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, November 2, 2018

In defense of "microlabels"

This is about being an online math teacher, or a graduate teaching assistant, or a physics lab assistant, and it's about being a panromantic asexual nonbinary (or just queer.)

I'm a teacher. When people ask me what I do, I can say I teach. Sometimes they'll want more details, sometimes they won't.

I'm queer. Sometimes people want more detail than that, and sometimes they won't. Sometimes I'll give it to them, and sometimes I won't.

I can tell you that I teach mathematics. I can tell you I'm pan, or that I'm bi. (I consider both statements to be true of me.)

I can tell you that I teach online. I can tell you that I'm ace.

Or maybe I can tell you that I teach online math classes. I'm panromantic and asexual.

I taught in a lab. I'm transgender.

More specifically, I was an assistant in that lab. More specifically, I'm nonbinary.

I've been a lab assistant at 天津师范大学 (Tianjin Normal University), and at the University of Rhode Island. My autism does affect how I do gender, so gendervague is a word I sometimes use to describe exactly how I'm nonbinary.

Obviously, teaching experiences, gender, and sexuality aren't identical. However, when you specifically don't need to know that I did one of my lab assistant jobs in Chinese, you probably aren't going to tell me that it's divisive for me to specify that much, or that I'm just a special snowflake, or anything in that area. People do say that when I come up with words like gendervague.

Not every detail of who I am is going to matter to every person. That's fine. You might not care that I assisted a physics lab in China, using Mandarin. My supervisor in the electrical engineering lab does, because she speaks Mandarin too, and it's useful for her to know I understand the language. You might not care that I'm gendervague. Another reader, themselves autistic, questioning their gender, and wondering if they just might not "get" gender, could find the existence of the word useful. My issue comes up when sharing those details in a mixed audience, where some people will find those extra details to be of interest, is met with outright hostility from the people who don't need them.

Just because it's not information you need, that doesn't mean it's a useless word.


  1. I think you should be able to use whatever labels you want, when you want, if they help you explain yourself at the moment or for whatever reason you want to use them. They're yours.

  2. Absolutely brilliant way of explaining this. Was looking for some microlabel positivity and found this :D


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