much. I tend to eat once a day… I don’t like food… recently said “It controls me” Didn’t realise I felt that. but don’t feel in control. Again When people and society tell you how worthless/stupid you are… blame you as much as they have done me… Self hate/loathing is inevitable.

  55. anonymous responses:

    Q7: Tough question. I think it is biological (XX / XY chromosomes) but know that there are some people that are in the wrong body.

    Q8: I wanted to be a boy only because they could do boyish things (climb trees, for example). And because I thought being able to pee while standing would be neat. But never because I physically thought I was a boy.

    Q9: No. I think it is ridicoulous that a woman who has a fling every week is a slut, and a man who does the same is a tough guy. And why I, as a woman, am not supposed to approach a guy. And everything you say in the question 🙂

    Q11: Yes. I am bisexual and do BDSM (and long before 50 Shades Of Grey became cult).
    I think that having to think about every single thing I do, also led to thinking about sexuality, and to being more aware of needs/preferences.

    Q12: No.I *am* overweight (BMI > 38) and I know it. 😉

  56. anonymous responses:

    Q7: ? Male and female? I know it’s a lot more complicated than that.

    Q8: I was an adult when I realized that I’m as much a male as I am female. It was when I started interacting with my husband’s friends (I’d never had a group of friends of my own). That was twenty years ago and I definitely still feel that way.

    Q9: Nope.

    Q10: I’ve seen so many other autistic women ‘do gender’ the same way I do that it must be related.

    Q11: I can’t be submissive to save my life. Almost all of the women around me have been submissive, into cooking and decorating, and it’s as if I’m a different species.

    Q12: Yes, I thought I was very ugly growing up, and I still have trouble with that.

  57. anonymous responses:

    Q7: I basically consider myself female but with some more typically male characteristics. I view gender as being on a sort of bell curve with most of the human population filling up either end in varying degrees and fewer who make up the remainder of the continuum.

    Q8: No

    Q9: I think I have in the past because I wanted to fit in. I’ve tried out a lot of different personas and styles, and have now settled on a more alternative, maybe tomboy-ish to some, look. I also have always felt a bit more in the typical man role in my relationship emotionally.

    Q10: No

    Q11: Yes. I am in a D/s relationship, as the ‘s’ party – pretty un-PC, really. I suppose it probably is related in that I need my D to give me an occasional push to do things that I imagine NTs do quite easily. I also look to him for sensory stimulus in the forms of bondage and mild(ish) pain at times. Apart from that it’s a very normal marriage.

    Q12: Yes, but not to the extent of some, I don’t think. Mainly when I moved continents and my social phobia got the better of me for a few months so all I did was sit inside and eat, and I gained about 20lbs in a short space of time and started to feel bad about my body. Also after my daughter was born and I had PND.

  58. anonymous responses:

    Q7: Gender is a social constructed hierarchy, designed to give male bodied persons dominance and control over the bodies of female bodied persons. I reject the destructive and limiting concept of gender.

    Q8: As a teenager, I found the changes in my pubescent body confronting, and because I often felt wrong in my body, I was concerned I was transforming into a boy. I’ve often been told I’m male brained, and for a long time was concerned this was true. I never, myself, *wanted* this to be true. It’s an example of how the notion of a masculine/feminine binary is destructive. Because I failed to be correctly socialised into femininity, I was, in a way, not allowed to then be a woman, and was told I was “male brained”. To accept that I was female bodied and also not femininely submissive would be to accept that gender was an external construct and not innate.

    Q9: I present as feminine, for the most part, because it’s often easier, socially. But as I become more confident I am becoming more and more androgynous. I am just myself. I strive to be compassionate, and assertive, and non-violent, and confident. I reject dominance/submission paradigms in my relationships and seek to have mutually beneficial interactions where needs are met and no one feels they are obligated to do or be anything.

    Q10: I think my autism, which has led me to be unintentionally non-conformist, has highlighted to me the absurdity and abusiveness of gender, which led me to learn and explore more. It’s definitely interesting, because as a female bodied autistic person I’m trained myself to be a chameleon over the years to cope with overwhelming and confusing social situations, so I am much more acutely aware of how much of a performance gender presentation really is. And I’ve also taken the time to play around with it over the years as a social experiment.

    Q11: Likewise, my notions of sexuality and in stark contrast to the monogamous heterosexual norm. I see no reason for sex to be sacrosanct, idolised, confined to culturally approved romantic couplings. I think once you start to question one social rule, you find yourself questioning them all.

    Q12: I don’t think, in this culture, any female bodied person gets out without at least some period of body dysmorphia. Which is truly heart breaking. The usual range of fear of being fat, fear of being plain/ugly, fear of not being properly groomed to the correct standard (perfect nails, perfect wax, perfect hair).

  59. anonymous responses:

    Q7: I am a person first and foremost and do things based on what I like, not what my gender stereotype expects of me. I do not like the constraints of gender stereotypes.

    Q8: No, I am happy with my female body.

    Q9: No I don’t. I dress how I like, my husband and I do not follow gender roles. We treat each other as people first and foremost, not what gender we and are supposedly to do within the constraints of that particular gender.

    Q10: I am not entirely sure how it relates to the fact that I am autistic. This is how I have always seen myself as a person first and foremost. I did not ever understand gender stereotypes and thought they were pointless. I did try to fit into gender stereotypes a bit when I was younger, naive and impressionable but that didn’t last long. I found it way way too constraining and annoying.

    Q11: Yes, I am pansexual, meaning I am attracted to people first and foremost. My attractions to people don’t necessarily start off as physical or sexual either. Often they are soul connections where I feel a connection with a person’s soul and have this intense urge to get to know them and be close to them. I definitely appreciate beautiful people but do not start relationships based on looks.

    Q12: No, I haven’t. I am happy with my body and how it is. I did struggle with body acceptance in my teen years but soon realised that that was from gender stereotypes and the medias crap idea of how women should look. I am beyond that now and have no trouble with how I look. I do find it difficult when others see me (as a feminine looking woman) and put me into a box about how I should behave. I find that highly irritating. So I often do something just to prove them wrong so they will stop boxing me in.

  60. anonymous responses:

    Q7: Physical sex is of the body and can be more mixed or blended than people generally realize or are prepared to admit. Gender identity is where culture and sense of self intersect. Gender expression is how that is displayed and how it plays out in relation to others. Sometimes gender identity and gender expression can be blended together or the inner origin of one’s gender expression can be so strongly felt that what would usually be considered gender expression becomes like a gender identity of its own.

    Q8: As a child, I sometimes felt like or wanted to be a boy, but I think I wanted the cultural aspects of it, not the body. I now think of myself as being butch as a gender identity, not just a gender expression. Saying I’m a man or a woman feels both partly true and partly untrue, no matter which I’m stating I am. I’m okay with this, though, and I’m happy with the body I have. I feel no need, at this point in my life, to alter it to be more male. I think I dealt with puberty and currently deal with having a female body better than many women have. This may be largely because I was exposed to the right kind of political attitude at the right time in my life, which countered a lot of unhealthy, negative societal attitudes. I also was raised in a very body accepting family.

