Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Friday, June 8, 2012

Autism and being Trans*

Trigger Warning: Invalidation of trans* people due to neurology

(Cisgender means that you identify with whatever gender you were assigned at birth.)
Autism Spectrum Disorders in Gender Dysphoric Children and Adolescents
That's the study. Over on Tumblr, there are quite a few autistic trans* people being pissed because people will add this to the ``you're not trans*, you're just autistic" invalidation fire. So, here's what I have to say, because that kind of invalidation is NOT COOL.

One: Why is GID (gender identity disorder) considered a disorder? Is this like when homosexuality was considered a disorder? I think it is! (Yes, I am aware that there are actual medical things that need to be done in order to treat someone. The DSM is still a manual of mental illnesses, so being trans* doesn't really fit there. There are other places trans*ness can go.)

Two: How does knowing that there is a correlation between being trans* and being autistic help people? (What was the purpose of the study?)

Three: There is more than one thing that could be going on. Autistics could actually be more likely to be trans*. I could believe it. Or autistics could be less aware of/care less about the social norms that encourage people to keep quiet about their gender identity if it's not the same as the one they were assigned at birth. Somehow, I don't think anyone will argue that that's not at least partially a factor.

Four: I highly doubt this to be the case, but even if 100% of trans* autistics were trans* purely because they are autistic, go read what that means again. These people are trans* because of the way their brains are wired and how this affects their experiences of the world and entire lives. That means they are trans* because of WHO THEY ARE, last I checked. So, even if it somehow turns out that trans* autistics are trans* because they are autistic, they're... still trans*. If causation doesn't actually invalidate the trans* identity (it doesn't,) then correlation sure doesn't. 


  1. Just in response to your question in 1; in several European countries with socialised health care GID remains a 'disorder' on the basis that diagnosis is required for major invasive medical procedures. So a person diagnosed with GID (eg. transgendered person) can receive hormones and SRS. It's a result of "you need dx to get treatment" more than "you are not normal, this must be pathologised".
    I can't speak for the functioning in the US though.

    1. That makes some sense, as far as Europe goes, and I don't know much about Europe. Here in the US, though, there is quite a bit of institutionalized discrimination against trans people. Several trans women or color have been murdered in what's pretty clearly hate crimes lately, and nothing is being done. We also tend to be bad at getting names and genders legally changed, most states don't have any rules against discriminating against trans people, things like that. I don't have the experience to know how pathologized it is, but transexuality falls pretty well into the category of an oppressed identity here.

  2. I think it might be a good idea to ask if Evan wants to be called "he" or "she" and go with it. (Make sure Evan knows that if they change their mind later, that's fine too, regardless of which one they pick.) There's a pretty good chance that Evan may, in fact, be trans*- as far as I know, while the kids who experiment with stuff typically thought of as for the other binary gender do often still wind up identifying with the gender assigned at birth, kids who actively try to be called members of the other binary gender ("I'm a sister") are more likely to actually be trans*.
    I guess blunt is probably the thing to do: "Evan, do you feel like a boy, a girl, or neither inside?" could work, as could "Do you want me to use he, she, or they to talk about you?"


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