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Autism & The Third Gender: Are autistic people more open to exploring gender identity?

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This presentation was prepared by Lydia Andal for The Autism Show, Event City, UK in July 2016. Additional notes and links are available at www.amiautistic.com/thirdgender

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Autism & The Third Gender: Are autistic people more open to exploring gender identity?

  1. 1. Autism & The Third Gender: Are autistic people more open to exploring gender identity? BY LYDIA ANDAL, EDITOR OF THE NEW IDEALIST, AUTHOR OF 'AM I AUTISTIC? A GUIDE TO AUTISM & ASPERGER'S SELF -DIAGNOSIS FOR ADULTS' AND 'HARPER'S HOLOGRAM'. CONTRIBUTOR TO 'BEING AUTISTIC' BY AUTANGEL NOTE: THIS PRESENTATION WAS PREPARED FOR THE AUTISM SHOW, EVENT CITY ON 1ST JULY 2016
  2. 2. The Autism Issue: Autism is a Difference not a Disorder
  3. 3. Gender Fluidity: The New Normal? “It’s clear that people under a certain age are much more comfortable not just with same-sex relationships but with bisexuality, gender-fluidity and all sorts of other ways of living that fall outside the traditional binaries of straight and gay, male and female,” Journalist Laurie Penny, who describes herself as bisexual and genderqueer. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/04/same-sex- relationships-gender-fluid-queer-kristen-stewart
  4. 4. What is The Third Gender? If you ask three people what the Third Gender means, you will get three different responses. Third Gender is generally used to mean those who are transgender, asexual, intersex or non-binary. THIRD GENDER: TRANSGENDER Most studies focus on those who report themselves as Transgender – those who have a gender identity, or gender expression, that differs from their birth gender. THIRD GENDER: ASEXUAL Those who do not find people from any gender sexually attractive. Anecdotal research studies show a higher proportion of autistic people reporting themselves as Asexual as opposed to non-autistic people, possibly due to an autistic lack of preference for being touched. Sex therapist observed that many of his clients who report themselves as Asexual have strong autistic traits but they are unaware of this. THIRD GENDER: INTERSEX Those who are born with both male and female genitalia. THIRD GENDER: NON-BINARY Those who do not identify as either male or female – those who identify with the third way – the third gender that sits in between the two. This is the main focus of this talk today.
  5. 5. Autism & The Third Gender KEY RESEARCH FACTS FROM THE LAST 5 YEARS: Between 8-10% of children and adolescents seen at gender identity clinics around the world meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for autism. Approx. 20% of these children have autistic traits such as impaired social and communication skills or intense focus and attention to detail. Between 2011-2013 more than 50% of 166 young people referred to the London NHS Gender Identity Development Clinic had autistic traits. Widely reported only 1% of the world's population is autistic. Are autistic people more open to exploring gender identity? Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26753812
  6. 6. Living Between Genders: Ollie's Story Deborah Rudacille, University of Baltimore, April 2016
  7. 7. Living Between Genders: My Story So Many Dresses...
  8. 8. School Orientation Day Meltdown: No Dress Without Drama
  9. 9. Boy or Girl? No-one Could Tell
  10. 10. Boy or Girl? No-one Could Tell
  11. 11. Summer Camp...Which Dorm?
  12. 12. The Native American Two-Spirit Two-Spirit used by some Native Americans to describe gender-variant individuals in their communities. In ancient Native American spirituality the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female the way it is in the Western world. Many Native American cultures held places of honour for people of integrated genders. These people were well-respected. Being Two- Spirited wasn't limited to sexuality. Some tribes viewed Two-Spirits as having an ability to move between two worlds – the spiritual and the material.
  13. 13. The Native American Two-Spirit Napêw iskwêwisêhot (nu-PAYO ihs-gwayo-WIH-say-hoht), a man who dresses as a woman Iskwêw ka napêwayat (ihs-GWAYO ga nu-PAYO-wuh-yut), a woman dressed as a man Ayahkwêw (U-yuh-gwayo), a man dressed/living/accepted as a woman. Some have suggested this word can actually be used as a ‘third’ gender of sorts, applied to women and men. Inahpîkasoht (ee-nuh-PEE-gu-soot), a woman dressed/living/accepted as a man. (also translated as someone who fights everyone to prove they are the toughest?) Both male and female-bodied two-spirits have been documented in over 130 North American tribes. Source: http://apihtawikosisan.com/2012/03/language- culture-and-two-spirit-identity/
  14. 14. Living Between Two Genders: My Story
  15. 15. Living Between Two Genders: My Story
  16. 16. Living Between Two Genders: The Last Dress
  17. 17. Dating & Autism
  18. 18. Dating & The Third Gender: Two Spirits
  19. 19. Harper's Hologram Harper's Hologram is about Harper, a 12 year old orphan who could be considered similar to the Native American 'Two Spirit'. Harper is gender ambiguous and builds a hologram for her school science project so that she can move between worlds to find her mother who recently passed away. Harper has some specific autistic traits although the word autism is never mentioned in the book. Kiyaya is a Native American character who is a kindred spirit to Harper. Kiyaya is non-verbal. He does speak, just not with words. Published under my Birth Name: Niomi Dinah Christie Have you heard of the Biblical story of 'Dinah' who transformed from male to female in the womb just before birth?
  20. 20. Thank You For Watching ADDITIONAL NOTES & LINKS TO THE RESEARCH DISCUSSED ARE AVAILABLE VIA www.amiautistic.com/thirdgender Sign up to the Am I Autistic? Newsletter at www.amiautistic.com Download Being Autistic free at: www.autangel.org.uk/being-autistic-book.html Read The Autism Issue of The New Idealist Magazine free at www.thenewidealist.com Watch the trailer for Harper's Hologram at www.harpershologram.com Presentation by Lydia Andal

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