    Q9: Not really, and my friends and family don’t expect me to. I’ve had the advantage of very fortunate circumstances for much of my life in that regard. I have faced some prejudice, though, and been made to suffer. But I can’t seem to force myself to be something other than who I am to any great extent or for any great length of time, even when I’m experiencing hate and fear from others for it.

    Q10: I think my body language causes me to actually appear less butch or masculine to some other people than I feel inside. I’ve had a friend deny that I could be butch and also been told by someone else that my gestures are “confusing” as they relate to gender. This may or may not be the result of my autism. Also, my sensory issues and emotional sensitivity/intensity of expression may contribute to the “confusion” others sometimes seem to have, which would be autism related. I’ve heard it’s common (though not universal, of course) for women on the autism spectrum to have either blended identities or a muted sense of gender identity / lessened concern over gender identity. If this is so, maybe it’s a factor for me. I don’t really know. Frankly, I’m not offended by someone thinking I’m a woman or thinking I’m a man. But others often see what they want or expect to see, and only some people are confused or see me as less butch than I feel. I’m often accepted as “one of the guys” in a way that other women are not, even those other women that also get called “one of the guys”. Maybe the fact that I have a physical disability makes it easier for people to think of there being a reason for me to be different from other men besides that I have a female body, and that’s unrelated to ASD.

    Q11: I’ve always been attracted to women, even as a small child. (Yes, I meant to phrase that in exactly that way.) I think it has nothing to do with my autism.

    Q12: I had a certain amount of discomfort about my body at one time, but I think being involved in women’s rights, including equality in laws regarding clothing requirements in public, greatly aided in moving me past that discomfort. Being part of a family that has a positive attitude about the human body has also been of great benefit.

  61. anonymous responses:

    Q7: Gender doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m a person; why can’t everyone just be a person? The artificial roles we slap onto males and females seem limiting and false to me.

    Q8: No, I just didn’t think of myself as either acceptable gender. I was just me.

    Q9: To a minor extent, and only to avoid social rejection.

    Q10: Yes. It was years before I understood that people were making fun of my appearance because I was a girl. If I’d been a boy, my grooming habits would have been considered normal. But GIRLS are supposed to dress fashionably, spend hours on their hair, and wear makeup. Just no!

    Q11: Yes. I’ve rejected monogamy as a “necessary” component of relationships. It’s unrealistic to expect one person to be my everything. My ability to reject/resist social norms definitely comes from my Asperger’s…I often don’t notice subtle signs of rejection and disapproval, so it frees me a bit.

    Q12: My self-image is awful…and yet it’s improved significantly since I learned what I was. I feel like a failure, but I realize (logically, at least) that society has failed ME. I have been suicidal off an on for as far back as I can remember, and the urges seem to be getting stronger. I feel very much dismissed and rejected by my society.

  62. anonymous responses:

    Q7: …I don’t think about it much. I understand the concept as a combination of someone’s self-image and how it relates to their body.

    Q8: As a small child through teenagerhood, I felt androgynous. Now, I do feel like a woman, but not strongly like one. Why do I think this was? Mainly because I didn’t relate well to other girls and didn’t grasp the expectations of girls and how they differed from boys. Add in that most people said I would’ve made a better boy than a girl and that I don’t have good body awareness.

    Q9: No. I know of them, but I think they’re worse than worthless – they stifle people’s potential by constraining them to what’s deemed “appropriate” for someone with their gender assignment.

    Q10: I don’t know. I can’t separate my autism from my gender because they’re both me.

    Q11: Yes. I’m sapiosexual/pansexual. As for how it’s related to being autistic? Se above.

    Q12: Yes. Body dysmorphia, situational depression, low self-esteem, and self harm.

  63. anonymous answers:

    Q1: They don’t ask, they seem to feel bad for me, as if I changed as a result of the diagnosis

    Q2: Not ashamed, but unhappy about lack of ability to openly discuss.

    Q3: No, because most people know me as a normal slightly confused and professorial type with peculiarities 🙂

    Q4: Nice thought experiment, but ultimately empty, because it wouldn’t be me

    Q5: Mostly in the media talking about badly functioning organisations or people (an autistic reaction, behaving autisticly)

    Q6: I loved and enjoyed living in different cultures and countries – asia, europe, US. Does that answer the question?

  64. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Not really, they were curious but not anymore. And hum, I feel supported by my mom and my mom’s family. Unfortunately I live with my dad’s family, and they don’t support anyone but themselves.

    Q2: The diagnosis is still very recent and I experienced something like that but I’m trying to be proud, and not just in secret anymore…

    Q3: Not a lot myself but I observe some.

    Q4: I would not!

    Q5: Quite often

    Q6: I really thought I was put on earth by aliens, after that I thought I had a special mission on this planet.

  65. anonymous answers:

    Q1: I’m still suspecting diagnosis and debating a professional diagnosis. One of my friends has mentioned I might be autistic. Several others have compared me to autistic or possibly autistic characters in TV and movies.

    Q2: Not really… even without a diagnosis of any sort, I was never “normal”. So now it’s just nice to have an explanation for my oddities, even if I decide not to tell anyone.

    Q3: This is one of my main reasons for not telling anyone.

    Q4: I don’t think so… I feel like life would be so boring. I mean, it’d be nicer to have a wider range of foods to eat and shoes to wear, but the tradeoff probably wouldn’t be worth it. By being able to eat only foods that I like, I feel like I take more pleasure in my food. And NTs don’t seem to understand how wonderful it is to walk around barefoot all day every day and feel so many different textures.

    Q5: Rarely, but when it happens, it bothers me.

    Q6: Yes. My parents used to joke that they got the wrong baby at the hospital: that I was from a family who lived in Siberia or Alaska or something.

  66. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I think of gender as being the social expression of sex and sexuality — how I perform femininity, in other words, as opposed to my physical sex or sexual preferences.

    Q8: I’ve felt for most of my life that I should have been a man. I’m very comfortable with my female body and have been primarily straight, but I feel that socially I would function more smoothly as a guy. Being a woman is a distraction — it tends to mislead people or create expectations I can’t fulfill. I’ve always preferred masculine activities, and have been drawn to male-dominated professions. I lack the empathy and social ease that people expect of women, and I have no patience with most female activities and interests.

    Q9: Lately I’ve been discarding feminine behaviors and habits I used to use as camoflauge. This is partly because I work as a field test engineer, and those behaviors are useless at work, and partly because my current partner thinks I’m sexy and feminine whether or not I wear a dress. I’ve been unconventional my whole life, but I’ve been hiding it less and less. I’ve gone from keeping my hair very short to just buzzing it down to a quarter inch (very common among my male engineer coworkers); I’ve taken up a whole series of adventure sports like rock climbing, and am less concerned with looking soft or curvacious. I’ve always had a cold affect with strangers and been uninterested in personal conversation with people I don’t know. I find that I can’t succeed at expected feminine behavior, so I’m less and less inclined to try.

    Q10: I’m certain that my gender dysphoria comes from having autistic traits. I self-diagnosed as AS recently, and that clarified the sense I’ve had since childhood that I’m somehow unfeminine — that I lack important qualities that most men look for in a woman.

    Q11: I think of myself as bisexual, but I’ve typically been with men — and usually more than one man at a time. From what I’ve read, I’m unusual for an AS woman in that I’m extremely experimental about sex, and am curious about just about every known sexual practice. In fact, until recently my attitude towards sex and relationships was typical of a young gay man, not a middle-aged straight woman. That said, for the last five years or so I’ve confined my experimentation within monogamous relationships. I could write a dissertation on the subject, but, yes, I’m convinced that my autistic traits made me focus more on technical excellence at sex than on the emotional aspects of lovemaking. I’m completely unsuited to domestic life and feminine roles, and that has led me to search for other models for sex, relationships and sexuality. My AS boyfriend recently told me that even though he’s very physically attracted to women, he’s often envied gay men because he imagines that they’re more free to create their partnerships from scratch — he imagines that there are fewer taboos and restrictions on their behavior in bed and elsewhere. I’m not sure this is true, but his desire to create a relationship without regard to traditional gender roles resonated strongly with me. It was interesting to me, too, that even though he has many traits that people associate with masculinity — he’s into adventure sports, is brilliant at math, and works as an engineer — he doesn’t feel like he’s particularly successful at being male.

    Q12: I am very comfortable with my body, but other people are not. I am very strong — “ripped” is the word my boyfriend’s climber pals use — and I have tattoos and shave my head. Men find me fascinating but scary, and women tend to dislike me on sight. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but people around me tend to assume I do because I’m picky and have sensory issues with industrial crap. I love to eat good food and work out hard, revel in sex and sensual experiences, and generally enjoy my body and its capabilites thoroughly. I avoid talking about food, sex and exercise because the subjects are so emotionally and socially weighted, and I am such an outlier in every regard.

  67. anonymous answers:

    Q7: It’s a concept that I don’t really have much use for. I guess if forced I’d say that I’m either both or neither male and/nor female.

    Q8: Gender, no–it doesn’t really matter to me. But I do go through periods of wishing my body was XY due to societal expectations and reactions. I like going shirtless but am hesitant to do so because I don’t want to draw attention to myself. That sort of thing.

    Q9: I’m aware of them but don’t follow them. I prefer to wear men’s clothes, especially t-shirts, though that’s also partly because I have large arms and wide shoulders that make women’s clothes constricting. I have a mix of “masculine” and “feminine” interests: sewing, corsetry, costuming, video games, mechanics, sports, MMA… I guess I’m pretty well balanced between the two categories.

    Q10: I’m not sure; I’ve never thought about it. I guess my tendency to question everything could be why I don’t see myself as really having a gender.

  68. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I am female and I believe they are two genders but it doesn’t matter, we all are living beings. I don’t care really.

    Q8: From 2 to 8 years old, people would always tell me “stop acting like a boy” and I remember it was easier to be one. But no, being a woman is something I am really proud of (though I don’t look like stereotypes and still considered boyish sometimes)

    Q9: I don’t believe we were meant to dress specific to our gender, since in nature no one wear clothes it’s sounds stupid. I just believe in facts and logic, men and women are different at some point, not only physiologically but how we use our brains, and because of that we could live in harmony. But I don’t believe, at all, the tasks must be different (like W : at home with the kids – M : at work making money). I do believe, on the other hand, that women are more spiritual, creative and guide others. Women only can change this world, at but that’s only my point of view.

    Q11: I don’t know. I sometimes, find myself thinking I would like to have a passionate relationship but then I realise I don’t like dating. I guess I could be in a “sexfriend” kind of realtionship (sex without committment and lovers stuff)

    Q12: Because people always told me I was skinny, it made me look in the mirror differently (but not before 7th grade). Now, I don’t eat much, never did and I only try to be healthy not Kim kardashian.

  69. anonymous answers:

    Q7: The anthropology response: It’s a social construct that dictates how people interact with others based on what’s presumed to be between their legs and produced by their brain (hormones)
    My own relation: It’s something I’m questioning. It’s a construct that’s raised questions of me in the past

    Q8: Yes, starting at around age 17/18 (for reference, I’m 22 now), and it’s bumbling along in the background of my life still to this day.

    Q9: Yes and no. I’m aware that the roles exist and that by continually baking cookies (best form of relaxation imho) I’m playing to the role of ‘female,’ but then again, I grew up in a household where my Dad was the one who did most of the baking/cooking. So, bit confused in that sense.

    Q10: I’m genderqueer.
    …No clue, I haven’t really sat down and thought about it, but I know that my default setting for presentation leans towards big, baggy, loose fitting, and comfortable. (I HATE wearing tight trousers/shirts)

    Q11: Yes. I’m queer, which I like to define as “I’m more likely to wander home with a female identifying (trans* or cis dfab), nonbinary, or FtM than I am to wander home with cis dmab.” If I am to get into a relationship with a cis dmab person, it’s going to fall under “gets all of the quirks, is willing/encouraging of me and my genderblending, and will go at my pace when it comes to the relationship?
    I don’t think it’s linked with me being an Autie. There’s been experiences in my past that have slightly put me off cis dmab folks, but it’s not linked to my neurology.

    Q12: Yes-ish. The set of low self-esteem (fat, not fit enough, gonna get diabetes like Nana has, not pretty enough, not able to pass as a man because too small and feminine) issues manifest as ‘paying more attention’ and occasional self harm.

  70. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Not sure. I started to question it in high school. I don’t understand other women.
    Now I know, I am 60% female and 40% male.
    I am biologically a female and am only attracted to men.

    Q8: About sixteen years old, I confided in my mom that I wasn’t sure about being a girl or being strait. I thought she would be understanding because she is a lesbian. Well she wasn’t. She got mad, so I had to deal with it on my own.

    Q9: No! Be yourself and if someone has a problem with it, they can go screw themselves. Not my fault most people are jackasses.

    Q10: Maybe. I know many other people with Asperger’s that do not like being labled as anything. However, my son is autistic and he loves being a boy.

    Q11: yes.
    Let me put it this way, in my last relationship my boyfriend hated that I was the breadwinner. He hated cooking and cleaning. I didn’t what I could do. Now, this man, the love of my life is gone. fourteen months now and I am no closer to get over it than I was the day it happened.

    Q12: Maybe a bit. not sure. I get depressed a lot and when I am depressed I loose my appetite. I have a difficult time forcing myself to eat too. After my ex left me I lost twenty five pounds because I was so depressed. I am still depressed about it, and I weigh about 110lbs. I am also tall so I look like an emaciated cancer patient. I try to avoid mirrors, because I am so thin and sick-looking. I feel ugly.

  71. 1.Do your friends and family ask you about your diagnosis? Do you feel supported by them?
    I had to force that conversation with most…and I send an email out twice a year with links and info. If they want me off the list – they ask – and I take them off. Most are uncomfortable but a few of my friends OFFERED to read ASpergirls by Rudy Simone ( about 5 friends and four family members) I was tearful at that show of support and it meant the world to me. It changed their perspective for the better – esp when it comes to sensory overload. I feel unsupported by the rest though and have been told that I should not burden people to look at me as special or different.

    2.Do you ever feel ashamed to be autistic/technically disabled/different? Especially after spending a big chunk of your life as a ‘normal’ person?
    Sometimes I think I am MADE to feel ashamed. I feel there is that technical difference because it is so RARE to be ashamed when I am fully accepted or loved. But when I am in a place where neither of those characteristics apply- I get the vibe from others that I am not ok…and I start to feel ashamed or I start to behave a bit more pronounced in clumsiness ect. In regards to spending my life as a normal person, I did have to go through two years of transition when I found out my diagnosis. In those years I did alter from shame, confusion and guilt to elation, freedom and acceptance….It would depend on the moment.

    3 Do you all experience a lot of double standards regarding your autism, and how do you deal with this? For instance, it annoys me so much that an NT person can move their hands around, fiddle with clothing etc, but when I do it, it’s stimming and therefore A Bad Thing in the eyes of others:
    Yes! ALL the time. It really frustrates me. It happens to my kids too! I Know a lot of people who are controlling or shy or socially awkward and are NOT aspies…and for them it is fine…but with professionals or my parents or some of my peers I am told to work on these aspects and become more than I am. Where as they are allowed to have these characteristics because they are not on the scale and not expected to change behaviour. There is a great link about ABA therapy and how insulting it can be to the autistic community. You can check it out here:
    http://thequeeraspie.blogspot.ca/2013/07/why-aba-therapy-unsettles-me.html

    If you could be neurotypical, would you want to be?
    Sometimes. Mostly I feel this yearning when I am dyspraxic, anxiety ridden, sensory overloaded and esp when my executive functioning gets in the way of living. For instance…if I could drive by myself to the city and in the city without some fiasco, or cook for myself ( let alone find food) or say what I need to say when I want to say it…in those moments…YES. But in the REST of life- I feel very lucky to have the perspective I do. I love the niave yet informative way I look at the world. I love how I can sense a person’s safety or what they are going to do or say before they do or say it. I like that I understand the human condition so much that I am naturally accepting of all types of people. I love that I am never boring…There are so many aspects I would not want to give up by being autistic.

    How often do you hear someone use autistic as a pejorative?
    A lot…unfortunately. Or even when people speak to me and they know I am one…their tone is a bit condescending or dismissive.

    Before you realized you were autistic did you ever understand yourself as being somehow not human or not from your culture of birth? (e.g. an alien from the wrong planet or born into the wrong country, century or species etc)
    YES! Born in the wrong century or time period. I was obsessed with the 1860s- 1920s as well as 1940- 1950 era. I thought I belonged there. I thought if I could just somehow be transported back I would be more understood. Since getting my diagnosis I have calmed that perspective and realize I am in my perfect time but it took decades. While travelling through understanding I now feel more like an Alien BY having a diagnosis. Simply because I now KNOW what the issue is – and usually it has something to do with how I am different- and I do feel more like someone who does not belong to the current culture…Kind of like the family from 3rd Rock from the SUn but a little less embarrassing at times:)

  72. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Partner suports and reads. Friend denies AS likely

    Q2: Disabled vis a vis most others? yes, in social ways; but I’m also colorblind and have unusually long narrow feet

    Q3: No

    Q4: I’d rather have understood early on why I was having so much difficulty in the social world

    Q6: This is the running theme of my life! It got to be extreme: not another planet, but another galaxy

  73. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Most of my friends do not know of my ASD (In fact, when the hell did I have genuine friends as opposed to mere acquaintances over the past decade?) As for the second half of this question, I can support myself, thank you very much; other people get in the way.

    Q2: No, I do not feel ashamed of being disabled; however, shame is something everyone else seems to lack when they act like pompous c—s.

    Q3: When somebody expresses their sexual interests, they’re normal, healthy people; when I do the same (and I can assure you my sex life is far from kinky), I am hypersexual and need to be silenced.

    Q4: No, if only because I find my life far too interesting as it is, complications included.

    Q5: Rarely in real life.

    Q6: I have had an Autism diagnosis for as long as I can remember, so no.

  74. anonymous answers:

    Q1: only my family and boyfriend know. my family is very supportive. my boyfriend was skeptical because my mom and myself diagnosed me but after he did research it hit him that it was true and he has been supportive ever since.

    Q2: no. I’ve spent 19 years feeling like a normal human being but knowing something was off. now I know why and how to deal with it. it’s a huge relief, though I’m not about to go around blasting it.

    Q3: I notice others breaking conventional social rules and it irritates me. no one else cares or thinks twice about it but I would NEVER think to so obviously violate a social norm and therefore, stand out as different/possibly bad/stand out at all. most people seem to not care.

    Q4: nah.

    Q5: not too often, I more pick up that most people don’t understand it or what it means. they simply see it as a disability to be pitied.

    Q6: I often felt alienated and strange, like a distant observer who didn’t quite fit in. I survived like an anthropologist, carefully studying the culture and learned how to behave but always felt like an outsider.

  75. anonymous answers:

    Q7: The anthropology response: It’s a social construct that dictates how people interact with others based on what’s presumed to be between their legs and produced by their brain (hormones)
    My own relation: It’s something I’m questioning. It’s a construct that’s raised questions of me in the past

    Q8: Yes, starting at around age 17/18 (for reference, I’m 22 now), and it’s bumbling along in the background of my life still to this day.

    Q9: Yes and no. I’m aware that the roles exist and that by continually baking cookies (best form of relaxation imho) I’m playing to the role of ‘female,’ but then again, I grew up in a household where my Dad was the one who did most of the baking/cooking. So, bit confused in that sense.

    Q10: I’m genderqueer.
    …No clue, I haven’t really sat down and thought about it, but I know that my default setting for presentation leans towards big, baggy, loose fitting, and comfortable. (I HATE wearing tight trousers/shirts)

    Q11: Yes. I’m queer, which I like to define as “I’m more likely to wander home with a female identifying (trans* or cis dfab), nonbinary, or FtM than I am to wander home with cis dmab.” If I am to get into a relationship with a cis dmab person, it’s going to fall under “gets all of the quirks, is willing/encouraging of me and my genderblending, and will go at my pace when it comes to the relationship?
    I don’t think it’s linked with me being an Autie. There’s been experiences in my past that have slightly put me off cis dmab folks, but it’s not linked to my neurology.

    Q12: Yes-ish. The set of low self-esteem (fat, not fit enough, gonna get diabetes like Nana has, not pretty enough, not able to pass as a man because too small and feminine) issues manifest as ‘paying more attention’ and occasional self harm.

  76. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I am female and I believe they are two genders but it doesn’t matter, we all are living beings. I don’t care really.

    Q8: From 2 to 8 years old, people would always tell me “stop acting like a boy” and I remember it was easier to be one. But no, being a woman is something I am really proud of (though I don’t look like stereotypes and still considered boyish sometimes)

    Q9: I don’t believe we were meant to dress specific to our gender, since in nature no one wear clothes it’s sounds stupid. I just believe in facts and logic, men and women are different at some point, not only physiologically but how we use our brains, and because of that we could live in harmony. But I don’t believe, at all, the tasks must be different (like W : at home with the kids – M : at work making money). I do believe, on the other hand, that women are more spiritual, creative and guide others. Women only can change this world, at but that’s only my point of view.

    Q11: I don’t know. I sometimes, find myself thinking I would like to have a passionate relationship but then I realise I don’t like dating. I guess I could be in a “sexfriend” kind of realtionship (sex without committment and lovers stuff)

    Q12: Because people always told me I was skinny, it made me look in the mirror differently (but not before 7th grade). Now, I don’t eat much, never did and I only try to be healthy not Kim kardashian.

  77. anonymous answers:

    Q7: It’s a concept that I don’t really have much use for. I guess if forced I’d say that I’m either both or neither male and/nor female.

    Q8: Gender, no–it doesn’t really matter to me. But I do go through periods of wishing my body was XY due to societal expectations and reactions. I like going shirtless but am hesitant to do so because I don’t want to draw attention to myself. That sort of thing.

    Q9: I’m aware of them but don’t follow them. I prefer to wear men’s clothes, especially t-shirts, though that’s also partly because I have large arms and wide shoulders that make women’s clothes constricting. I have a mix of “masculine” and “feminine” interests: sewing, corsetry, costuming, video games, mechanics, sports, MMA… I guess I’m pretty well balanced between the two categories.

    Q10: I’m not sure; I’ve never thought about it. I guess my tendency to question everything could be why I don’t see myself as really having a gender.

  78. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I think of gender as being the social expression of sex and sexuality — how I perform femininity, in other words, as opposed to my physical sex or sexual preferences.

    Q8: I’ve felt for most of my life that I should have been a man. I’m very comfortable with my female body and have been primarily straight, but I feel that socially I would function more smoothly as a guy. Being a woman is a distraction — it tends to mislead people or create expectations I can’t fulfill. I’ve always preferred masculine activities, and have been drawn to male-dominated professions. I lack the empathy and social ease that people expect of women, and I have no patience with most female activities and interests.

    Q9: Lately I’ve been discarding feminine behaviors and habits I used to use as camoflauge. This is partly because I work as a field test engineer, and those behaviors are useless at work, and partly because my current partner thinks I’m sexy and feminine whether or not I wear a dress. I’ve been unconventional my whole life, but I’ve been hiding it less and less. I’ve gone from keeping my hair very short to just buzzing it down to a quarter inch (very common among my male engineer coworkers); I’ve taken up a whole series of adventure sports like rock climbing, and am less concerned with looking soft or curvacious. I’ve always had a cold affect with strangers and been uninterested in personal conversation with people I don’t know. I find that I can’t succeed at expected feminine behavior, so I’m less and less inclined to try.

    Q10: I’m certain that my gender dysphoria comes from having autistic traits. I self-diagnosed as AS recently, and that clarified the sense I’ve had since childhood that I’m somehow unfeminine — that I lack important qualities that most men look for in a woman.

    Q11: I think of myself as bisexual, but I’ve typically been with men — and usually more than one man at a time. From what I’ve read, I’m unusual for an AS woman in that I’m extremely experimental about sex, and am curious about just about every known sexual practice. In fact, until recently my attitude towards sex and relationships was typical of a young gay man, not a middle-aged straight woman. That said, for the last five years or so I’ve confined my experimentation within monogamous relationships. I could write a dissertation on the subject, but, yes, I’m convinced that my autistic traits made me focus more on technical excellence at sex than on the emotional aspects of lovemaking. I’m completely unsuited to domestic life and feminine roles, and that has led me to search for other models for sex, relationships and sexuality. My AS boyfriend recently told me that even though he’s very physically attracted to women, he’s often envied gay men because he imagines that they’re more free to create their partnerships from scratch — he imagines that there are fewer taboos and restrictions on their behavior in bed and elsewhere. I’m not sure this is true, but his desire to create a relationship without regard to traditional gender roles resonated strongly with me. It was interesting to me, too, that even though he has many traits that people associate with masculinity — he’s into adventure sports, is brilliant at math, and works as an engineer — he doesn’t feel like he’s particularly successful at being male.

    Q12: I am very comfortable with my body, but other people are not. I am very strong — “ripped” is the word my boyfriend’s climber pals use — and I have tattoos and shave my head. Men find me fascinating but scary, and women tend to dislike me on sight. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but people around me tend to assume I do because I’m picky and have sensory issues with industrial crap. I love to eat good food and work out hard, revel in sex and sensual experiences, and generally enjoy my body and its capabilites thoroughly. I avoid talking about food, sex and exercise because the subjects are so emotionally and socially weighted, and I am such an outlier in every regard.

  79. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is a spectrum. One can feel more or less like one or the other gender. Gender presentation can be varied. Gender is independent of physiology.

    Q8: I have transitioned from male to female. Though born physiologically make I felt female from my first memories. I transitioned at age 30. That was 37 years ago.

    Q9: When I was younger I was more conscious of roles. This was necessary to fit in and have life operate smoothly. In my late 60s gender roles seem nearly irrelevant.

    Q10: I am new to thinking of myself as possibly autistic and I am just beginning to think about how that impacts gender. I always thought that being transgendered was the biggest aspect of how I became me. Now I am thinking that it and autism (if I am) are about coequal. Whether they are linked I don’t know yet for sure but probably.

    Q11: In my preferred gender, female, I am a lesbian. I am not much into societal norms in this kinds of things. As with the previous question, I don’t know if this is related to possible autism but probably.

    Q12: Gender dysphoria.

  80. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Poorly
    Public attribute of appearance, perhaps of behavior

    Q8: YES
    From late high school to now (67) Love the female body. Also, perhaps, due Mom wanting me to have been born a girl

    Q12: ‘Tho 6 foot, I see me as of average height;
    “tho told I’m handsome, I see me as average at best

  81. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I have studied gender in college and think about it quite often – it’s probably my most prominent special interest. I have a gender scale from 1-10 that I rate everyone on in my head and it helps me know how to interact with them.

    Q8: I have always very strongly identified as female and feminine, however, when I have felt isolated in the past I have often associated it with not conforming correctly to gendered behavior. – i.e. not knowing how to be a ‘normal girl’, not a ‘normal person.’

    Q9: I do – I am very black and white about how I view people based on their gender expression. That being said, I am gay and don’t do this in a heteronormative, restrictive way. I am open to various alternative gender presentations as long as they fit in some type of category.

    Q11: I’m not sure if I’ve ever thought of my homosexuality as related to my autism. I certainly felt isolated as a teen, and attributed it more to my sexuality than was probably accurate because I was unaware of my autistic traits and couldn’t find any other reason why I wouldn’t be accepted at school.

  82. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I think a lot of our concept of gender is artificially created, and there are a lot of double standards in our culture.

    Q8: Sort of. I used to wish I were a boy because they seemed to have things easier, like with how they are expected to show emotions and act around other people, and how they are generally less expected to cook and help around the house and stuff like that. And especially when I learned and thought about things like childbirth and the painful/invasive tests women have to have. Sometimes I still feel this way, but I don’t think it is in quite the same way as what your questing is asking. I feel like this more in a “I wish I could fly because it would be easier to get around” way rather than “I know I’m supposed to be able to fly and there is something wrong because I can’t” way, if you know what I mean. I don’t think I worded that very well.

    Q9: Not really. I dress relatively gender neutrally (jeans and t-shirt), except on special occasions when I have to get dressed up (then I dress more girly). I do not wear makeup (even to dressy events) and I do not carry a purse. I basically just act like myself when it comes to the emotional stuff. If it is something that I care about, I can care a lot and get very emotional, but I don’t really think about how I am supposed to act or not act just because of my gender.

    Q10: I am not sure.

    Q11: I am a heteromantic asexual. I think this may be in part related to autism, but I’m not really sure.

    Q12: I generally dislike how I look because I was teased for being overweight since I was a young child.

  83. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I relate to gender as a concept more than something that physically exists; gender is – sociologically speaking – a social construct made up of the expectations a society places on an individual based on their physical sex.

    Q8: Never.

    Q9: Gender roles are full of shit and harm everybody, at least in the modern technologically-developed world; for a more primitive society, they may serve more of a purpose, but almost always are enforced too rigidly.

    Q10: I cannot answer the first part since I’m not transgendered. To answer the second part, I do believe my view on gender at least in part may at least be influenced by my autism; I have never neatly fit into a group and I’ve frequently been painfully and brutally fucked by universal standards of conduct, so maybe my inability to assimilate neatly into a group could be responsible for my attitude toward gender and gender norms.

    Q11: Beyond being a self-professed aquaphile, my romantic life isn’t too abnormal, I think.

    Q12: I have generally been confident with my body image.

  84. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is how a person identifies his or herself, as male or female.

    Q8: When I was a kid (pre-puberty) in the late sixties and early 70s, I felt more like a boy than a girl, and even now I think that men’s clothes are more appealing to wear (but I largely don’t as a 40-something today, due to society and my job). Maybe if I were growing up now, post-women’s lib it wouldn’t seem like a big deal to my mother. When I was a kid, I hated it if someone said I looked pretty, maybe because it would lead to someone touching me lightly which I hated. I didn’t like wearing dresses and tights, mostly because they were itchy and uncomfortable, so that led into it to. I don’t mind dressing more feminine these days because I’m more comfortable with people looking at me in an admiring way, and I wear comfortable, solid print, sleek skirts and dresses, rather than frilly,or overly revealing women’s clothes. I was in my 30s before I was comfortable dressing in a more womanly way. My sister was always nagging me to try to look more like a girl, and most of my pretty clothes are hand-me-downs from her. She likes to shop for clothes (which I hate) and likes to wear new things, so I take the items I like from her.

    Q9: I do follow gender roles when dressing for work in the summer. I wear skirts and dresses. But as the weather gets cooler, my clothes are practical and not terribly feminine. (but not necessarily “butch,” because with my short hair, I’d prefer not to be taken for a lesbian) It’s probably that more than society’s gender rules that keeps me from dressing more masculine. But in a perfect world, I’d wear flannel shirts and work boots every day. I never liked playing with dolls and I’ve NEVER wanted to be a mother.

    Q10: I’m not professionally diagnosed as autistic, and all this is rather new to me, but if I am an aspie, I could see my gender nonconformist ways being related to it.

    Q11: Yes, I definitely differ from the norm. I have had sexual experiences with men, but technically I’m a virgin (there, I said it). I am not comfortable being emotionally intimate with men. I don’t do “relationships.” If I were a different kind of person, maybe I’d have it in me to have one night stands involving intercourse. I’ve been masturbating since around age 12, and my fantasy life works fine. If I ever fall in love, maybe I’ll feel differently about all this, but right now I’d prefer not to be in a relationship.

    Q12: For a long time I was self conscious about my breasts and basically wished they weren’t detectable and wore oversize t-shirt etc. I’ve also had some shame around body hair. But other than that, I’m pretty happy with my body and not ashamed of it.

  85. anonymous answers:

    Q7: I tend to think of gender as biological but I know that it is also a broader concept of self.

    Q8: When I was younger (between 6-11 probably) I had a phase where I wanted to be a boy, or thought it might be easier. I was never very sporty or tomboyish but I preferred reading, science, legos over dolls and when I played with them I usually dressed them up, fixed their hair and rearranged them. I had two younger brothers and absolutely no interest in kids or marriage (I always assumed it was a part of life, but never desired it). I thought it would be easier to be a boy and do whatever I wanted and never have to go through childbirth.

    Q9: I dress and present myself as a girl, I HATE having hairy legs and shave them daily, I enjoy wearing dresses, but I’m only nurturing or emotional about certain things and I still don’t care for the concept of marriage/long-term relationships or family. I just want to go to school and study what I want and be really good at what I do.

    Q11: I have never experimented but although I am a straight female, I have always been attracted to girls. I’ve never acted on it and it’s never bothered me. I don’t think it’s related.

    Q12: absolutely. I started dieting at age 12 and struggle with EDNOS and obsessively restricting/exercising/counting calories especially when I’m more stressed/anxious. stress seems to trigger my restrictive tendencies and it’s fed by my hyper-self-consciousness which tells me I’m not good enough which feeds my disordered thinking and I find the counting a relief, to count it up and know I did something right at the end of the day. if it’s not right I tend to want to purge it out both as punishment and to be empty again.

  86. Acceptance

    Do your friends and family ask you about your diagnosis? Do you feel supported by them?
    My friends generally think of me simply as “weird” rather than any specific diagnosis, and I accept it as a term of endearment. Most of my friends may be neurotypical but are also unusual in their own ways, and we share the sentiment that “normal people are boring.” My family have been told that I am autistic but refuse to accept it. They think I’m lazy when something is difficult for me, and generally seem to have the mindset that being ‘less autistic’ is a goal. I feel more supported by friends than family.

    Do you ever feel ashamed to be autistic/technically disabled/different? Especially after spending a big chunk of your life as a ‘normal’ person?
    I never really considered myself a ‘normal’ person. I was home-schooled until 9th grade; I’ve always been shy; I hate long pants and close-toed shoes; trying to write makes me cry. Being diagnosed with autism in high school simply assigned a word to something I have always known. Other children laughed at me sometimes, but it never got to me. Teachers would try to shame me, but my only reaction was to plot violence against them. The only person who has managed to make me feel ashamed is myself, when reflecting on my own incompetence in things that seem easy for everyone else.

    Do you all experience a lot of double standards regarding your autism, and how do you deal with this? For instance, it annoys me so much that an NT person can move their hands around, fiddle with clothing etc, but when I do it, it’s stimming and therefore A Bad Thing in the eyes of others.
    People are supposed to be encouraged when attempting something difficult, yet I get ridiculed for speaking far too often. I’m not sure if that’s a good example; double standards aren’t something I think about much.

    If you could be neurotypical, would you want to be?
    No. That would be a form of death: Replacing myself with a different person. Myself and my autism are not separate entities that can be detached and reassigned. Being autistic is a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s who I am (and it’s got some perks too).
    This was not always the case. If I were asked this question 3 years ago, my answer would have been that I would do ANYTHING to be like everybody else, instead of weak and hopeless, afflicted with the autistic disease. I’ve gone through a lot of self-hate, and have only recently begun to accept myself. I think I know how gay people feel growing up in hateful families.

    How often do you hear someone use autistic as a pejorative?
    Not very often. The worst I generally hear is autism being included in a list of mental illnesses as if there’s no difference between them and it’s pure negative.

    Before you realised you were autistic did you ever understand yourself as being somehow not human or not from your culture of birth? (e.g. an alien from the wrong planet or born into the wrong country, century or species etc)
    Absolutely. I’ve always thought of myself as more enlightened and technological than the average person.

    Gender/Sexuality/Body Image

    How do you relate to gender? What is your understanding of the word/concept?
    Gender is a product of biology that also affects some ways of thinking. Some people feel that they were born with the wrong gender, and while not all transgender people choose to undergo hormone therapy and surgery, the source of those feelings originates in biology. Some stereotypes and roles of gender are arbitrary and some make perfect sense.

    Has there been a point in your life when you felt that you wanted to be, or were meant to be, a gender different to the one you were raised as? (If so, why do you think this was, how old were you, how long did this last?)
    No. I was born male have always been perfectly content being a man. I do think that gender expression is a nonsense concept imposed by culture, and I’ve always had a feminine side.

    Do you currently believe in or follow gender roles and stereotypes? (for example, roles/rules about how you’re meant to dress and present yourself, what interests you’re meant to have, how assertive/emotional/nurturing/etc you’re supposed to be, what role you’re supposed to take in personal and professional relationships, etc)
    Certain jobs, hobbies, and dress codes being relegated to one gender is bullshit and should be excised from every culture. That said, I don’t particularly enjoy wearing a dress, shopping, or being a nurse. When it comes to behavior, there are real differences in gender that are not simply imposed by society. For example, men being more promiscuous than women is cultural, but men thinking of every bad thing as a problem with a specific solution is just biology.

    If you are some variety of transgender or answered that you’re gender nonconformist in some way, do you think that this is in any way related to your autistic traits? Do you think you ‘do gender’ or ‘do transgender’ differently to other people because you’re autistic?
    Rejecting arbitrary rules is definitely encouraged by autistic traits. For example, some people have pointed out that my only white dress shirt is actually a woman’s blouse because the buttons are on the left. No, it’s not a woman’s shirt, it’s MY shirt. I bought it, and I am not a woman.

    Is your sexuality, romantic orientation or preferred relationship structure different from our cultural norms in some way? If so how does this differ and do you think this is related to your being autistic?
    It’s great being a man who loves to listen. It’s not so great being a man never calls first. I would definitely find difficulty in a relationship with a woman who also does not initiate. I fall in love fast and deep, a ‘want to see you every day’ sort of love, which may be related to the autistic trait of becoming extremely invested in one activity.

    Have you ever had any difficulties with your self image, if so how did these manifest? (such as physical/bodily gender dysphoria, body dysmorphia, eating disorders)
    My self-grooming tends to include pulling hairs that stand out among the rest. This is more out of a compulsion to keep everything neat and somehow ‘correct’ than a sense of self-improvement. I have never thought of myself as ugly.

  87. anonymous answers:

    Q1: No, when I told them, they (of course) didn’t believe me. They don’t ask about it. They definitely believe in the “pretend it doesn’t exist and the problem will go away” philosophy.

    Q2: Yes, this happens when I’m trying to explain what Aspergers is to an NT. They ask what it is, and I feel ashamed to say that it’s on the autistic spectrum (especially considering that I have an IQ over 165)

    Q3: I feel like there’s double standards in social situations. Any body can get up and leave the table for a nap or restroom break (ect…) but if I get up from the table to go inside to decompress and calm down then I’m “being a drama queen” or everybody thinks “there she goes again.”

    Q4: I’d love to be able to enjoy myself at a party, and not stress out over how many people there are, or the sounds and lights. I’d love to not need to think through everything a million times, stress out over it like the world is going to end before it happens. However, I’m in love with the way that my brain works when I’m researching one of my “special interests” (which happens to be autism/aspergers– I know, it’s odd)

    Q5: Often. People never see autism as a gift, or simply a different way of “being”. They see it as an inconvenience, as if I’m trying to draw attention to myself.

    Q6: I’ve always felt like I was born in the wrong century. Since birth I’ve been called an old soul and old fashioned. It doesn’t help that I was adopted at a day old, so fitting in was always an issue.

  88. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, they ask. I feel supported by many family members, but dismissed by others.

    Q2: I am NOT ashamed. My Dx has resolved lifelong issues and given me unparalleled validation. After 40 years of being blamed for my failure to be ‘normal’, I am now validated by the fact that I have survived very adverse and discriminatory conditions, to become a happy, healthy Aspie.

    Q3: Having never been treated with ABA, I have never learned that my stimms are ‘bad’. Yes, I have been put upon all my life for being annoying, but as I grew up, I learned to stimm in smaller, quieter ways. Now that I have a Dx, I still try to be considerate of others, however, I al;so defend my right to do what I need to to do to take care of myself. If I NEED to stimm and it bothers others, I am quite happy to tell someone off for getting in my face. I will remain as polite as possible, but I will defend my rights and needs.

    Q4: HELL, NO!

    Q5: Not often, but then I work in support services. I find that it is easy for NTs to dismiss situations as “just their autism” but since I am not shy about educating people, I usually pull out an anecdote to counter to judgemental comments and illustrate that the person being judgemental is out of line. It is a non-confrontational way to address the issue, that leaves no doubt as to my own position.

    Q6: Yes. All my childhood I was sure I must be adopted, that I was ‘not from around here’. In school, I felt a freak and was often ostracised. As a teen, I embraced my freaky-ness and did not ‘take anything’ from detractors; I was a boot stomping Goth. LOL

    In my twenties, I became a parent of two Aspy- kids and they were from ‘my planet’. I was able to give them a sense of normalcy and acceptance that I had never had. They were now Dx’d until their pre-teens, but because we were all alike, and I am a good advocate, they did not feel so isolated or freakish as I had as a child.

  89. anonymous answers:

    Q1: Yes, my mother and sister are also Aspies. My father is not as supportive. I am curious to know about the link between genetics and Autism.

    Q2: I never identified as a “normal” person. Being diagnosed was a validation and a relief.

    Q3: Not too many people in my life are explicitly aware, so I do not experience this.

    Q4: No

    Q5: Not often.

    Q6: My name is an anagram for “alien.” As a child, I knew this could not be an accident. It was the first on a trail of clues to my true origin.

  90. anonymous answers:

    Q1: My close family is very supportive. My brother and father are both autistic as well and we talk a lot about coping skills and what autism means to us. My mom has always helped me (actually us) to keep it together and she is awesome for that. The rest of the family (aunts, nephews whathaveyou) don’t know, because they wouldn’t understand. They would be like: “You don’t seem autistic.”
    Some of my friends do this as well (which is the reason a lot of people I know don’t know I’m autistic), which has dissapointed me greatly and I can’t seem to explain to them that this statement actually hurt me, so I let it go. A few did start to understand and support me and a few have always done so (mostly my best friends).

    Q2: I sometimes feel ashamed for the things I do/think/can’t do (<- mostly that), but since my diagnosis (almost a year ago), I'm slowly learning to accept myself more and actually I feel better than I've ever have! Sometimes the feelings still creep in though: "People must think this." "I should be able to do this, why can't I do this? Other people can? Maybe I'm just lazy.." <- That one is the worst. But as I said: It's getting better 🙂

    Q3: That must be really annoying. Well, as I haven't told a lot of people, this doesn't really happen. My close family is really supportive, so they don't do this.

    Q4: No. I've already learned SO much, I have my own ways and I love them. I'm different, but that has helped me seeing and doing this in a different way. It's opened a world of thinking most people don't have to think about daily. And it can be interesting. Yes, it can hurt a lot too, but learning soothes the pain and helps me cope.

    Q5: People seem to use it once in a while meaning someone 'with no social skills/rude person/weird person.' Which I obviously don't approve of. But not all too often actually. If it happens it does show how people don't know a lot, if not anything at all, about autism.
    Also, when I was in high school, kids used it as a slur (actually pretty often for a while!), which I found really offensive and insensitive (I wasn't diagnosed yet, but my brother was and the things they used it against where things I felt I had).

    Q6: Yes. And I tried and tried to make myself to normal/standard and invisible (after some years of bullying). I thought there was something wrong with me which had to be fixed ("If I could just.."). I tore myself down over it.
    Now I know I don't have to be people's normal, I don't have to make myself smaller, because some people think I'm weird. What is weird anyways? It's just some sort of cultural contract, that isn't necessarily 'the truth', right? Some thinking about it wouldn't hurt.

  91. anonymous answers:

    Q1: We don’t talk about it but I am getting support for my differences which I understand better. Apparently my spouse understands them better too even if we don’t talk about the diagnosis.

    Q2: I think I feel more sad then ashamed sometimes. In some settings I feel like I am missing out but mostly I feel good about the greater self understanding and awareness that came with the diagnosis.

    Q3: I do not feel like have been judged in this way.

    Q4: I don’t think so especially if I would have to give up the strengths that come along with the challenges.

    Q5: Almost never.

    Q6: I realized myself as different in terms of my very low desire to socialize and my weaknesses in doing so. I feel particularly challenged in terms of sensing what my NT friends area thinking and feeling and where they are going with that. The closest I come to feeling less than human, and sadly I have felt that way, is in situations where the NTs are all emotional and I am just not on board with it at all.

  92. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is what you feel like. Tran or cis, I don’t care. If I like them, I like them. If not then it’s not my problem anyway.

    Q8: Yes, although not completely. I wish I was something in between. I think I wouldn’t mind being genderfluid.

    Q9: I don’t like it but something in me likes to look womanly – as in curvy and showing off a bit off boobs. I feel comfy for a while when I wear something a bit baggier or masculine but then I start feeling too big ( read fat). I really don’t know why that is and I am overweight

    Q10: I seriously just don’t care about it as long as it doesn’t do me any harm, so I can’t tell.

    Q11: I consider myself to be somewhat of a pansexual, although I’m still a bit confused. And I’m into submission. And I’m scared of intimacy even though I have had sexual relationships before.

    Q12: I binge eat and I hate almost my whole body. I kinda like my hair. That’s about it.

  93. anonymous answers:

    Q7: A tendency to cluster around certain points, I guess.

    Q8: Yes. Starting at age 6, continued intermittently throughout childhood and adolescence; when I was 14, I curled up against a boy and felt very much like a girl, and as I grew older I became increasingly interesting transitioning male to female. I am now living full time as a woman, on female hormones, and making a run for sex reassignment surgery.

    Q9: Not really. I am pretty androgynous.

    Q10: I have no clue, but I know my Asperger’s, which makes me “un-ladylike” has been used as an argument against my transitioning by some.

    Q11: No current opinion.

    Q12: I expected to grow breasts at age 12 and was frustrated when I didn’t. I hated the body hair that I grew, I hated how that thing down there grew bigger and began brushing up against my leg–I always tried to move it into a position where I would be unaware of it. The body hair and all that made me feel stuck in a sea of untidiness and de-mobilized me; I constantly wore clothes, even in the house. If I were naked, I would avoid mirrors, for looking at that thing down there would always bring shock.

    With hormones I’ve grown breasts and larger areolae, which seems congruent (i.e. I don’t feel the same kind of disgust toward them that I do the thing down there or all that body hair). I hope I can have surgery soon to finally be rid of that thing down there and to also shut down testosterone production for good.

  94. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Not much. I think to it as religion, it’s very personal, but is also confusing. For me it tends to base on two sexes, because I grew up relating and diving things in two genders. Right now it’s kind of a bag of wild cards, you don’t know what you may get until you look at a random card.

    Q8: Yes. I think it started when I was around 5, and I didn’t want to play with other girls. I just couldn’t play with their dolls. I didn’t fit in the girls, with makeup or dolls. But I didn’t fit in the boys with games and sports. When I was around 12 I would get called with feminine prefixes and it simply didn’t feel right. Masculine prefixes didn’t work too. Being assigned female at birth and having restrictions in clothing and etc. was unfair for both sexes, so I wanted to be something else. Something neutral. It still lasts.

    Q9: No. Well, right now [I’m not sure of what the hell I’m doing/not sure of the efficacy of what I’m doing] , so I just crossdress. I don’t know if I’m keeping a culture of stereotypes and am trying to make people expand their comfort zones, but I like to think I’m doing something good. I mean, I want to do whatever I want to do and want that for other people, no matter what their gender is (as long as it’s not shitty and offensive, like keeping the rape culture). I want women to use mini skirts because it’s not degrading and want to men to know it’s not degrading to use something women also uses. Being women isn’t embarrassing. Being men isn’t embarrassing. I want everyone to be able to use a sassy dress. I want everyone to be able to use a sassy suit. I will piss some off because I am cutting their gender privileges, but they’re being obnoxious. Strip someone out of their dignity and obviously,we’ll get mad.

    Q10: Yes. Maybe it helps me not feel guilty. If I weren’t autistic I probably would feel guilty for not giving the same kind of social feedback.

    Q11: Yes.Being pansexual and polyamorous. Yes, same as #10.

    Q12: Yes. When I was around 5 I was chubby and felt bad for not being fit. I didn’t have a great self-esteem in my teens because I felt I didn’t have enough breast fat. Though now I do not feel discontent with my female body, I do feel my gender doesn’t fit the binary document standards. Sometimes it makes me depressed, but mostly autism is the cause.

  95. anonymous answers:

    Q7: Gender is distinct from biological sex which is determined by the sex chromosomes. Gender is partly a social construct — gender roles — and has a psychological basis. Your perceived gender affects your self-image and behaviour.

    Q8: I started wanting to be female around age 10. This was the point at which the first changes began associated with puberty. I have felt that way ever since.

    Q9: I follow conventions for dress and presentation — male at work, female outside of that. My interests are generally geeky. My personality is definitely closer to female stereotypes than male. I don’t really care about conforming to gender roles or stereotypes apart from my appearance.

    Q10: I don’t believe that my being a trans woman is related to being autistic; however I do find that the descriptions of autism in females match my own experience more closely than the usual male-oriented descriptions. Even though I was raised male.

    Q11: I have spells (measured in years) where I am asexual. As a trans woman I identify as lesbian since my sexual attraction is primarily to women (about 90%), although my romantic orientation is pansexual. I think the latter might have some relation to my autism since it leads me to think of people in a way that is independent of their gender.

    Q12: I have gender dysphoria which has caused depression and, on occasion, thoughts of suicide and self-harm (such as castrating myself — but as much as I dislike my male attributes I considered the consequences too severe).

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